Highlight of the month


A Century of the National Library of Iceland 1818-1918

Jón Jacobson (1860-1925) National librarian wrote at the beginning of the last century a memorial book about the history of the National Library of Iceland 1818-1918, a great work published in 1920.
Jacobson tells about the history of the library on annual basis, at the beginning there is an introduction to the establishment of the library, and then the story of the library, which has been divided into three main sections: I. At the cathedral (1825-1881) II. In the Parliament House (1881-1908) and III. In the Culture House (1908-1918). Following is a biography of the first three main librarians: Jón Árnason, Hallgrímur Melsteð and Jón Jacobson.There are also a number of supporting documents and a directory. The book contains some large and high-quality pictures, first a picture of Carl Christian Rafn, who can be considered as the father of the library. In addition to his image, there are pictures of the Culture House, both inside and outside, of the first three main librarians, and from the old reading room in the Parliament House.
In his text, Jacobson recalls the close relationship between the history of the library and the Icelandic society, as stated in these words, in rough translation (page 216): "It is a joyous consideration, how the growth and the value of the National Library has always been intertwined to increasing independence and the benefit of the Icelandic nation. When the Parliament had received trust management and the Icelanders a constitution, the library entered the national budget; even when it was scarce. When the Parliament had a house over its head, the library was under the same roof, and when the government had finally become national, it built a good house for the library with national funds. "
Jón Jacobson´s book Landsbókasafn Íslands 1818-1918 – Minningarrit (A Century of the National Library of Iceland 1818-1918) is the Library´s highlight in January, but this year 200 years have passed since the establishment of the library.

The book can be viewed on the web baekur.is: http://baekur.is/bok/000207917/Landsbokasafn_Islands

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