H. O. Lange: Danish research Libraries. .

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Biography

• H O Lange.


Danish research Libraries

 
DANISH RESEARCH LIBRARIES.
BY .H. O. LANGE, Principal Librarian, Rdya1 Library, Copenhagen.
THE relation of popular libraries to research libraries is very different in Denmark from what it is in the greater countries. The smallness of the Danish literature, compared with the literatures of the great nations, makes a serious study of any branch of human knowledge (the national history, language and literature excepted) almost impossible to anybody who does not know one foreign language or more. The purchase of books in other languages than the Dano?Norwegian becomes then the distinguishing feature between the research libraries and the popular libraries. Only one Danish library, and that the youngest, the State Library, Aarhus, aims clearly and consciously at uniting both objects, but the financial resources of this library do not yet allow it to carry on the work of a research library to any great extent.
Just as the popular libraries are essentially communal institutions, supported by the state in different ways, the research libraries without exception have been founded by the state and are supported by state means. Private initiative has not made itself felt in Denmark in the case of libraries. The only, research library founded by private initiative, the Classenian Science Library was in 1867 united with the University Library. Big fortunes are rare in this country, and as yet only very few people are fully awake to the real importance of libraries.
On the other hand the present generation has incurred a heavy debt of gratitude to the long series of scholars and book-collectors of the past, whose libraries form the foundations of the present research libraries, as either the owners with a rare liberality placed them at the disposal of the state, or else they were bought by the state authorities. Without the wise and strenuous exertions of these men, the research libraries of modern times would not be able to boast such literary treasures of the past.
The small size of the country should make it practicable in Denmark to centralize the organization of the research libraries and to establish a thorough co?operation. A beginning has been made by publishing an annual catalog of the foreign literature yearly acquired by the research, libraries. We must look to the future for a further development of this principle. Experience teaches that minor libraries connected with learned institutions and serving more or less as reference libraries for such institutions, are very difficult to incorporate in larger whole.
The abnormal size of the capital in relation to the total number of population (with suburbs containing about 400,000 of a total of 2,500,000 inhabitants) and the fact that it is the seat of nearly all the learned institutions, will always make its two great libraries the chief seats of library life and traditions The State Library at Aarhus Jutland, was first opened in 1902, and in course of time it may be reasonably expected to be of real importance for the development of learning in that part of the country, but as yet its means are too small. For the rest the Copenhagen libraries lend their books to readers residing in the country, and when the reorganization of the Royal Library in its new building is complete this side of its work will be more developed.
The Royal Library is the principal library of the country. It was founded in the middle of the 17th century by King Frederick III., who for that purpose erected the building in which it is still kept. Since that time it has, by the liberality of the kings and of private persons, acquired the most important of the literary treasures collected in this country. Its development has of late been hampered by the wholly inadequate local accommodation, and a new era in its existence will begin, when in another two years it will be transferred to its new building now in course of erection. It is calculated to contain about 600,00 volumes (whereof about 2600 are incunabula) and about 20,000 manuscripts, and to this must be added large collections of music, maps, portraits, prints, and pamphlets innumerable. Last year's budget was 83,915 kroner 27 ore. The present staff consists of the principal librarian, two sublibrarians, 12 ordinary assistants, eight extra ordinary assistants, and three servants. Last year 41,410 volumes were issued to readers.
All this will necessarily be altered in the course of the next few years. The new building, with its large reading room and modern accommodations, will make a quite new development possible, which will make itself deeply felt. While the library in its capacity of a national library must preserve its national collections and will not be able, like a popular library, to place them in unrestricted circulation, it will be able in many other ways to make its great treasures of foreign literature more useful for a larger public.
The existence in the capital of the two great libraries and many smaller special libraries has led to a certain specialization; thus the University Library gives special attention to the natural and the medical sciences, and the Royal Library to the liberal arts. It is possible that in a near future we shall see a further development of this specialization in our research libraries.
The University Library with the Classenian Library united to it is the oldest research library in Denmark, having been founded, together with the University, in 1482. The literary treasures collected there were, however, almost entirely destroyed in the great fire of Copenhagen in 1728. Since that time it has risen again to a size of about 300,000 volumes, besides about 100,000 academical dissertations and a great number of Danish pamphlets. It possesses about 7000 manuscripts. Its yearly budget amounts to 44,400 kroner. The present staff consists of a principal librarian, two sub-librarians, five ordinary assistants, four extra ordinary assistants and two servants. Last year 59,666 volumes were issued to readers.
Besides these two large libraries there are in the capital several special libraries, founded for special purposes, or serving as reference libraries for special institutions. Only few of them have specially appointed librarians, but the work is mostly done by a functionary of the institution in question.
The Library of the Rigsdag has a considerable collection of law books, and historical, statistical and economical works. It is intended chiefly as a reference library for the members of the Rigsdag, but is open to others. The number of volumes cannot be ascertained, but is considerable. Annual budget 6250 kroner.
The Town Hall Library is a communal institution, chiefly consisting of works of local interest regarding municipal affairs. It was founded in 1896, and contains about , 10,000 volumes. An annual income of 5000 kroner and a reading room in the new Town Hall have been placed at its disposal. Last year about 1500 volumes were issued to readers.
The Library of the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural College is specially intended for the sciences taught there. It contains about 37,000 volumes and has excellent rooms in the college building. It is managed by a librarian with the assistance of one servant. Annual budget 6000 kroner. Last year's issue, about 5200 volumes.
The Library of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts contains 11,704 volumes, about 10,000 photographs, and about 5000 drawings. It is managed by a librarian, with the help of one assistant and one servant. Annual budget 9100 kroner. Last year about 12,500 volumes and 3000 portfolios containing photographs and drawings were issued for use in the reading room; 1226 volumes were issued for home use.
The Library of the College of Pharmacy was founded in 1892. It contains about 4000 volumes. There is no special librarian; last year about 72) kroner were expended in acquisitions.
The Library of the State Teachers' High School was founded in 1896 and contains about 8000 volumes. Annual budget 2050 kroner. It is managed by a librarian with a salary of only 400 kroner. There is no reading room. Last year about 3000 volumes were issued for home use.
The Library of the Danish Meteorological Institute was founded in 1872 and now contains 13,120 volumes. Annual budget about 1300 kroner. Last year about 300 volumes were issued for home use.
The Library of the State Statistical Bureau is now a little more than 50 years old; it contains about 3000 volumes, and is managed by the staff of the Bureau. Annual budget 800 kroner.
The Library of the Patent Commission was founded in 1894, and now contains about 651,800 descriptions of patents and about 1200 volumes. There is no special staff; about 2000 kronor are annually expended in buying and binding of books.
The Library of the Royal Picture Gallery dates from 1848, and is principally a reference library for the staff of the Fine Arts Museum. It now contains about 6000 volumes, and about 2000 kroner are yearly spent in acquisitions.
The Library of the National Museum is principally a reference library for aid in the archaeological, ethnographical and historical studies represented by the collections of the museum. Further data cannot be furnished.
There are in Copenhagen four military and two naval libraries, but their reorganization is only a question of time. The following table will give the necessary information

[Figur 1]

There are several libraries connected with the learned institutions of the university, principally serving the studies in question. Only the library of the Botanical Gardens has a special librarian. These libraries are chiefly supported by gifts and by exchanges; regular budgets do not exist.

[Figur 2]

To these must be added the laboratories founded in the last few years, corresponding to the seminars of the German universities, with real reference libraries and specially appointed librarians. Books are not issued for home use.

[Figur 3]

Of the libraries outside Copenhagen the State Library of Aarhus must first be mentioned. It began its activity June 117, 1902, in a beautiful newly erected building. The stock of this library, was formed by the Danish duplicates of the Royal Library (which receives by law two copies of every book printed in Denmark), besides great parts of the Aarhus Diocese and Cathedral School Library; in addition to these the state succeeded in acquiring two large private collections, and by the Act of. May 2, 1902, this library acquired right to one copy of everything printed in Denmark. It now contains about 200,000 volumes, a great number of pamphlets, and a large collection of music (about 2800 volumes), portraits, maps and prints. Annual budget 33,370 kroner. The staff consists of the principal librarian, one sub?librarian, two ordinary and one extra ordinary assistants and one servant. Last year 10,500 volumes were issued for home use; the reading room was visited by about 30,000 persons.
In the beginning of the 19th century Diocese Libraries were founded in the cathedral cities of the kingdom; they were intended chiefly for the use of the clergy, but also for the use of the learned public at large. One of these libraries, the Aarhus Diocese Library, has been incorporated in the State Library of Aarhus; another, the Aalborg Diocese Library, has been united with the library of the Aalborg Cathedral School. The rest are still existing, but owing to their inadequate means their activity is very restricted. The librarians are so miserably paid that they cannot spend much time in library work. Not one of these libraries has a reading room worthy of the name.

[Figur 4]

The libraries connected with the State Grammar Schools form a class by themselves. They are intended not only for the use of the teachers, but more or less as missionaries of book culture each in its locality, and for that purpose they issue books for home use; only very few of them permit their books to be consulted on the spot, as special reading rooms are lacking. Each library is managed by one of the teachers of the school to which it belongs.

[Figur 5]

Finally, we must mention the Askor High School Library which is doing exellent work in the intellectual development of Southern Jutland. It contains about 20,000 volumes, and about 5000 volumes were last year issued for home use. About 800 kroner are expended annually in buying and binding of books. One of the professors is librarian.
LITERATURE

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- 1903 ved Axel Anthon Björnbo. ibid. 1904.
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Chr. Bruun: De illuminerede Haandskrifter i det store kongelige Bibliothek. I. A. Bölling: Index librorum sæculo xvmo impressorum, quorum exempla possidet Bibliotheca Regia Hafniensis.
Aarsberetning om det store kongelige Bibliotheks Virksomhed i Finansaaret 1901-02 og 1902-03. Af givet tit Ministeriet for Kirke-og Undervisnings-vaesenet of H. O. Lange. Kjobenhavn, 1902-1903.
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Chr. Bruun: Det store kongellgc Bibliotheks Stiftelse under Kong Frederik den Tredie of Kong Christian den Femte. I Anledning of Bibliothekets 200?aarige jubilæum. Kjobenhavn. 1873.
John Erichsen: Udsigt over den gamle ManuscriptSamling i det store kongelige Blbliothek. Kjobenhavn, 1786.
N.C. L. Abrahams: Description des manuscrIts franc,ais du moyen age de la Bibliothi!que Royale de Copenhague, precede d'une notice histonque de cette bibliothcque. Copenhague, 1844.
N.L. Westergaard & A.F. Mehren: Codices orientates ibliothecae Regiae Hauniensia enu?. merati et descripti. Haun, 1846-57.
Charl. Graux: Notices sommaires des mantxscrits grecs de la Grande Bibliotheque Royale de Copenhague Paris, 1879
Kr. Kalund. Katalog over de oldnorak-islandske Handskrifter i det store kongelige Biblfotek. Kobenhavn, 1900.
S. Birket Smith. Om Kjobenhavns Universitetsbibliothek för 1728 Især dets Haandakriftssamlinger. Udg. til Minde om Universitetsbibliothekets grundlæggelse for 400 Aar siden. Kjöbenhavn 1882.
S. Birket Smith: Beretning om Universitetabibliothekets Virksomhed i l879-80 -1900-01 Kjobenhavn [Extract from Aarbog for Kjobenhavns Universitet.]
N. L. Westergaard: Codices Indici et Iranici BibHo. theca Universitatis Havniensis. Havn 1846
Kr. Kalund: Katalog over den Arnamagnæanske Handskriftsamling. 1.?2. Bd. Kjobenhavn, 1889?94.
Erling Steensgaard: Statsbiblioteket i Aarhus. Aarhus, 1902.
Andr. Sch. Steenberg: De larde Statsskolers biblioteker. Horsens, 1898.