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The Library World Volume 3 Issue 5

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 November 1900



One would imagine that the nation of thinkers and poets—a nation enjoying the highest and best of modern elementary education—and a nation which points with pride to a province (Siebenbürger Sachsen) whose people are the best educated in the world, would have no need of such an enthusiastic advocate of the Public Library cause as Dr. Schultze. English readers unfamiliar with Germany will be surprised and puzzled at the existing state of affairs in the German library world, for it is generally believed, in Germany and England, that the “Volksbibliothek” is very much like the “Public Library,” and the number of Volksbibliotheken is large enough to confirm our belief that Germany is always trying to get ahead or to keep abreast of us. The author points to the folly of raising monuments to the memory of their great writers when their works are unknown or forgotten by the people, owing to lack of opportunity for reading them. He also calls upon the nation to have a fitting Gutenberg celebration “by making it possible for books —living witnesses of this world‐changing discovery—to be read by everyone, even in the remotest hamlet, instead of feasting, carousing, and parading with Chinese lanterns.” That the old German appetite is potent enough to hinder the progress of education and culture is evident. “As I write these lines, I am informed that a German University town which in many ways takes high rank, and which also has a large working‐class population, is going to celebrate the matriculation of the 1,000th student. The municipal authorities had previously decided to show their appreciation of the growth of the intellectual life of their town by establishing a public reading room, which had long been projected, but which all private efforts had been unable to effect. But what did the City Fathers? They thought the 1,000th student could not be welcomed in a worthier manner than by filling him with strong drink. And how much was voted for this object? 500 Mark? or even 1,000 Mark. Oh no, not at all—but thrice that amount, 3,000 Mark! (£150). The reading room remains a project—to commemorate the intellectual importance of the town!”


(1900), "The Library World Volume 3 Issue 5", New Library World, Vol. 3 No. 5, pp. 112-140.




Copyright © 1900, MCB UP Limited

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