THE title of this short paper is somewhat of a misnomer, as the German Volks bibliothek is not the same as an English Public Library. As Dr. Schultze says: “When we speak of an English Public Library we know exactly what is meant, but the German Volks bibliothek does not convey any definite impression. Too often it still means a very small collection of books, probably gifts which are accessible to borrowers at certain hours each week. As a rule, the revenue is so trifling that after paying the small working costs there is little or nothing left for buying books.” Taking, therefore, the term Public Library for the sake of convenience, we may assume that the first Public Library in Germany was opened in Hamburg, in 1529, as the result of Luther's recommendation (1524) “that good libraries, especially in the large towns, should be established.” At the beginning of the 18th century, a number of free libraries were established, these were usually connected with churches and schools, yet their very name “free” seemed an invitation to everyone to share the treasures they contained. These libraries were principally in central Germany and Saxony.
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1909, MCB UP Limited