October 23, 2015
Matica Srpska is the oldest cultural-scientific institution in Serbia. It was originally founded in 1826 in Budapest as a society to spread information about Serbia to other countries, with a scholarly journal titled Serbian Annuals. In 1864, the society and library moved to Novi Sad, where it remains today. http://www.maticasrpska.org.rs/en/matica-srpska/
I really enjoyed the visit to Matica Srpska Library for many reasons. While we need a translator to tell us what the librarian was saying, I did not need a translator to see how much she enjoyed telling the story of the library. Her enthusiasm and joy was clearly seen in her eyes and tone. It was clearly shown how this library has had an important cultural and historical role in the development of Serbian libraries. I was surprised at the limited number of people that are able to use this library in that it has an age limit and that it is not a lending library. This was a very informative visit and I learned a lot and enjoyed the architecture and being able to see the different rooms and books.
Matica Srpska had a fascinating background; it started in another country and was moved to Novi Sad in 1864. The townspeople helped unload the books from the boats and move them into a donated building. A man who would later become president of the library donated over 700 books. Even later, in 1928, they moved to their current location, a former orphanage. They have expanded, and are now a repository for all publications in Serbia and by Serbian authors. They house the largest collection of old and rare books, even more than the National Library. However, only a few people are able to actually take books home, the books are for in library use only. This was a bit of a surprise, but it makes sense with the collection they have. It is a beautiful building, with a beautiful view, and a history that is slightly different from most libraries; it was one of my favorites.
Matica Srpska is the second national library in Serbia and serves as their deposit library. We got a very detailed history of the library, which was interesting. It had been established in the 1820s in Budapest as a way to spread information about Serbia, and then moved to Novi Sad in 1864 by river, where supposedly all the inhabitants of Novi Sad came to the shore to welcome the books. Unfortunately, we were not able to see any of the books, although the building was quite lovely.