Libraries: Austria has roughly 100 independent scientific libraries which are open to the public (figures in 1994). They are operated either by the state, the provinces, the Chambers or by religious communities. Furthermore, several hundred specialist libraries exist in university departments (also open to the public) as departments of the University Library. Altogether, the libraries hold approx. 20 million volumes. The most important libraries are: The Austrian National Library with roughly 3 million volumes and roughly 3 million other objects; the University libraries (especially at Vienna University with roughly 5 mio., Graz with roughly 2.4 mio. and Innsbruck with roughly 2.3 mio. volumes); the library at the Hochschule colleges, the library at the Pedagogical Academies, libraries at public offices and authorities, scientific departments, museums and those owned by the provinces. They employ roughly 1500 librarians, who are mainly trained in courses organised by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art at the National Library and certain university libraries. Important initiatives are the inter-library loan system on a national and international level, a central catalogue system (often computer-organised according to uniform, internationally compatible rules) and the Austrian book production collection (centrally organised at the National Library, which has a claim to one copy of every publication that comes out in Austria, regionally at other libraries) containing deposit and library copies. Several million volumes are borrowed or used in the libraries every year.
The first volumes were collected by medieval monasteries (the first to do so in Austria was Archbishop Arno of Salzburg in the late 8th century); later by dukes, sovereigns, universities and local authorities. After the dissolution of many monasteries, the state libraries created by Maria Theresia (a study library in every crownland without a university library) became increasingly important. Austria was the first country in the world to introduce a direct library-loan system linking the scientific libraries in 1883. In 1898, the first printed catalogue of German-speaking magazines was published by the library at Vienna University; in 1920, a central book registration system was set up at the Austrian National Library. Since 1975, the specialist libraries at the university departments have been open to the public.
Literature: Mitteilung der Vereinigung österreichischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare, 1948ff.; Biblos, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Buch- und Bibliotheks-Wesen, 1952ff; Biblos-Schriften, 1952ff; Handbuch Österreichischer Bibliotheken, 3 vols., 1961ff; Österreichischer Bibliotheken-Bau, 2 vols., 1986/92. - Associations: Vereinigung österreichischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare, founded in 1946 as the follow-up organization of the "Österreichischer Verein für Bibliothekswesen"; Österr. Gesellschaft für Dokumentation und Information, founded in 1951; Gesellschaft der Freunde der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, founded in 1912.