1945: The “Austrian National Library”: A New Beginning in the Second Republic

1945: The “Austrian National Library”: A New Beginning in the Second Republic

The Albertina building, destroyed in an air raid in March 1945

In July 1945, Josef Bick returned as the National Library’s director-general, a post he had held before 1938. That same month, he filed an application to re-name the "National Library" into "Austrian National Library". In his letter to the "State Office for Public Enlightenment, Education and Cultural Affairs", he pointed out:  

"… that the National Library can fulfil its principal task of cultivating and promoting a self-confident Austrian patriotism mainly by collecting as completely as possible everything that relates to Austrian history, literature, music, and art and what has been created by Austrian authors … and that it would therefore also be appropriate to underscore and emphasise this principal task of the National Library externally by changing its title to ‘Austrian National Library’" (ÖNB Hausgeschichte, vol. 2, p. 156).

In keeping with the country’s socio-political development, the Austrian National Library became an important symbol of the Second Republic that helped strengthen its cultural identity.

In 1945, the library’s "Austrian bibliography" also began to reappear. In 1946, Bick initiated the foundation of the Union of Austrian Librarians. The picture archives and the portrait collection were merged into a single collection and moved to the corps de logis (Neue Hofburg). Having been heavily damaged during the war, the rooms of the music and papyrus collections at the Albertina building were only ready to be moved into again in 1954.