Flensburg Municipal Library “This is where literature is to be found”

Sigrid D. does not want to miss a single reading at Flensburg Municipal Library
Sigrid D. does not want to miss a single reading at Flensburg Municipal Library | Photo (detail): © Birgit Dankert

Sigrid D. has always been interested in literature. The fact, however, that she experiences authors up close in real life readings at Flensburg Municipal Library is a very special pleasure for her. 

The way authors introduce their books, even the way they hold their books in their hands or the way they turn the pages reveals so much about them that I fall totally under their spell. The words, their gestures, their body language – observing this interplay opens up their literature for me. Discussions with the authors after the reading then often enable us to come totally to grips with the work itself and what it is trying to say. Even when somebody does not open up, I am still able to recognise a few things.

Literary diversity at its best – the poster wall in the library Literary diversity at its best – the poster wall in the library | Photo (detail): © Birgit Dankert I often go to the events in the library with a girlfriend or I hook up with a few friends there. We talk about the readings that we are interested in. I like to hear other people's opinions. Every time we really enjoy the specialised introductions – it is always somebody who has read the book thoroughly beforehand and not some one who just wants to sell me something. Drinks are always provided and if the mood is right we move to a cosy, local restaurant for the discussion with the author.

Big crowds – the writer, Lena Gorelik, reading in the Flensburg Municipal Library. Big crowds – the writer, Lena Gorelik, reading in the Flensburg Municipal Library. | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Oeding That is why, over the years, the literary readings and conversations in the reading garden or lecture room have become the main attraction of Flensburg Municipal Library. The focus is not just on great literature, but also on regional themes. I get to know local writers, new authors and world-famous writers such as Nobel Prize laureate, Herta Müller - this diversity alone makes it a real pleasure. Smaller readings take place in cosy spots amidst the bookshelves, creating an intimate atmosphere that I particularly like. And when a writer tells us about regions of the world whose culture, politics and conflicts have been fed to us mostly via news programs, the evening then turns into one of the finest hours of human understanding. This always has a more far-reaching impact.

A special place – The Reading Garden A special place – The Reading Garden | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Oeding New publications are presented, groups of authors get together for a chat, and lyricism might well be on the agenda for two or three events. These events are open to everybody. This open participation in literary discourse is really democratic. The Municipal Library in Flensburg is supported by many cooperation partners – such as bookshops, schools, universities, charity organisations and foundations. This is very encouraging for me. I feel that I am being taken seriously and know that my contribution is also respected.

Democratic literary discourse – Sigrid D. looking over the shoulders of the program planners. Democratic literary discourse – Sigrid D. looking over the shoulders of the program planners. | Photo (detail): © Birgit Dankert There is, however, more to Flensburg as a literary city than meets the eye: it lies on the border to Denmark, it has a German and Danish library, there is a lively cultural exchange between the two countries, and also with the German minority living in Denmark on the other side of the border. Literary translation is a major focus of the German-Scandinavian literature scene. On International Translation Day, celebrated every year on the feast of St. Jerome on 30th September, the Goethe Institutes present their “Transparent Translator” project and that is how I got to know the professional side of literature scene. 
I would prefer to be personally invited to events by means of a circular newsletter rather than via posters and the local press. These days we are bombarded by so many things, we often overlook quite a lot. And, of course, I do not want to miss anything!

Sigrid D. thinks being personally invited to events is a good idea. Sigrid D. thinks being personally invited to events is a good idea. | Photo (detail): © Birgit Dankert

Sigrid D. (born 1943) studied German literature and art. She was a teacher herself and also worked in teacher training. She is married and has raised three children. She works creatively in the fields of writing and fine arts.
The Municipal Library in Flensburg was opened in 1905. Since 2007 it has been housed on the second floor of the “Flensburg Galerie” shopping centre. It has also been running a mobile library unit since 1973. In addition to its range of online services, the municipal library in Flensburg has over 122,800 on-site media units.
 

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