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Use and function of the library

The primary users of the Academy and the library were the professors and the students, as well as the members of the Estates of Town and Province, other magistrates, and the protestant clergy. To educate civil servants, judges, physicians, and ministers, the Academy needed scholarly books. Because of the organisation of the curriculum, the function and use of an academic library was much more restricted than today. The collection of a seventeenth-century university library was above all supplementary to the private libraries of the professors and other scholars, which were often made accessible to others. It was customary for professors to give their lectures at home, and often they provided housing for students as well. Moreover, many held the view that manuscripts (and maybe printed books as well) should not be kept in a public library with restricted accessibility for research. Not only were the opening hours limited, but contemporaries were not shy to accuse librarians of 'Neid, Unwissenheit und Faulheit' - jealousy, ignorance, and laziness. Also, public libraries did not systematically buy certain genres of publications, such as small formats, pamflets, academic occasional publications, and belles-lettres.