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The Universitätsbibliothek der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (University Library of the Friedrich Alexander University, FAU) was founded together with the university by Margrave Friedrich von Bayreuth (1711–1763) and by Margravine Wilhelmine Friederike Sophie (1709–1758) in 1743. The private libraries of the margrave couple formed the nucleus of the new university library. After the abdication of Margrave Alexander, the greatest part of the Ansbach court library with its rich holdings was taken to Erlangen. The absorption of the sixteenth-century Altdorf university library in 1818, led to the arrival of manuscripts, incunabula and books originally at Nuremberg monastic libraries as well as at scholars' libraries at the university library.
The most famous Altdorf library was the one owned by the Nuremberg physician and apothecary Christoph Jakob Trew (1695–1769). Trew was a member of the Nuremberg Collegium Medicum and from 1727 member of the Kaiserlich-Leopoldinische Akademie (Imperial-Leopoldine Academy). Trew collected 34,000 titles, in particular in the field of medicine and the natural sciences, to a smaller degree in the humanities. In addition, c.12,000 dissertations in the field of medicine were gathered together.
The Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg constitutes the library system of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and is the regional library for the administrative district of central Franconia. As an academic universal library, it offers its users a wide range of special literature from all faculties as well as numerous services.
The library system Erlangen-Nürnberg is a two-tiered system and consists of four central libraries as well as 15 special libraries, the holdings of which are distributed over c.200 locations.
The Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg disposes of a total inventory of c.5.4 million media. On several occasions, the Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen–Nürnberg received the award "Bibliotheken – Partner der Schulen" (libraries as partners of schools) for its broad, audience-oriented educational outreach programme and won the first prize in the Best-Practice-Competition of the Verein Deutscher Bibliothekare (Association of German Librarians, VDB) and of the Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e. V. (Association of German Libraries, dbv).
The Universitätsbibliothek also looks after FAU's collection of prints and drawings, which is renowned internationally thanks to its 2,000 drawings from manuscripts dating from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. They were created in Nuremberg workshops and are of comparable quality to other notable collections worldwide. The coin collection held at the university library comprises c.28,000 coins and medals from antiquity to modern times and belong to the largest university coin collections in Germany.