From August 15 -20, a group of eight American and Canadian School Librarians took part in a study tour to Germany.
On Friday, August 19, the group visited the School Library Working Place of the City Library of Frankfurt. Stacy B. Rosenthal of the Council Rock High School South in Holland, Pennsylvania shares her impressions:
Our visit to the central library (Zentralbibliothek) provided an interesting comparison to our county library systems. The city library (Stadtbücherei), which houses approximately 7,000 items in 13 branch libraries plus 2 mobile busses, sees about 7,000 visitors per day, mostly in public institutions. In total, they have about 166,000 patrons from the entire Rhine area.
The central library branch that we visited, which opened in 2007, has three floors. There are maps / floor plans throughout the building, which help visitors get around. The first floor houses entertainment materials (fiction books organized in alphabetical order, not by genres, newspapers, magazines, DVDs, and audiobooks. Another floor houses non-fiction materials in book, CD, and DVD format. All of these types of media are shelved together.
The bottom floor houses the music library and is one of the largest of its kind in Germany. Also, since the library used to be a bank, the bottom floor still has the door to the safe of the old bank. That was really neat!! The area that used to house the safe is now a “safeland” with computers that have access to the internet, Microsoft Office, a database of German companies, and the capability for users to work with multimedia such as listening to CDs. The music floor also houses a silent piano so visitors can practice without disturbing the rest of the patrons. There is a grand piano that is used to creatively display music books.
Aside from the safeland, the library has over 50 computers for patrons to use. They can access the internet in 2-hour increments. The library also has 7 printing and photocopy machines. Patrons may make copies for 10ct each.
The library also has many special events, with a priority on multi-cultural activities. They offer resources in five languages other than German including English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. Prior to our visit, VHS always meant Video Home System (videocassette) to me. Now it means Volkshochschule, or adult education, which is an additional program offered through the library. The final point of interest to me at the central library was that some librarians only work on the main floor while some also work in the music library, which has 3 librarians.
Wednesday, 23. November 2011
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