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A Heart for Public Libraries: What They Bring, How They Work, What They Cost

2023-12-02T12:19:30.492Z

Highlights: A Heart for Public Libraries: What They Bring, How They Work, What They Cost. Among students alone, two million users flock to the hallowed libraries every day. Although all libraries are about imparting knowledge, there are differences. The regular annual fee ranges from 2.50 euros in Oldenburg to 45 euros in Hamburg. A child's ID card costs an average of 10 cents per year. Hamburg is sadly at the bottom of the list: it is the only city that charges money for a children's annual pass.



Status: 02.12.2023, 13:00 PM

By: Larissa Strohbusch

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Libraries open up the world of books to young and old: what the differences are and what it costs on average to borrow books.

Printed books still hold a magic for many people. Even among young people, 35 percent still voluntarily pick up real books several times a week. If you don't have the space and change to provide the necessary supplies, you are a regular guest here: in the library nearby. Why libraries are still important today.

Three Reasons Why Libraries Are So Important

Public libraries promote education and thus democracy. © Kay-Helge Hercher/IMAGO

German libraries have 55.5 million members, as Bild.de reports. Among students alone, two million users flock to the hallowed libraries every day, according to BID – Bibliothek & Information Deutschland. Although the principle of book collections dates back to antiquity, the library is not losing its importance in the digital age. There are many good reasons for this:

  • Libraries give everyone access to knowledge: borrowing books costs little money – if you only want to read on site, you can even do so free of charge. This promotes democracy.
  • Libraries are state-funded and not geared towards economic efficiency. That's why everyone will find what they like here: Whether you love classics or are looking for crazy comics, children's books or complicated specialist literature - the library has the right book for everyone.
  • Public libraries support cooperation: Here, people with a migrant background borrow books in their native language – or support others in learning them. Seniors spend their retirement time here while parents read to their children. Academics stand next to people from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds on the shelf. Everyone comes together in the library.
  • Libraries are by no means quiet places where people only whisper. The children play and romp in the children's library. The educational centre organises activities, meetings, readings or children's theatre. Librarians know that if you want to educate yourself, you have to meet and exchange ideas.

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    Library or library – what's the difference?

    Although all libraries are about imparting knowledge, there are differences. Basically, a distinction is made between public libraries and academic libraries. The former is for education, the latter for research. Most of the locations offer books for loan, but some are purely reference libraries where everything stays in place. The choice of a location varies from "basic needs", which means small village libraries, to highly specialised equipment, such as those offered by the German National Library. While the usual district library has a wide range of services, a special library focuses on a specific topic, be it a scientific field in a university library, historical travel literature such as the State Library in Eutin, or the German Crime Library in Bremen. But one thing doesn't make a difference: library and library both mean the same thing.

    Library fees: How much does a library card cost?

    But although libraries are publicly funded nationwide, there are no central guidelines. As a result, each library has its own fee rate – and this leads to major differences throughout Germany, as the library journal b.i.t. online lists:

    • The regular annual fee ranges from 2.50 euros in Oldenburg to 45 euros in Hamburg.
    • In Ingolstadt, Wiesbaden and Rostock, the card is even free of charge for all users.
    • On average, you pay 19.03 euros per year, and most places also offer discounted prices.
    • A child's ID card costs an average of 10 cents. How does this fee come about? Here, too, Hamburg is sadly at the bottom of the list: it is the only city library that charges money for a children's annual pass. In addition, children here are only allowed to borrow 15 media per year, while elsewhere children can immerse themselves in the fantastic worlds of literature without limits.

    Source: merkur

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