Since the Academy’s founding in 1983, its library collection has since steadily expanded—soon thereafter audio recordings and videos were added to its stacks. At first, there was only a reference collection, but today you can borrow almost all media—and for free! All are welcome to come by, prior registration isn’t necessary, to rummage and browse, as well as borrow. The current library collection is available on the Academy’ website.
The Focus Is on Cologne
The vast majority of the audio materials and films, and about two-thirds of the book collection currently encompass approximately 20,000 works about Cologne. All available books, on every conceivable subject area, have been acquired.
Because the history of Cologne is of particular importance, it serves as the foundation of the subject area section together with related subjects such as archeology, numismatics, and epigraphy. Works penned by established historians such as Leonard Ennen, are placed among titles by contemporary authors. General works are available as are treatises on specific eras and topics, as well as on specific parts of the city. Catalogues and publications on the history of Cologne’s museums and the University of Cologne are also included in the collection.
High German and Kölsch Literature
One bookshelf that enjoys great popularity among avid readers is the one with High German literature, historical novels, and Cologne crime novels. Anthologies, novels, in which the stories play out in Cologne and the surrounding areas, as well as works by well known and lesser known Cologne authors ranging from Angelowski to Kiesgen to Ziegler can be found here.
The “Kölsch Sproch” is of course a central theme. Dictionaries, linguistic works, and vernacular literature of all kinds are available. The list of authors includes Will Albers and Gaby Amm to Ria Wordel and Adam Wrede. Each literary preference is covered: there are humorous—in the form of “Krätzchen”(a humorous form of storytelling that can also be sung) and comics (such as “Asterix op Kölsch”)—, entertaining stories, anecdotes, parodies and verse, cheerful stories and those of a more serious nature, a novel by William Schneider-Clauss, poems, thought-provoking and religious texts and plays—the majority of which are written for children.
Tradition and Music
Regular library patrons are the program participants and instructors who are mainly interested in the subject relevant to the respective program, to which “tradition” belongs. One of these traditions is the Cologne Carnival, to which there are myriad volumes detailing its characteristics and traditions.
The library maintains background information on the entire music scene—from the Cologne philharmonic and opera to street music—for those who want to delve deeper into the subject.
The CD collection includes an ever-expanding assortment of dialect-audiobooks, because some publishers have now realized that many people prefer to listen rather than to read a book, as for the uninitiated Kölsch is not easy to read.
Visual documents of all kinds are available to library patrons. Videos of the Academy’s events from the past, as well as films of Cologne, the Rhine and its surroundings await their borrowers.
The View Beyond the City Limits
The Rhine flows not only through Cologne, and its respective literature is so numerous that it fills a separate department with travel descriptions from different eras, nonfiction that, for example, describe the geology, history, and economy of the river, but also the problems such as pollution and flooding hazards, as well as books whose authors extol the “German,” “patriotic,” and “romantic Rhine,” of the castles, the legends, especially the Loreley, and of course the wine! And, in order to further support the distinct characteristics of the Kölsch language, non-fiction literature from other German-speaking regions are available. Students who need to submit their technical and university work especially appreciate this resource.
Therefore, the library has a collection that includes subjects ranging from the Rhineland, a selection of literature on linguistics, dialectology, and other regional dialects, as well as trans-regional works.
Last but not least the library’s collections, which can of course also be borrowed, enrich the Kölsch diploma thesis of the Academy’s seminar program students
As a special service, the library maintains a catalogue of the contents of all magazines and anthologies from the Jahrbuch des Kölnischen Geschichtsvereins (Yearbook of the Cologne Historical Association) to Krune un flame (Kölsch for “Crowns and Flames,” which references Cologne’s coat of arms), and Jung-Köln, (a magazine for youth) to the Zeitschrift für Deutsche Mundarten (Journal of German dialects).
Of course, the two librarians are happy to assist in research and make recommendations.