A reading room is a room in a library that can be used by users to work and read. This room is of particular importance in reference libraries and archives , as the books and archive materials cannot be borrowed and can therefore only be used in the reading room. But most of the other libraries also have a reference collection , which usually includes particularly old and valuable books, specialist journals , newspapers and reference works such as lexicons and encyclopedias .
Not all libraries have a special reading room. Many open-access libraries , in which the publications are directly accessible on the shelves , also provide seating and tables. In research and university libraries there are often special work and group rooms that can be used on request.
The age of the generally open library to people began with the construction of the libraries in Paris in 1851, London in 1857 and Boston in 1858.
Famous and worth seeing reading rooms
One of the most famous reading rooms is the one in the British Museum in London. With its large dome, it has been a major attraction since it opened in 1857. Since December 2000 it has been accessible to all visitors even without a library card.
The reading room of the SLUB Dresden is located in the center of the new library building from 2002. It was laid out two floors below ground and is naturally lit by a large glass roof. On each side of the hall there are windows to the carrels of the library and to higher floors. It is considered to be one of the first large reading rooms in modern architecture. It offers a total of 200 seats and has bookshelves on each side, some of which are accessible via a gallery .
- Gerhard Römer (Ed.): Working area reading room in scientific libraries. Stuttgart: Baden-Württemberg Library School, 1979 advanced training event of the state of Baden-Württemberg. Papers, reports, suggestions. ISBN 3-88282-002-0
- Schneider, Ulrich Johannes : Library construction as a machine in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , July 7, 2018