The International English Library was established in 1946 as a British Forces initiative to bridge the gap between nations previously at war. The Occupation Office created “Die Brücke”, translated as “The Bridge”, which hosted many cultural events, in addition to the library. As Günther Grass noted in his renowned novel, The Tin Drum, “Die Brücke” was known for learning and culture:
“…I educated myself almost free of cost together with thousands wanting to catch up and to educate themselves, took courses in the Volkshochschule, and became a regular in the British Centre, called Die Brücke.”
Over the decades, Die Brücke experienced many changes and in the 1990s budget cuts threatened the closure of the library. It was saved by a group of private regular visitors who in 1999 formed a non-profit organisation, managed by an elected board of voluntary members, to take stewardship of the library. Together with the support of many loyal sponsors, their work continues in ensuring the library remains the wonderful, volunteer-run organisation it is today!
Representing Germany, Japan, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India and many other countries, our volunteers are as diverse as our readers.
You’re always very welcome to pop in and chat with our volunteers; about a favourite book, film, or perhaps why they choose to spend their time at the library!