The collections of the European University Institute (EUI) library include resources both traditional (books, documents and journals on paper or in microform, about 850, 000 items in all) and digital (435, 000 ebooks, and 13, 000 ejournals and serials accessible online). The collections reflect the international nature of the EUI and include library materials in 35 languages, with a clear predominance of English, the primary working language at the EUI.
Founded by the member states of the European Community, the EUI opened in 1976. Today it offers doctoral and postdoctoral programmes in social sciences (economics, law, history and political science) and hosts a community of more than 1000 scholars from over 60 countries. We also house the historical archives of the European Union.
Reference works moved off site
Over the past 10 years, the library has evolved profoundly: in this short period of time, the number of titles available online has equalled the total assets acquired by the library in the first 25 years of its existence. The reference room, once the most busy and animated, has gradually become quieter and consequently many of its reference works (as well as part of the print periodical collection) have been moved to off-site storage.
PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and academic staff now access electronic resources from their workplaces or their homes – the EUI campus is spread over 14 sites across the hills of Florence. At the same time, scholarly access to the webpages of the library has grown dramatically, including to our subject research guides – specialised portals for the main disciplines of the EUI.
Space of interdisciplinary exchange
Nevertheless, the library continues to be the most popular place in the institute – in strong competition with the nearby EUI canteen. Thanks to improvements to workspaces, the frequency of internal and external users has even increased, and the use of the print monograph collection has not diminished. The library also acts as a place of social and interdisciplinary exchange, a very significant factor at an international institution whose mission includes being a forum for exchange and discussion of ideas and experiences in study and research.