The Gotha Research Library conducts and supports research. It sees itself as part of the national and international early modern and modern research community. It is a scientific institution of the University of Erfurt and at the same time a facility providing scientific information and services. With its culturally and historically important collections, it is part of the cultural heritage of Thuringia and Europe.
The Gotha Research Library collects, indexes, preserves and researches its holdings in original and digital form, makes them available and communicates them to science and society. The staff of the library publish their work and research results and see themselves as strong cooperation partners of source-based and infrastructure-related research. They offer digital services and make the library's electronic resources available on the web.
The research library is an inspiring place of work and encounter for national and international science. It hosts conferences, lectures and exhibitions in its remarkable historic rooms. It facilitates guest seminars by foreign lecturers and supports on-site university teaching, including in the Master's programme on the history of knowledge and culture at the University of Erfurt. Together with the Gotha Research Centre, the library runs scholarship programmes for work with the historical collections and to promote young academics in Gotha. It is also a place for scholastic learning and facilitates school projects.
The Gotha Research Library is part of the collections housed at Friedenstein Palace from the ducal house of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, which existed from 1640 to 1825, and from the ducal house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, compiled in Gotha between 1826 and 1945. Together with the museum collections, the secret archive, the ducal museum and the former ducal apartments as well as the park landscape, it forms a unique collection, building and garden ensemble of European rank.
The Gotha Research Library preserves about 1 million physical library objects, including around 350,000 prints from the 16th to 19th centuries. There are also approximately 11,700 manuscripts. The core of its holdings, embracing all fields of knowledge until around 1850, is the outstanding collection of manuscripts, autographs and bequests on the cultural history of Protestantism in the early modern period. The collection of around 3,500 oriental manuscripts is one of the largest of its kind in Germany. The library also preserves an important collection of letters from German emigrants to America from the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to current literature from the research library, users can access more than one million monographs and journals as well as databases and electronic media from the Erfurt University Library in Gotha.