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Centenary of the official opening of the Deutsche Bücherei building

Press release:  August 30, 2016

The Leipzig building of the German National Library is celebrating its hundredth birthday:
the original building of the former "Deutsche Bücherei des Börsenvereins der Deutschen Buchhändler zu Leipzig", today's German National Library, was formally opened on 2 September 1916.

The imposing building with its impressively curved main facade was built to designs created by Oskar Pusch. A master development plan from 1913 included a boulevard serving as a central axis for the Deutscher Platz area, connecting the Neues Rathaus and the Völkerschlachtdenkmal: today's Strasse des 18. Oktober. The draft featured a curved structure in the early Italian Renaissance style, including an artistically designed facade on Deutscher Platz, housing administration and catalogue rooms, and stacks in the upper floors. It also included a vertical central section containing the reading room. The library building was constructed from 1914 to 1916 in only two and a half years. The original plans envisaged extensions being built every 20 years, ultimately giving the building complex sufficient capacity for the next 200 years.

Both the first annex building, which was constructed from 1934 to 1936 as the southwest wing, and the second annex building, which was built from 1959 to 1963 on the northwest side, followed the plans of architect Oskar Pusch and the head of the planning department, Karl Julius Baer. However, the third extension, which was built from 1976 to 1982 purely to house stacks, deviated from the original plans. Designed exclusively for storing books, the freestanding stack building was erected at a distance of roughly 40 m to the old building. From 1968 a number of high-rise residential blocks were built on Straße des 18. Oktober. The third annex building, which was built in the form of a book tower, should be regarded in the urban development context of these high-rise blocks.

The fourth and most recent annex building of the library, designed by Stuttgart architect Gabriele Glöckler, was opened in 2011. Its west gable joins onto the original building on Deutscher Platz, bringing together the ensemble of buildings by incorporating the Book Tower. It provides space for offices and stacks while also housing the German Museum of Books and Writing and the Museum reading room. The stacks include those of the German Music Archive, which moved from Berlin to Leipzig and for which a reading room building was built in the western courtyard of the existing building.

The stack capacities of the fourth annex building are expected to be exhausted by 2025. Work has already started on defining the requirements for the fifth annex of the Leipzig building, a stacks building with optimum conditions for the storage of media works - books, magazines, audio recordings, data carriers.

Events on September 2

The German National Library and its history. Tours at 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00. Meet in the foyer of the old building. Admission is free of charge.

Cardboard model of the historic library building in Leipzig, including the magnificent facade on Deutscher Platz. The creative workshop in the German Museum of Books and Writing provides model-making instructions and tips.
14:00 in the Museum Gallery. Admission is free of charge.

Background

For over a century now the German National Library has been collecting, documenting, archiving and making publicly available all written publications and sound recordings issued in Germany, or in German, since 1913. It provides its comprehensive range of services at its twin sites in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main, but also in digital form to a global circle of users. In addition the German National Library also houses valuable and extensive special collections in the German Exile Archive 1933-1945 and the German Museum of Books and Writing. It showcases its valuable collections and promotes the culture of books, reading and music by regularly staging readings, exhibitions, lectures and concerts. It houses over 30 million media units and attracts roughly 220,000 visitors to its two sites in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main with its collections and rich and varied programme of events.

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