Beyond History Blog

German Library Day

Heike Leiacker - 24. October 2018 - Genealogy, General, Germany, Hamburg, Historical Documents, Literature

Since 24 October 1995 Library Day is celebrated in Germany. It is supposed to bring attention to the countless libraries in Germany and all they have to offer. Many libraries organize special events for this day.  For us as genealogists, books are important sources. This is why we would like to highlight this day by going on a little treasure hunt within our private company library.

Books can contain important information on single persons we are researching. However, mainly they provide background information on times and places. Often we do research within libraries ourselves, however, there are also many interesting books and sources within our own little library.

Next to very recent books on genealogy (amongst others there is this interesting new release) or on individual sources or places, there are street directories, or for example an old photo book on Hamburg from 1923 as well as a - seemingly odd - old cookbook from 1935. Especially such books can be fascinating sources that tell us more about the life of people in the past.


If it is possible to make interesting discoveries within our own small library, the big and small municipal libraries are all the more worth visiting!

There is a reason for 24 October being the German Library Day: The date was chosen in commemoration of the foundation of a school library in Großenhain (Saxony) on 24 October 1828 by Karl Benjamin Preusker. In 1832, it became the first German library for all citizens that was free of charge. This means, to some degree we owe today’s nationwide municipal library system in Germany to him.

German Library Day is celebrated among other activities by awarding the “library of the year” and the Karl-Preusker-Medaille (Karl Preusker medal). The latter honors people and institutions who have served the library and information sector in a special way.

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