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Centenary of the German National Library:
Official ceremony in the founding city of Leipzig on 2 October

Press release:  February 5, 2013

The German National Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an official ceremony in Leipzig on 2 October. The library was founded on 3 October 1912 on the initiative of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association). The mandate to collect and index all text-based or music works published either in Germany or in German was last extended in 2006 in the Law regarding the German National Library when online publications were added.

Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Bernd Neumann, within whose ambit the federal institution falls, said regarding the centenary: "In Germany's chequered history over the last century the German National Library has carried out its task of collecting and safeguarding the nation's cultural memory with great success. We can look back with pride and joy at the service that it has performed over the last 100 years. But a centenary offers more than just an opportunity to review past achievements. More than ever before the world of books and media is undergoing a sea change. The increasingly digital world is presenting the German National Library with new challenges, and the Federal Government remains firmly committed to helping the library overcome these."

Elisabeth Niggemann, Director General of the German National Library, points out the close ties to the publishers whose products constitute a large part of the library's holdings. "The German National Library can look back on 100 years of successful collecting. To ensure that our collection remains complete, the German National Library is vigorously expanding its collection of digital publications. Presenting the holdings to library users on the basis of digital searches and, where copyright laws permit, making them accessible via the Internet, are gaining in importance in addition to the services offered at the reading rooms in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main," she points out.

Regarding the tasks of the German National Library, Alexander Skipis, CEO of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, explains: "The founding of the German National Library in Germany was the most important step towards making literature accessible and content searchable, and towards archiving knowledge and cultural heritage. What is important now is to make all existing literature digitally accessible and not to relinquish sovereignty over content and the cultural heritage of a society to big business which is more interested in advertising revenue than in granting accessibility to knowledge."

In his speech, Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, will talk about the interaction of politics and culture, the cultural policy tasks in the federal canton system and cooperation between cultural policy and the private sector.

Centenary of the German National Library

The founding treaty of the Deutsche Bücherei was signed between the Kingdom of Saxony and the Börsenverein der Deutschen Buchhändler zu Leipzig on 3 October 1912. In the west, the establishment of a new German archiving library was initiated in Frankfurt am Main in 1946. The reunification of Germany saw these institutions amalgamated into a Federal institution. In 2006 the legal brief of the library was expanded and it was given a new name: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library).

The German National Library is entrusted with the task of collecting all German and German-language publications and sheet music from 1913, plus foreign publications about Germany and translations of German works. Also included are the works of German-speaking emigrants published abroad between 1933 and 1945. The collection is archived, comprehensively documented and bibliographically indexed. Besides offering use of its collections at the Leipzig and Frankfurt sites, the German National Library also provides services for libraries, the book trade and scientific institutions, plus a large number of other individual services via the Internet.

The Leipzig site of the German National Library houses the German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsche Buch- und Schriftmuseum), the German Music Archive (Deutsche Musikarchiv), the Sammlung Exil-Literatur 1933-1945 and the Anne-Frank-Shoah-Bibliothek; the Frankfurt site also contains the German Excile Archive 1933-1945 (Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933 - 1945).

The German National Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary by staging 100 events in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main between March and October 2012 and beyond. The general public is being invited to attend exhibitions, readings, concerts and open days, and to take part in celebratory and participatory events.

Further information on the centenary

Startseite 100 Jahre

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Schriftbanner mit Deutscher Nationalbibliothek Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main