The Central European University (CEU) Library was founded by George Soros in June 1992. It is housed in the heart of the CEU teaching site in downtown Budapest. This rapidly growing library already has the largest collection of English-language materials in the fields of the social sciences and the humanities in Central and Eastern Europe. The Library currently holds over 200,000 documents in various formats, including 150,000 monographs, over 1,500 periodical titles (with 25,000 retrospective volumes), and 10,000 working papers titles. CD-ROMs, on-line electronic databases, and many other resources are also available for use.
The Library's main responsibility is to serve the CEU community, but its library services are also offered to the academic public worldwide. The convenient location, the airy and elegant atmosphere of the Library, its state-of-the-art electronic equipment and data retrieval tools, as well as its lengthy opening hours (84 hours per week!), and user-friendly, high-quality services attract patrons from both the CEU community and many other academic institutions.
The primary concerns of the CEU Library are to develop a modern English-language university library in the fields of the social sciences and the humanities and to become a leading research and information center in the region by using all available means of information technology.
The holdings of the Library reflect the extensive and specialized curriculum of CEU, focusing on subjects which will help develop and sustain open societies in Central and Eastern Europe. These subjects include comparative constitutional and business law, history, environmental issues, democracy, political and cultural pluralism, tolerance, questions of nationalism and ethnic problems, and gender studies.
Impressively, every other title in the CEU Library's Law Collection is unique to Hungary. In addition, the CEU Library is the only subscriber in the region to more than one-third of its periodical titles. The number of researchers and visiting patrons, as well as the number of interlibrary loan requests from the Central and Eastern European Region, are growing so fast that the CEU Library has difficulty meeting the demands.
The unique collections and the latest data-retrieval technology, as well as the high level of service make the CEU Library an essential research institution in service of the social, economic, and political transition of the region. In this Library, irreconcilable works are placed together on the same shelves, and seemingly implacable political enemies become friends again. This library radiates tolerance, where disputed questions can be solved by the increase of knowledge, by analysis, and by negotiation, not by the taking up of arms.