Prof. Dr. Claudia Lux
Librarian, Project Director of the Qatar National Library in Doha
DAAD Scholarship 1974–1976
She found her way into the world of libraries almost by chance. The Berlin State Library was looking for a qualified sinologist. Claudia Lux fitted the profile perfectly. While studying social sciences, Lux, who was born in Gladbeck in 1950, travelled to China for two years on a DAAD Scholarship. She attained her doctorate in sinology in 1985.
Access to information is not just about education, it’s also about democratic rights.
Claudia Lux enjoyed her work as a sinologist at the State Library and quickly climbed the career ladder. She became director of the Senate Library and in 1997 director-general of the Central and Regional Library Berlin (ZLB). The way she unified the two state libraries – in East and West – after the fall of the Berlin Wall is seen as one of her greatest successes. “You only get such a fantastic career opportunity once in your life,” she says today. Claudia Lux has also held an honorary professorship at the Institute of Library and Information Sciences, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, since 2006.
Parallel to her career, the mother of two has always played an active role in her profession’s committees and organisations. 2004 saw her become chair of the German Library Association. From 2007 to 2012, Lux was president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), which represents 1,500 associations in about 150 countries. In 2012, after 15 years as director-general of the Central and Regional Library Berlin, Claudia Lux sought a new challenge: she gave up her management role in Berlin and is now project director in charge of building up the Qatar National Library in the Emirate of Qatar. Lux’s goals remain the same: to impress upon politicians and the public the importance of libraries in the development of the information society.
She regards digitisation as the future, but also as a challenge – and not only in a technological sense. In the international debate she passionately voices her opposition to the threatening break-up of the world into users and non-users of modern digital media. People who have no access are disadvantaged, she says. This is why one of the responsibilities of libraries is to provide free access to digital information and assistance on how to use it. “This is not just about education,” says Claudia Lux, “it’s also about democratic rights.”
Sinology, which she became interested in through her studies of book painting, still fascinates her today. “I feel an attraction to Asia,” she says. “That’s where I learned to be patient and persistent. These are attributes that I really need in my various jobs.”