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The Main Library celebrates its 20th anniversary – wien.ORF.at

The grand open staircase in the library building cannot be overlooked. It has become indispensable as a place to stay in public. As soon as the first rays of the sun warm up, people fill the staircase, from where a private view opens towards the south. Stairs are less fun but more challenging when classes come in and use them to climb stairs.

Of course, all this leaves traces, and the cleaning work on the stairs has just been completed. The building was planned by architect Ernst Meyer, inspired, as Meyer himself says, by Casa Malaparte on the island of Capri, writer Curzio Malaparte’s villa from the 1930s.

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Far from the dark dusty picture

The building is not only an attraction from the outside. Its interior was designed to create space for a new library feel. The bookshelves are arranged over an area of ​​about 4,000 square meters on two floors. Up to 3,000 visitors come to the library every day, and 38.5 million items have been borrowed over the past 20 years.

Stock fluctuates, according to the main library, 500,000 media, such as books, newspapers, magazines, CDs, DVDs, records and console games, cannot currently be borrowed. Children’s books are most popular followed by novels and DVDs. Loans decreased during the covid-19 pandemic, but are now back to pre-pandemic levels. And the trend is on the rise, also in the digital field.

Outdoor cinema, chess café and readings

The main library has proven itself in many respects in recent years. In the summer, for example, there is an open-air cinema on the roof of the building. Everyone is allowed to experience the balcony of the building at night. This year, the open-air cinema carries the theme “20 years” and shows films for all age groups – from art house to current cinema.

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The main library has also established itself as one of the central event sites for young and old: cartoons for children and entire school classes, picture book cinema, screenings of new book releases, current discussions and debates. There are also regular chess cafés, smaller rounds of talks about the challenges of the digital world or a literary Tea for Three talk.

Lesovanten Festival to celebrate the anniversary

The twentieth anniversary will be celebrated in May. Two great guests from the literary scene: the Belarusian author Sasha Filippenko and the Croatian author Zoran will present their new books. This weekend of the program is an evening to join in: in “Reading for a Spritzwein,” the audience decides which texts to be read are the stars of the evening.

There is also a special screening of the annual Lesofantenfest, which this time takes place exclusively in the main library in the second week of May. Austria’s largest festival of children’s art and culture offers children and young people a colorful mix of theatre, music and literature with 14 program elements over seven days.