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Minister: Books will be sold or given away

After the University of Copenhagen proposed to burn hundreds of thousands of books, a heated debate ensued. Now the Minister of Science has stepped in to save the books

Upon noisy objections to the proposed book burning, the University of Copenhagen requested dispensation from the rule that says state property cannot be sold or given away.

Now the Ministry of Science has given the university go-ahead to sell or give away the many books, according to Berlingske newspaper.

»Of course the university should be allowed to give the books to those who are interested in them instead of burning them,« comments the Minister of Science, Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, to Berlingske newspaper.

Dean: »Like eating babies«

Kirsten Refsing, the head of the University’s Faculty of Arts, is delighted with the minister’s decision.

»That’s great. Now we’ll give the books away to anyone who’s interested,« she says, adding that »we’re humanists after all, so the word ‘book-burning’ sounds a bit like eating babies to us.«

She also points out that if the minister had not given the University green light to give away the books, they would have been incinerated at a trash plant, not on a bonfire in front of the University, as the rhetoric might have suggested.

Months of work before the big give-away

Charlotte Sahl-Madsen explains that as state property, books with significant value must be sold at market price.

»But I do assume that the university has checked whether the books are of any value or can be regarded as cultural heritage. If they do have any value, the university should try to sell them,« she says to Berlingske newspaper.

According to Kirsten Refsing, none of the books have any significant value, so it should be alright to give them away.

Before the books can be given away, however, they need to be sorted and registered. This process will take months, says Lise Tolstrup, the University’s head of communication.

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