In 1840 in Vordernberg, a place situated between Leoben and Eisenerz, a mining school was founded thanks to Archduke John’s great interest in such an establishment and thanks to the tireless efforts of Sir Peter of Tunners. Peter Tunner, a well-known iron-mining expert, had travelled to the most important iron-mining areas in Europe. Having founded the Vordernberg mining school, he also was the founder and director of the school’s first library, which he made an indispensable part of the school’s curriculum. First, no money was available for specialist literature. As a result, Tunner and Archduke John lent their private collections of books to the students. One of these books was Christoph Traugott Delius’ “Anleitung zur Bergbaukunst” published in 1806. Moreover, the students created their own texts by compiling lecture notes and book excerpts.


In 1849 the mining school was moved to Leoben where in a separate library room 575 books, journals and periodicals were housed.


In 1861 the school gained academy status which at first had little impact on the establishment’s library. Furthermore, the head of the academy was also chief librarian, and part of his brief was to select the books.

As late as the 1890s the library budget was finally raised, and it was in these years that the most precious books could be acquired. In addition to specialist literature, historical books like Agricola’s “De re metallica” (1621), the “Salzburg Bergordnung” (1551), Lazarus Erker’s “Beschreibung …”, and to crown it all the handwritten and illumined “Schwazer Bergbuch” (1580) were added to the collection. The latter was published as a comprehensive iron-mining guide for buyers and investors doing business with the Schwaz mining industry.


Today, only eleven copies of this book still exist all over the world. In 1962 the “documentation of mining history” was launched to help reconstruct the mining histories of German-speaking countries (especially that of Austria). Apart from monographs journal articles are documented in this corpus and added to the OPAC. At present, this unique documentation includes approximately 45.000 entries.