Der Praktikant David steht vor der Stadtbibliothek Erlangen.

To be a Part of Something Meaningful: Three Months with Stabi

Eine kurze Reflexion auf Englisch: There’s so much to see and do at the Stadtbibliothek – from hearing music and attending monthly events to borrowing all sorts of media, there’s something for everyone’s interest.

About me: a student from the United States

My name is David Marx. I’m a student from Kalamazoo College, a university in the United States of America, who has been studying here in Erlangen since September of 2023. If you came to Erlangen Stadtbibliothek during fall or winter of this year, you may have even seen me helping around! For these brief three and a half months that I helped at Erlangen Stadtbibliothek, I grew to understand and appreciate the incredible work and important role of the librarians. My initial expectations of maintaining books and organizing shelves were far superseded by the true scope of what Erlangen Stadtbibliothek does: from archiving music, films, books, magazines, and other forms of media I had never before seen; to helping teach primary school classes about the importance, functions, and scope of the library (something I found myself learning much about alongside the students), I was fundamentally impressed and moved by not only these many duties of the librarians, but also the passion with which they were undertaken. I’d like to think that I now share this passion, as I have enjoyed my time at Erlangen Stadtbibliothek greatly to the point where I’m saddened to be leaving it behind as I return home.

Learning about the library media

My first few days at the library were spent acclimating myself to the library and the various departments with which I would be working. Many of the librarians actually slowed down their work so I could observe and participate, something for which I am even now grateful: they understood before even I did that my time here was not only for the sake community service and language learning experience, but also an opportunity to learn about the many interconnected processes that are involved in even the most simple parts of library service: every single book that is lent out and returned by a patron undergoes a process of examination, cataloging, database entry, re-shelving, and potential physical maintenance through at least two to three different librarians. All of this is done for over 160,000 media including books, films, audiobooks, music, magazines, newspapers, comics, e-book readers, board games, video games, and the especially beloved “Tonies”, small figurines that function as audiobooks with stories, music, and learning media when placed on an interactive speaker.

The Kinderbibliothek, the Fahrbibliothek, and library accessibility

A lot of my time at Erlangen Stadtbibliothek was spent with the Kinder- und Jugendbibliothek, where the media for younger readers was stored and the various classes and activities for the students took place. Not only did I participate in the more basic work such as reshelving the books there and lending out the books from behind the librarian’s counter, but I was also able to lead or assist in various activities such as helping guide class trip through the library, reading books for and leading the library’s English storytime hour, and even watching and helping with the process of purchasing new books for the Kinderbibliothek. All of these were great fun to participate in, and really helped open my eyes to just how important the Stadtbibliothek is for so many people! My former perception of the library was something that patrons engage with by borrowing media from it – a passive engagement – but it is so much more of an active engagement, with programs both in and out of the library using its resources and spaces to educate, entertain, and encourage people to take full advantage of the extent of the library’s many resources. I myself did not often use the library facilities available to me earlier in life, and my experience here has taught me the full range of both academic and recreational media that is within a figurative arms’ reach! Even if you’re situated far from the library building proper, there’s a good chance you can catch the Fahrbibliothek, or mobile library, somewhere near you.

So come visit Stadtbibliothek Erlangen!

Ultimately, I suppose that my point here is that the library is a great place with so much to do and engage with. It was truly a pleasure being able to be a part of the library, and from accompanying the Fahrbibliothek’s evening outings to attending the lovely Concertino hosted in the Burgersaal, I was able to experience so much and meet so many wonderful people. If you’ve read this far, I’d like to encourage you to take full advantage of everything the Stadtbibliothek offers: with the amount of dedication and thought that goes into organizing the library’s functions and making them available, it would be a shame to miss out on them!


Hallo Alle! Als Student aus den USA habe ich vier Monate hier in Erlangen gelebt – und die meiste Zeit davon in der Stadtbibliothek gearbeitet. Da ich ein begeisterter Leser bin, war die Gelegenheit, mit den wunderbaren Menschen hier in der Bibliothek zusammenzutreffen, einfach zu schön, um sie mir entgehen zu lassen. Mein Lieblingsgenre ist historische Fiktion, da ich diese als Kind am häufigsten gelesen habe.

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