Volksbüchereien (People´s Libraries): Unlike academic Libraries, "Volksbüchereien" are public or private lending libraries. They were founded mainly by political or church associations from about 1870, between the two World Wars by trade unions, and in some cases by municipalities, e.g. in Wiener Neustadt. The "Workers´ Libraries" in Vienna were taken over by the municipality in 1934/35. After 1938, the libraries operated by diverse associations were replaced by a network of municipal libraries, which continued to exist and were expanded (open stack system) after 1945. Lending libraries are operated by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for Instructing Children ("Borromäuswerk"), by trade unions and by the Chambers of Labour, all of which were united in a single association (Verband österreichischer Volksbibliotheken) in 1948. It operates large libraries (with branches and mobile units called "book buses") as well as small libraries complemented by "travelling libraries" of the federal government. In 1993 there were 2,171 Volksbüchereien (including branches) with around 8,945,000 media and some 937,350 readers per year who borrowed 14,408,230 volumes. Librarians receive training by way of courses organised by the Ministry for Education and by town, municipal and library associations. Since the 1980s, selections of audio and video cassettes have been increasingly available in Volksbüchereien.
Literature: A. Pfoser, Die Wiener Städtischen Büchereien. Zur Lesekultur in Österreich, 1994.
|Largest Municipal Public Libraries in Austria (1993)