Libraries are booming

With 210 million visitors (even in the digital age), libraries are the most widely used of cultural institutions.

It seems a paradox of the internet age only at first glance: libraries are booming. They are no longer places that have only printed matter. Although many people still come to browse in or borrow books, they also come to learn, to work and to meet with others. In the library they surf the internet, watch films or simply let themselves be inspired by the place. In the following, we introduce a few German libraries.

1. In Goethe’s neighbourhood: the Duchess Anna Amelia Library in Weimar

Risen again from the flames. Along with other Weimar haunts of German Neo-Classicism, the historical library building with its famous rococo hall belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Books could not live more beautifully.

2. Destination also for architecture fans: the Stuttgart Central Library

The Korean architect Eun Young Yi created an impressive cube of glass blocks, which is illuminated at night in blue. The heart of the “Library of 2013” is a cube-shaped room for inner reflection. Since its opening at the end of 2011, this temple of books is one of the most frequently photographed places in Stuttgart.

3. Modern fairy tale: the Jacob and Wilhelm-Grimm Centre, Berlin

In the building named after the collectors of German fairy tales, everything revolves around the book, for it is the basic motif of the bewitching architecture. The Grimm Centre houses the University Library and Computer and Media Service of the Humboldt University (HU) and is located in Berlin’s cultural mile amidst theatres and the Museum Island.

4. In East and West: The German National Library

“The memory of the nation” was reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall as the German National Library. The collection has two locations: Leipzig in the east (with a Book Museum) and Frankfurt am Main in the west (with the Exile Collections, 1933- 1945). But no books can be borrowed here: the German National Library is exclusively a reference library.

5. An island of books: the library on Wangerooge

The small library on the North Sea island of Wangerooge, housed in an old villa, is a charming example of the thousands of decentralized libraries in Germany. The dedicated librarians have provided many a visitor with a holiday read.

World Book Day, 23 April