I cannot remember the day on which this “special holiday” was created under the patronage of former President Richard von Weizsäcker. I was living abroad at the time and didn't see much of what was happening in Germany. At that time the internet wasn't as big a thing as it is today, and newspapers from Germany only appeared in the USA with some delay. Or not.

Only later, when the passion for reading had gripped me intensely again, did this day become a concept for me. In a bittersweet way. But that is a completely different matter, which I will not go into here today. What was once intended to bring the many libraries and reading back into focus has now been cast in a whole new light in times of social media and the circumstances of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and price increases everywhere. I would say the local cultural institution, library, or even the small community library is more important now than ever. As a meeting place, where you can acquire knowledge or just sit and enjoy a novel depending on your current mood.

I don't want to bore you with historical background knowledge and lots of temporal facts. Only that much:

On October 24, 1995, the Day of the libraries was launched under the patronage of former President Richard von Weizsäcker (1920-2015). On that same day in October 1828, a royal Saxon rentamtman named Karl Benjamin Preusker (1786–1871) founded the patriotic citizen library, which was actually only a place for students, teachers, and the commercial bourgeoisie. What sounds old-fashioned today was quite normal for people back then. In short, what was then the school library in 1832 was the first German public library.

Since 1996, this special day has been celebrated every year with various events by the now only around 8.900 libraries in Germany. Oh yes, the number of libraries is steadily decreasing. The whole point is to draw attention to libraries as mediators of information and knowledge and their cultural characteristics. And for book lovers like me, a day of reading. When life lets you read *sigh*

What is perhaps also worth mentioning is that the Karl Preusker Medal is awarded every year on October 24th. It is considered a non-material award for those people and institutions (i.e. those who receive it every year) who have made outstanding contributions to the book trade, publishing, public libraries, or the field of literature, among other things. Oh yes, and there's also the Library of the Year award.

With this hopefully small insight into a few historical facts of the book world, I say goodbye for today and wish you a lot of fun reading.

Happy reading


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