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Friday, October 19, 2012

Trip to Munich

Sorry about the long silence here. I have been on a business trip to Munich in Germany! I'm a member of a national committee on digitization and we visited the State Library of Bavaria last week. They are very active in the field of digitization. They started already in 1997 and now have more than one million books available on their website, for anyone to read. It's of course works that are copyright-free. Their collection of books printed before 1800 is enormous and they have focused on getting them scanned and published on-line. The staff at the library showed us most of the departments. It's a very large facility, there are six reading rooms and gigantic collections of books (10 million), manuscripts (94 000), maps (40 000) and incunabula (20 000 - the largest collection in the world). It was incredibly interesting to see everything, especially the stacks. There are 52 people working in the stacks. (We have 5 million books managed by 8 people in the stacks)... Total number of library workers was 800 in Munich. (80 here). I can say that the Munich library has a lot more money than we do. Much, much more. They have 23 scanners of various models. (We have one that advanced). The committee studied the workflow, asked about the technical problems and discussed financial matters. It was a very informative day, and the librarians were very eager to answer all our questions. We also had time to have a proper committee meeting (at a restaurant) and do some sightseeing. Munich is a city of about 1.3 million inhabitants. There are many impressive buildings that seem to be from the early 19th century, but they are mostly rebuilt after World War II in the old style. The opportunity for shopping is quite extensive, there are many nice stores. I couldn't resist, of course.

This Tuesday we had a staff day, so the library was closed (this is extremely unusual). We all gathered at a hotel in Lund to have a meeting. We got a new boss earlier this year and she wanted to hear our opinions about the work and the organization. We are not used to being asked about this. But we did have a few things to say, so I guess it was worth while. Wednesday we had a lot to do since we had to retrieve books ordered both Monday and Tuesday. The movers needed help also, so this week has been a little crazy. The movers are almost halfway done now. It's amazing to realize that there will be an ending to this madness. The collection they started moving now is placed in four different storages, one of which I have actually never seen.

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