Development and history

From the seminar room library to the modern University Library - the development and history of the HSG Library from 1898 to today.


1898 Founding of the Trade Academy at Notkerstrasse 22 in the town of St.Gallen.
1931 The collections, previously maintained in various seminar rooms, are moved to a central location and made available to students.
1963 New construction of the University on the Rosenberg. The Library is given space in the two top floors and later becomes the central main Library.
1974 The Department of Linguistics and Literature is divested due to lack of space. The growing collection soon fills the open stacks as well as the cellar storage archives.
1980 In the early 80s, a concept for the new Library is developed. Plans are made for 350,000 books, 15 employees and 3,000 students.
1985  Approval of the new building by popular vote on the second attempt.
1986 Evaluation of automation: selection of the Dobis/Libis library system.
1987 Introduction of the user catalogue module (OPAC) / cataloguing / purchasing. The card catalogue is transferred to microfiche.
1989 Move to the new Library: all collections are gathered and made available to users in the open stacks area.
Introduction of electronic borrowing, online database services and expansion of the library network with institute libraries and external libraries.
1994 Re-cataloguing of all items older than 1987 is started. 
1999 Introduction of the ALEPH library system. The IDS St. Gallen is part of the IDS (Informationsverbund Deutschschweiz, consisting of the Basel, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich university libraries as well as the Zurich ETH library).
2000 The HSG lists all licensed e-journals in the EZB (electronic journal library).
2001 Opening of the lower level as an open stacks area.
2003 Introduction of link resolver software SFX (ExLibris).
2004 ICapture is used to scan the contents pages of all new acquisitions. These will be included in any full text search and they will also be shown in the catalogue title display.
2005 Establishing the University Archives Office.
2007 More than 70,000 e-books are available in the library catalogue.
2008 Introduction of the MediaScout room information system.
About 170,000 books published before 1987 are moved to a storage facility on Schuppistrasse in St.Gallen. The facility is managed in co-operation with the Canton Library and the St.Gallen State Archive. A daily courier service is initiated between the storage facility, the University Library and the St.Gallen Canton Library.
2009 Re-cataloguing work is completed. All available documents are listed in the Library catalogue.
2010 Introduction of RFID for self-service borrowing. Renovation of the information area.
2011 Dr. Xaver Baumgartner retires as Library Director after 25 successful years. Mag. Edeltraud Haas MSc is appointed as new Library Director.
Metasearch (EBSCO Discovery Service, EDS) offers a single access point for searching in many different databases (incl. the Library Catalogue).
2012 After a re-organization, the Library is divided into the following units: Director and Assistant Director, Acquisition and Finance, Information Resources, Circulation/Study Facilities.
700 Meters of shelf space becomes available after relocating 25,000 volumes of journals issues published before 1985 in a depot. All journals issues published in 1985 and later can be found in the basement. Our Economics collection is newly organized on the ground floor. Additional study space (8 units) could be created.
2013 Starting in April 2013, opening hours from Monday to Friday are extended until 23.00 hrs. During 10 weeks in the summer, opening hours are reduced (Mon – Fri: 9.00 - 20.00, Sat: 9.00 – 13.00). For the first time the Library is open on Sundays in June during the exam preparation period.
Our collection of Law books is reorganized on the first floor. The subject areas of Geography, Mathematics, Information Technology, Engineering and Sports, are moved to the basement. All available shelf space in the Library and in the depot is now in use.
In November 2013, nineteen new and quiet study places are offered to master’s students working on their theses. Library staff is relocated to the basement of the building.
2014 The Library took steps to institutionalize innovation management by setting up an ideas and discussion forum for staff and a speaking wall for user feedback.
This year also saw the implementation of our new opening hours. These had been discussed with the Student Union and were tested in 2013. New opening hours: during exam preparation periods in January and July the Library will be open until 11.00 pm and on Sundays from 11.00 am until 4.00 pm; During the regular semester: until 10.00 pm; During Summer Break: until 8.00 pm and on Saturdays from 8.00 am to 2.00 pm.
The plan for a document management and filing system was approved by the President’s Board of the University. It has, therefore, become mandatory for processing HSG administrative records and it should be implemented according to the DRMS framework.
2015 The General Meeting of the European Business School Librarians’ Group (EBSLG) was successfully hosted at the University from 8th – 11th of June. More than 50 participants and sponsors attended the meeting.
After evaluating student feedback on our speaking wall and recommendations from an integration seminar, it was decided to allow students to take bags and briefcases into the Library. After a brief test period, this measure came into effect in the summer of 2015.
In September 2015 the study space available to master students was increased. Master students now have 30 places available to them in the Library (before 22) and these have all been refurbished with new ergonomic furniture.
To prepare for the introduction of the new international RDA (= Resource Description and Access) cataloguing and indexing system, the separate bibliographical databases of the PHS and FHS libraries as well as our own institutional libraries, were integrated into the main Library database. At the same time, the number of independent and still active institutional libraries could be reduced to 7.
2016 Journals have been rearranged to save space. The subject areas on the first floor were moved to the basement. It was possible to create space for new documents until 2019 as well as for 40 new work spaces.
The project proposal for storing around 320,000 documents in the Kooperative Speicherbibliothek Schweiz in Büron/LU has been approved by the project board and the president’s board.
The emergency concept for our collection has been completed and introduced into our operations. After the reorganization of the university administration and the vice-president’s boards the university archive is now integrated into the university’s General Counsel.
2017 36 additional state of the art study desks have been put up on the upper floor of the library. The existing study desks have been optimised with flexible blinds and plug sockets. The library’s maximum holding capacity in regards to safety, infrastructure and climate has been reached with 550 study desks. Two additional seminary rooms have been transformed into study zones in times of extensive use during the exam preparation period. The extension will be continued in coming exam preparation periods due to excellent usage. 
From the end of August to mid December 2017, 140,000 documents were moved from the depot at Schuppisstrasse 16 / St. Gallen to the Cooperative Storage Library Switzerland. The depot has been returned to the Hochbauamt of the Canton of St. Gallen after 10 years of service.
Writing consultation and the night of academic writing competence have been added to the library’s offering of consultation services.
The virtual bookshelf for the textbook collection provides an overview of physical and electronic textbooks. E-books can be accessed directly using a QR code.
2018 At the end of May 2018 the last documents were moved to the Cooperative Storage Library Switzerland. Thereby the project is completed. 250,000 documents pre-dating 1995 have been moved off-site. Calculating with a stable rate of new acquisitions, roughly 10,000 printed publications a year, the library now has reserve space for the upcoming ten years. The following stock taking of our complete collection was for the first time ever done in individual stages, necessitating only four days of completely closing the library. In consequence, we were able to re-arrange shelves, integrate the textbook collection into our main collection and present bestsellers and non-books more visually pleasing in the information area. Our 550 study desks were re-arranged and optimised with visual covers and plug sockets, following recommendations of a MA dissertation at the HTW Chur.
Our e-BookShelf is now presenting all our electronic books.
Experts have been designated for the project and realization of SLSP. The change project «Let’s Talk about SLSP» is keeping staff informed and engaged.
2019 This year was essentially shaped by the preparations for the SLSP project. Apart from tidying up data in our current library management system ALEPH, we also successfully launched two test migrations to our new system Alma. Roughly 445,000 sets of data were transferred. Our specialised staff tested Alma and its functionalities in 726 individual test cases. All user data was made anonymous so that no individual users could be traced. Simultaneously we started planning the renovation of the, now 30 years old, library building. The main work will be done 2020-2022, mainly between early July and mid-September. Construction work for the spatial integration of the new learning centre, for which the groundbreaking ceremony took place in early November, also will take place during these periods.
Our Our services were expanded by increased cooperation with the Writing Lab and the PC Tutors.
On the first of September the library was put in charge of the Info Desk.
2020 In preparation for the system migration of our library management system ALEPH to our new system ALMA a third data migration trial took place in Spring 2020. In this final trial data from all SLSP libraries was migrated, inspected and tested. During the following summer training programmes were prepared and in autumn library staff was brought up to speed with the new system and its intricacies. On the 7th of December ALMA, the shiny new system, went live.
Spring 2020 was also significantly shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming refurbishment of the library building. During Lockdown from the 17th of March until the 8th of June the library remained closed. Media could be ordered online and were sent out via post. For members of the university this service was free of charge. Due to the refurbishment works, which began back in 2019, most members of staff moved into a provisional container building outside of the library at the start of May. It was initially planned to keep all the noisy and dusty works contained to the Summer months of 2020, 2021, and 2022. After Lockdown ended the library re-opened its doors again on the 8th of June, however, only for a very short time. On the 6th of July the circulation desk too moved to the provisional building to vacate the main building for refurbishment work. Media could not be accessed by library users but had to be ordered online to the circulation desk. In the following two months a range of the planned refurbishments were completed, such as the installation of earthquake proof walls. On the 8th of September the circulation desk moved back to the library building. Library users were able to once again use the library collection and study spaces. Due to Covid restrictions we had to half the amount of study spaces offered to guarantee a distance of 1.5 m between people.
2021 The measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic were continually extended. From the 22nd of December 2020 until the fourth of January 2021 the library remained closed. Afterwards we were not allowed to offer any study spaces. Together with the decision to keep teaching online during the Spring term this led us to decide to move forward the refurbishment of the library building. The stages originally scheduled for Summer 2021, and 2022 respectively, were moved up to March 2021 and lasted until September 2021. From the 8th of March 2021 until the 6th of September 2021 the circulation desk was moved to a provisional office in the library building’s lower floor. Meanwhile refurbishment went ahead in the rest of the library building. Once again users had to order books to the circulation desk and weren’t allowed to peruse the shelves themselves. During these intense months a panoply of refurbishment works took place. Shelves and carpets were replaced on the main- and first floor of the library. A new passage between the library and the, then under construction, learning centre SQUARE was constructed. The library’s information area was also completely re-designed. Three new nooks for events and services were put in place and windows and lights were replaced. For the grand re-opening on the 6th of September all our staff moved back into the library building. The all done up library building proved a roaring success with the HSG community.
2022 After 17 February 2022, the last restrictions imposed by Covid 19 pandemic (compulsory certificates and masks, home office recommendation) fortunately fell away. Thus, after a break of two years, the introductions at the fresher's week could again take place on site and in person. On 15 September, we were pleased to invite people to the 20th anniversary of our reading series "The Other Book at the University": Frank Heer read from his book "Alice" accompanied by drummer Jürg Plüss and a tape recorder. On 14 November, a new tool for courier and document delivery, Rapido, was introduced in all libraries of the swisscovery network. As part of the relaunch of the university's website on 30 November last year, the library's online presence was also restructured and revised. The libraries of the Institute of Information Systems and the Institute of Finance, Financial Law and Law and Economics were dissolved, and their most important documents were transferred to the University Library's holdings. Various structural changes also took place in 2022: The exit in the east of the library building to the newly built Learning Centre SQUARE was opened. The number of PC workstations was reduced in the study space in front of the library. The furniture was rearranged so that the library's public readings can once again take place underneath the dome. The entrance area was redesigned and the music rooms in the 2nd basement were refurbished and refurnished. At the end of the year, the Bloomberg and Eikon terminals moved from the former Data Room (A01-U207) to the entrance area and the study space just outside of the Library.
2023 We have rearranged the law collection on the upper floor and the IT collection in the basement to provide more space for the coming years. The theme of our changing exhibition near the entrance of the library was the 125th anniversary of the University of St.Gallen.
Together with the Writing Lab of the HSG, we organized the annual Night of Writing Skills. For the first time, this event included science slams on such topics as predatory journals, scientific writing and search strategies and a comparison between Swisscovery and Google Scholar.
We set up new workstations adapted for students with disabilities (e.g., height-adjustable tables). The acoustics of the music rooms on the 2nd basement floor were improved and in collaboration with the SHSG, we added some new instruments. Since November, the artwork "Himmel & Hölle" by Nicole Tolle can be admired in the library's basement.
We also created some innovative promotions and fun activities. During the summer, people could send postcards of the library in 80s design to family and friends and in the fall, we set up a 1000-piece library puzzle and a chess game. These were all enthusiastically received by our users.
As part of an internal library strategy process, we developed new procedures and tweaked our organizational structure. These changes were implemented in various groups to ensure that the library will remain fit for the future.