4 Pages

What is read and what should be

Szabo spent virtually his ent ire adult life working in l ibraries as a l ibrar ian. In 1900 he became librarian of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce, in 1904 he was en t rus ted to organize the Municipal Library of which he became the first director in 1911. It has been noted that ‘the air of the l ibrary char - acterized all his writings’ in the sense that he was a passionate bibliographer and an extremely well-read man; but also his socialist educator conviction characterized his l ibrar iansh ip . Oriented on the American pa t te rn of the ‘public l ibrary’ he designed an entirely new institution for central Europe and began to put it into reality in Budapest ; a central r e - search l ibrary with a social-science orientation augmented by branch l ibraries for the wider reading public . In his writ ings on l ibrar ianship, a collection of which has been edited by A. Tiszay (Budapest , 1959, with a bibliography of foreign language publications on l ibrar ies , p p . 611-13) he also utilized, though critically, the concepts of the German, Walter Hofmann, who advocated ‘ p ropagand i s t s ’ workers’ l ibrar ies . Szabó’ s achievements in the l ibrary can be gauged from his annual repor t s in ‘ Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen’ for 1912, 1913, 1917 and 1918: in those years the Municipal Library was almost the only ‘practical’ activity he pu r sued , having been disappointed by the Social Democratic - and the short-l ived syndicalist - movements in Hungary . In order to represen t this important field of Szabó’s l i terary activi ty, we include an art icle, originally published in ‘ Népmivelés’ (Popular Educat ion) , vol. 6, no . 2 (1911), p p . 60-4.