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15 years ago Marlis Werz, the Deputy Library Director, launched the event of readings called "The other book at the Uni". The aim was to remind the general public regularly that the St.Gallen University Library is a place for everyone. 29 readings in 15 years, as well as the constant audience numbers, speak for themselves. Library Director Edeltraud Haas explains: "On average, we have about 50 to 70 guests per reading. These are regulars from the quarter and the city, as well as new visitors who will make use of the opportunity to join a guided tour of the Library afterwards. Our guests appreciate the fact that the authors do not merely present their new books but also describe writing and the creative processes." In this way, the Library has achieved two goals simultaneously: to create added value for the population and to make the Library known as a public place to a wider circle.
The University Library is
a place for everyone
The title of the series, "The other book at the Uni", implies the criteria that the organisers of the readings have to satisfy. Only books are presented which have nothing to do with the University's core subjects. Also, they have to be new publications, explains Edeltraud Haas: "This is exciting. The books are so new that we're unable to judge how they will go down with the public. Usually, however, we're positively surprised. Some of the authors won a prize with their work later." The now successful authors Ruth Schweikert and Tim Krohn, who gave the first readings as unknown young literary artists in 2002, are cases in point. In 2006, Monique Schwitter presented her first book; in 2016, she was awarded the Swiss Prize for Literature.
There have been many highlights. Edeltraud Haas remembers the readings with Doris Knecht and Milena Moser particularly well: "Doris Knecht presented her book in a very entertaining way; the audience laughed a great deal." Milena Moser's reading to mark the 10th anniversary of the event was also something special. "Milena Moser had already discussed writing and journalism with students in the seminar in the afternoon, so many students also turned up for the reading then. Basically I would like it if we could cooperate with the degree courses. Unfortunately this hardly works out since regular courses and readings are subject to different schedules."
Edeltraud Haas would like to stick to this concept in the future: "The 15 years show that the readings go down well with the public. There's no need for change at the moment," she adds with a smile.