My long-time research project is the global history of libraries, more exactly modern libraries. A modern library to me is (a) a building that accommodates people as well as books, that (b) builds up its holdings according to needs, and that (c) produces catalogues for the use of everyone.

I am especially interested in the diversity of libraries’ users. As early as 1857, the reading room of the British Museum reserved places for women; in 1870, the Boston Public Library opened a reading room for children. Many countries have early on established libraries for the working class. Public libraries became almost everywhere a feature of continuing education. My aim is to find out how exactly modern libraries are defined by their usage.

See also