- Academic Libraries in Europe: A Historical Study of Legal Deposit system
- No.4, p.121-132
In postwar Japan, the library affairs in the United States have been much referred to in solving the problems of the library, but those of Europe seem to have been less referred to. However, recently the reports of American librarians' pilgrimage to libraries in Europe have appeared in the prefessional magazines in the American library world and special issues on the libraries in Scandinavian countries have often been presented. This has resulted in wide discussion on this subject. I happened to have had an opportunity to inspect academic libraries in 10 European countries last year and I thought I would take this opportunity to put in order my impressions and characteristics of the traditional academic libraries in the West.
The first characteristics is the acquisition policy, the second one is the rationalization of technical processing, the third is the training of librarians, and the fourth is the library building. However, what I wish to state here concerns the historical development of legal deposit system that characterizes the acquisition. In the Western countries, efforts were made to collect books under this system within their countries as early as the beginning of the 16th century, thus taking the lead in the world. Such libraries as British Museum Library, Bodleian Library of Oxford University, Bibliotheque Nationale in France, Uppsala University and University Library of Lund in Sweden, University Library of Copenhagen in Denmark and others have so far collected some 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 volumes. Further, the number of books in Berlin Free University Library, established after World War II, increases by more than 38,000 annually and the Library presently has a collection of 500,000 volumes.
It is considered that the legal deposit system has been one of the driving forces in these collections and it should not be overlooked that in Japan only the National Diet Library enjoys the benefits of this system. In case of the Western countries, however, each country has at least 3 or 4 deposit libraries and in some countries inventive methods for better operarions of the deposit system can be observed, each library being given a specific theme to tackle. I have tried to get my idea into shape on the legal foundation and the details of the operation of these organization.
（Keio University Library）