The history of the first secular library building in Switzerland
Between 1533 and 1535, the book collections of the Latin School, the canons' monastery and the dissolved Bernese monasteries were brought together in the west wing of the Barfüsserkloster to form the "Libery" of the Hohe Schule. The book stock grows mainly through donations from private scholars or from High School professors such as Arthopoeus (Niklaus Pfister) or Johannes Fädminger.
In 1632, the library received the book collection of the diplomat and humanist Jacques Bongars (1554-1612), doubling the library collection with its over 3000 volumes.
From 1787 to 1794 Niklaus Sprüngli and Lorenz Schmid converted the Ankenwaag granary into a library. Hence Berne possessed the first secular library in Switzerland with its own building.
The Schultheissensaal was magnificently furnished.
The market stalls and the mule stables on the ground floor were abolished in 1803 and the openings to the arcade were bricked up.
From 1860 to 1863, the library was extended towards the east (Münstergasse 61) by Gottlieb Hebler.
In 1887, the library was divided into a city library and a university library. Eduard v. Rodt oversaw the extension in the west part (Münstergasse 63) from 1904 to 1905.
In 1909, the library gallery of Niklaus Sprüngli was demolished. Since 1911, the gallery's façade has been standing as a fountain façade on Thunplatz.
In 1951, the Canton of Bern, the Burgergemeinde Bern and the residents of the city of Berne created the foundation City and University Library of Bern (StUB). At the same time, the Burgerbibliothek Bern was founded, taking over the manuscript and graphic departments of the former library.
Another wide-reaching refurbishment was carried out by Peter Grützner and Walter Bürgi from 1968 to 1974. Among other things, a five-basement underground stack was dug under the garden.
From 2007 to 2009, the City and University Library (StUB) and the university libraries merged to form the University Library of Bern (UB).
The last comprehensive renovation took place from 2014 to 2016. The library building at Münstergasse 61/63 was rebuilt during two and a half years. The renovations were completed in May 2016 and it reopened with the new name Bibliothek Münstergasse.
Building contractor, client: Burgergemeinde Bern
Investment: 37,3 Millionen Franken
Architects: alb architektengemeinschaft ag, Bern
- Engler, Claudia, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Bern, in: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände der Schweiz, Bern 2003
- Schatzkammern. 200 Jahre Bücher, Handschriften und Sammlungen im Gebäude an der Münstergasse 61-63. In: Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde, 56 (1994), 161-252
- Michel, Hans A. Das wissenschaftliche Bibliothekswesen Berns vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. In: Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde, 47 (1985), 168-234
- Bibliotheca Bernensis 1974. Festgabe zur Einweihung des umgebauten und erweiterten Gebäudes der Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek und der Burgerbibliothek Bern am 29. und 30. August 1974. Bern, 1974
- Bloesch, Hans (Hrsg.): Die Stadt- und Hochschulbibliothek Bern. Zur Erinnerung an ihr 400jähriges Bestehen und an die Schenkung der Bongarsiana im Jahr 1632. Bern: Gustav Grunau, 1932