Anmeldelse/ Review

Back to the English index
Back to the start page


Biography

• A. S. Steenberg.


Overskrift: Reviewed by A. G. S. J. STEENBERG,

Andr. Sch. Folkebogsamlinger, i dens historie og indretning. Med 40 billeder. Aarhus og København, i kommission hos Jydsk forlagsforretning, 1900. 6 + (2) + 176 p. 8.

Dr. Steenberg has been active during the last decade in promoting the development of public libraries in Denmark, and this book was intended as an answer to the many requests for information that have been put to him. He gives first a short history of the public library movements in various countries, particularly England, the United States, and the Scandinavian countries, followed by a guide to the establishment of libraries, eminently practical, and, of course, suited particularly for smaller popular libraries. In this part there is nothing new, In fact there is little that is not taken from English and American sources.
The most interesting part of the work is undoubtedly the chapters on Scandinavian libraries. The oldest library spoken of is the city library in Slagelse, Denmark, which was founded in 1796, with rooms or room in the city school. Next in age comes the small libraries owned by reading circles in Kristianssand see, Norway, and founded by Bishop P. Hansen in 1798. Sweden was slow to follow ; the initiative seems to have come from a paper by F. A. Ewerlöf in 1820. Most public libraries In these countries are parish libraries, cared for usually by the pastor or the schoolmaster. In Denmark, however, is a not inconsiderable number of city libraries, originally founded, perhaps. by subscription, and in some cases still supported by the same means. There are interesting examples of libraries owned in common by a city or town and the surrounding country communities. The country districts are in these cases supplied through travelling libraries.
In Copenhagen there are six public libraries, three of which have reading rooms. They are open five days a week; from 7 to 9 p.m., the reading?rooms until 10 p.m., and from 5 to 10 p.m. on Sundays. These libraries have about 4000 vols. together, and receive now 20,000 kroner a year from the city. In 1899 they had 4865 readers, and 311,551 volumes were given out. An average: of 488 persons a month used the reading?rooms. In most Danish libraries a small nominal fee is charged.
The largest city libriry in Sweden is that of Göteborg. Dr. Steenberg states that it contains 7730 volumes, but thid is a surprising error. The library really contains over 80,000 volumes, and includes the library of the Göteborg University. It Issued 54,852 v. in 1899, and was visited during the same year by 55,000 persons, and had In addition 48,500 visitors to the newspaper?room. 739 persons used the special study room. It was founded in 1861 by Robert and James Robertson Dickson, who have supported it ever since and given it a beautiful building. There are various libraries in Stockholm, both parish libraries and libraries owned by labor organisations: An interesting movement has been begun by the student society "Verdandi" In Upsala in buying up books wholesale or at auctions and selling at cost to small libraries in the country. This society founded in 1891 a workingmen's library in Upsala, which in 1899 was given over to the Upsala Workingmen's Library Association.
In Norway the public library of Bergen bas 84,000 v. and was founded in 1869 ; in 1899 52,070 v. were given out, and 11,252 v. used in the reading rooms. The Deichmanske Bibliotek in Kristiania, founded in 1780, by Kancelliraad Carl Delchman with 6000 v., has now 50,000 v. Jan. 1, 1900, 8672 borrowers were registered, and in 1899, 174.393 v. were given out, 81 % of which was fiction. Four delivery stations took care of 15,171 of the borrowed books; the reading?room was visited by 5541 readers. The librarian is Haakon Nyhuus, late of the Chicago Public Library.
The second part of the book is devoted to a clear and concise statement of the elements of library economy, with suitable illustrations.
A. G. S. J.
(1900)