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Obituary for Honorary Professor Dr. Gabriele Beger

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Honorary Professor Dr. Gabriele Beger, who was appointed the first female honorary professor in the degree programme Library Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in May 2005. A few days after her 72nd birthday, Dr. Beger passed away in Hamburg at the beginning of May 2024 after a short, serious illness.

Dr. Beger was an outstanding lawyer and a formative personality in the German library sector. Her doctorate at Humboldt University in Berlin on the conflict of interest between copyright and electronic library services was a recurring theme throughout her professional career. As a committed library lawyer, Dr. Beger successfully campaigned for open access and practicable regulations in copyright law in the age of digitisation. As Chair of the Legal Commission and the Copyright Committee of the German Cultural Council, she advised the German Bundestag and the Federal Ministry on how to achieve a fair balance of interests. She also made a significant contribution to the reorganisation of the legal foundations of the Hamburg library system. For her services, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit First Class by the Federal President in 2018 – presented by Hamburg's Senator for Science Katharina Fegebank.

She began her remarkable career at the Berlin Central and State Library (ZLB) and continued her successful career as the first woman in the library's almost 550-year history to head the Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky State and University Library from 2005 to 2018.

Despite her professional commitments in Berlin and Hamburg, she remained loyal to our department and taught library law as part of her honorary professorship until 2017. Her expertise and commitment in this area were invaluable and influenced numerous students. Her appointment as an honorary professor was not just a symbolic act, but also a strategic decision. As the most prominent legal expert in German librarianship, Dr. Beger brought a level of legal expertise to the department that had previously been lacking. Dr. Beger supervised numerous theses and was a valuable partner in many continuing education projects, including the library distance learning programme (FWB) and projects at the Free University of Berlin (FU). Since 2017, Prof. Dr. Ellen Euler has taken over her teaching areas and, together with Dr. Beger, converted the handout "Copyright in Libraries" into an open access format in 2023.

Her inspiring and supportive nature and her tireless commitment have had a lasting impact on and enriched not only the library world but also the Department of Information Sciences. We remember her as a highly esteemed colleague and our sympathies go out to her family and all those who knew and appreciated her.

On behalf of the Department of Information Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam


Prof. Dr. Ellen Euler
Professor of Library Science – Open Access/Open Data