Thomas Mann Fellows | 2022

May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Johannes Schneider | Librarian and Historian of knowledge

Ulrich Johannes Schneider. Image: Thomas Kademann
Ulrich Johannes Schneider. Image: Thomas Kademann

Ulrich Johannes Schneider, born in 1956 in Gelnhausen and raised in Frankfurt am Main, began studying philosophy, German language and literature, and Musicology at the University of Frankfurt after graduating from high school in 1975. This was followed by a master's degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1988, both at the TU Berlin, both in philosophy, as well as a habilitation in 1998 at Leipzig University. Study and research stays with scholarships led Ulrich Johannes Schneider abroad, for example to London (1988), Santa Monica (1988-89) and Paris (1991-92).

From 1999 to 2005 Ulrich Johannes Schneider was head of the department of Research projects and Research planning at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. Since 2004, he has been an adjunct professor of philosophy at at the Institute for Cultural Studies of Leipzig University. He has been director of the Leipzig University Library from January 2006 through March 2022.

Publications (Selection)

Selected contributions to the project of a global history of libraries (2017-2021, more at

2021 | Sammeln und Wissen in Bibliotheken, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Lecture/Paper
2021 | Public spaces under cover - people in the library, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen, Lecture/Paper
2020 | Deutsche Nationalkataloge. Herausforderungen an das deutsche Bibliothekssystem ABI-Technik 40 (2020), S. 40 – 51
2020 | Warme Füße und frische Tinte: Karl Marx im Lesesaal des British Museum, University of Bamberg, Lecture/Paper
2019 | National Catalogs and the tasks of future libraries, University of Leipzig, Lecture/Paper
2018 | Bibliotheken als Dienstleister im digitalen Zeitalter, University of Bayreuth, Lecture/Paper
2018 | Der Bibliotheksbau als Maschine. Wie Henri Labrouste die Lesesaalbibliothek erfunden hat, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 7.7.2018, p. 20, Lecture/Paper
2017 | La place du patrimoine écrit dans les bibliothèques universitaires allemandes, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Sciences de l'information et des Bibliotheques, Lyon, Lecture/Paper.

Prizes/Awards (Selection)

2021 | Transfer Prize of the University of Leipzig
2017 | Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, Embassy of the Republic of France
2010 | Karl Ferdinand Werner Fellow, German Historical Institute Paris
2009 | Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Embassy of the Republic of France

Project plan

The multi-year project of a global library history of modernity examines the social status of libraries in different social contexts on the basis of library use. The goal is to provide a comprehensive account of the library landscape since the 19th century. The project has been ongoing since 2018.
As a country of many libraries, the U.S. is also a site of intense debate about library work, its professionalization, and its social significance. Ulrich Johannes Schneider is interested in the different user groups. As part of his project, he is investigating how the function of libraries can be defined from the diversity of use.