The Somogyi Library - Szeged
In 1879, the town of Szeged was destroyed by a great flood of the Tisza River. Afterwards, it was rebuilt as a modern city with international cooperation. Its cultural rebirth was started by a donation from Károly SOMOGYI (1811-1888)
, canon of Esztergom, who presented the city with his library
of 43 701 volumes, a collection of major scholarly value at the time. Thus Somogyi became the founder of the present library. The collection represented a wide variety of disciplines, and it was intended to form one of the bases of a university to be established later in the city. The Somogyi Library opened on October 16, 1883. Between 1897 and 1984 it was located in the Közmûvelõdési Palota (Palace of Public Education, now a museum).
The new library building, occupying 6 500 sq. meters of floor-space, was opened on June 6, 1984, and it is now open
to readers on workdays from 9 am to 7 pm except Thursday 1 pm to 7 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.
Today, the stock includes over 880 000 books and 600 newspapers and periodicals.
In addition, there are 13 branch libraries throughout the city.
The new library building consits of a ground floor, and four upper floors.
- A children's department with an open shelf system and audio-visual equipment is located on the ground floor and is intended mainly for children aged 6-14.
- Floor 1 houses the arts and music department, comprising a large collection of art books, a music and record library where records may be borrowed, and finally a studio with simultaneous listening channels. On this floor is also found the periodicals reading room where current issues are accessible on open shelves; these, however, cannot be borrowed.
There are catalogues on every floor for the stock of that particular section. The general catalogues for the stock of the whole library (up to 1982) are available on microfish. The OPAC collection contains the books, bought since 1998, and the old hungarica collection.
In addition, to these three floors which serve general cultural and educational needs, there is
- Floor 3, which provides for primarily scholarly and scientific requirements. It is here that books not intended for loan and some old issues of periodicals can be read; here, too, are the catalogues, and finally the special collections, items of which are for study on the spot.
The Special Collections
- The Manuscripts -- This is mainly a collection of 20th century literary letters and manuscripts pertaining to Szeged. Of special importance is the material concerning Gyula Juhász, Szeged's great 20th century poet.
- The Somogyi Memorial Library
This comprises a selected version of the founder's collection in a room furnished with the original library furniture. The stock contains 10 000 volumes dating from before 1800, all arranged according to the original cataloguing order. (Rarities that were acquired later by the library are also kept here. One such subcollection is formed by remaining items form the library of András Dugonics, the Szeged scholar and writer). The only codex in the Somogyi Library is an ornamental missal written on parchment in a monastery near Prague in 1492. Of the 36 incunabula existing in the collection, the oldest one is a Historia Scholastica by Petrus Comestor, printed in Augsburg in 1473. The antiqua collection, with its circa 340 volumes, is made up of products form the most famous printing houses of the 16th century. 289 Old Hungarian Books exist in the collection dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, with the oldest volume being a Postilla by György Kulcsár, printed in Hungarian in 1574.
- The Local Collection contains, among other things, posters, leaflets and tracts providing research material for local historians.
- The Esperanto Collection (Hungarlanda Esperanto Muzeo kaj Biblioteko) has been functioning since 1960; it contains 3000 books and 200 periodicals.
- The Vasváry Collection, donated in 1972 by the American pastor Ödön Vasváry, an expatriot of Szeged, is the most comprehensive collection in Hungary concerning Hungarian Americans.
- In the Periodical Section on Floor 4, there are some 2000 periodicals ranging from the earliest ones in Hungary to some of the latest Hungarian and international issues. The richest and most valuable part of this collection is represented by a sub-section of early Szeged newspapers.
- The Ethnic collection in on Floor 2, 1 and on the ground floor, there are fiction and non-fiction material of Hungary’s thirteen ethnic minorities (both in original language and in Hungarian) and periodicals in the minorities’ languages.
6720 Szeged, Dóm tér 1-4. (62) 425-525 ; e-mail
; fax: (62) 630-601
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