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German Library
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German Library

The German Library (German: Deutsche Bücherei) in Leipzig was founded in 1913 to collect all German and foreign language titles published in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is now part of Die Deutsche Bibliothek (The German national library).


Already in 1848, there had been plans for a German National library. After the restauration, they were not pursued any longer, the stock of books already in existance was stored at the German National Museum in Nürnberg. In 1912, the town of Leipzig, seat of the Leipzig book-fair, the kingdom of Saxony and the "Börsenverein der Deutschen Buchhändler" (society of German book-dealers) agreed to found a German National Library located in Leipzig. Starting January 1 1913, all publications in the German language were systematically collected (including books from Austria and Switzerland). In the same year, Dr. Gustav Wahl was elected as the first director.


The main building of the German Library in Leipzig was built 1914-1916 after plans of the architect Oskar Pusch. The impressive facade is 160m long and faces the "deutscher Platz". The building was opened on October 19 1916, one day after the monument for the Battle of the Nations. Emperor Wilhelm II had already left in a huff, as the Leipzig citizens did not conform to Prussian Imperial ideology. The building lot of the library had been donated by the town of Leipzig, while Friedrich August III, king of Saxony provided the funds for the building.

On the facade, the portraits of Otto von Bismarck, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gutenberg are displayed. Statues represent Technology, Justice, Philosophy, Medicine etc. The central reading room contains a picture by Ludwig von Hofmann, depicting Arcadia in Art Noveau-style. The staircase contains a mural showing the founders of the German library. The Library contains a museum for books and letters as well.

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