Protest from LIBER

*Manuscripts of the Badische Landesbibliothek, **Karlsruhe***

It has come to the attention of the Expert Group of European Manuscript Librarians, operating under the auspices of the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (LIBER), that the Government of Baden-Württemberg is planning to auction off large parts of the manuscript collection of the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe which has been in public custody since the abolition of the Grand Duchy in 1918/19.

The LIBER Expert Group of European Manuscript Librarians recognises the unique significance of manuscript and archive collections, not only for the world of research and learning, but also for a wider audience of people interested in history and cultural heritage. The primary aims of the Group are to act as a forum for curatorial concerns, and to enhance understanding and practical cooperation among curators across Europe.

As a group of manuscript curators we protest against the possibility of a ‚diaspora‘ of manuscripts which are not only an important part of the German cultural heritage but as such also part of the common European cultural tradition. The manuscripts now held in Karlsruhe have been collected over centuries, have been kept in the Landesbibliothek for decades, and have been catalogued after World War II with DFG-funding. Although the juridical ownership of these manuscripts seems to be disputed, we urge the government of Baden-Württemberg to do its utmost to try and keep this historical collection together, accessible to the international scholarly community.

Dr. http://A.Th. Bouwman

Chairman, Expert Group of European Manuscript Librarians, LIBER
[Keeper of Western manuscripts
Leiden University Library]

Dr Bernard Meehan
Acting Secretary, Expert Group of European Manuscript Librarians, LIBER
Keeper of Manuscripts
Trinity College Library, University of Dublin


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