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Books to be burnt at University of Copenhagen

Hundreds of thousands of books are to be burnt when the Faculty of Humanities merges its libaries into a new knowledge centre in 2013

It brings on grim associations of 1930’s Germany and the sci-fi movie Fahrenheit 451.

But hundreds of thousands of books at the Faculty of Humanities (KUA) in Copenhagen are to be put into the incinerator in connection with the set-up of a new knowledge centre in 2013. This is according to the Danish national radio station P4.

There will be not enough shelf space in the new building, so four department libraries will be forced to get rid of one third of their books. Just one of them, the Saxo-Institute, home of the subjects of history and ethnology, has to get rid of a total of 70,000 books.

Doesn’t like it

Staff representative at the Faculty of Humanities Christian Troelsgård doesn’t like it at all.

»When you reduce the book collections in this way, the University of Copenhagen reduces our ability to carry out what we have been hired to do,« he says, adding that the incineration undermines the foundations of research.

»We don’t like book burnings«, he adds.

It was either books or students

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Kirsten Refsing, does not see the book burning as a problem.

»It is OK, because there is no other way to do it. One of our proposals was to offer the books to the students. But this is a problem as the books have been acquired by taxpayers’ funding. As an institution, we just can’t sell them,« she says.

Lack of space, has the Faculty facing a choice, says Dean Kirsten Refsing:

»We were allowed to build the house, and we were given the choice of filling it with books or students, and we have chosen to fill it with students«.

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