Cologne - In the presence of numerous guests from politics, science and medicine, the German Central Library for Medicine () celebrated its 40th anniversary in Cologne today. Since it was founded in 1973, it has developed into the world's largest specialist library for the fields of medicine, health, nutritional, environmental and agricultural sciences. It now has 1.6 million books and journal volumes and 27,500 journals.
"Our common goal is to strengthen the ZB MED as nationwide unique scientific infrastructure facility of the Leibniz family," said Svenja Schulze, Minister for Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in her welcoming address. As an institution of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the ZB MED is jointly financed by the federal government and the states. The federal government has 30 percent stake; For 2013 alone, its share amounts to around 3.5 million euros.
The library has long history back: The forerunner of the ZB MED was founded in Cologne in 1908 as the "Library of the Academy for Practical Medicine". When the University of Cologne was re-established in 1919, it was incorporated into the new university library as separate department and subsequently survived the Second World War relatively without prejudice. Since it was founded in 1973, the ZB MED has continued to function as the Department of Medicine of the University and City Library of Cologne.
Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer, President of the Leibniz Association, praised the specialist library's commitment to the topic of Open Access, the free access to scientific specialist literature on the Internet. With its 40th anniversary, the ZB MED is also celebrating the tenth birthday of the Open Access Portal (gms).
It operates the portal together with the Association of Scientific Medical Societies and the German Institute for Medical documentation and information.