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The University of Maribor Library was originally established in 1903 as a library of the Slovene Štajerska Historical Society. After 1918 it was the only library in the Slovene territory other than the Lyceum Library in Ljubljana (now the National and University Library (NUK)), which was obliged to collect one issue of every publication (giving rise to the so-called Slovenica collection). Renamed the Study Library in 1925, it became the University of Maribor Library after the establishment of the University in 1975.
This archive library preserves Slovenica of all types and has a special department for the collection of local information. In 2003 its collection comprised around 842,000 items. Most items hail from the humanities, the social and natural sciences and engineering, but the collection also includes some medieval manuscripts and German documents dating back to the 15th century. The library incorporates an Austrian Reading Room and a European Documentation Centre, a Music Collection, a Cartography Collection, and a Small Prints Collection.
The University Library of Maribor was the first library in Slovenia to engage in IT development and computerisation began as long ago as 1984. By 1985 users already had an OPAC catalogue and by 1988 the COBISS - Slovene Virtual Library system was in operation. Today the 11,529 square-metre library houses 57 computers and 16 microfilm machines, and 29 printers are available in the 240-seat reading room. The library also offers access to the publications of Elsevier Publishers, Emeral and the Web of Science, and the EIFL Direct and Science Direct databases.
The library has participated in co-operative programmes with the University Library of Bayreuth, the National Library in Prague, and university libraries in Austria. In 2010–2011 it engaged in the TEMPUS project "New Library Services at Western Balkan Universities".
The University Library of Maribor is a member of IFLA, LIBER, IATUL, and ELAG, and also engages in seminars organised by the Austrian Librarian Association.
The library also participated in the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012 with a virtual and actual exhibition project focused on the Maribor-born Admiral Wilhelm Tegetthoff (1827–1871) and the Battle of Lissa in 1866.