The History of the Library at the University of Theatre and Film Arts
The library was founded at the same time of the establishment of the University’s predecessor the Apprentice Actors’ School (Színészeti Tanoda). Ede Paulay served as the secretary and librarian of the School, supervising and enriching the collection for 9 years. He did not have an easy job as there were no Hungarian language publications of the profession at that time. The oldest books of the present-day library are in German.
In the early days, most of the library’s holdings were book donations and textbooks written by teachers of the establishment. According to Paulay’s data, the library’s book collection totaled 2018 volumes in 1874, 684 of which encompassed a range of subjects such as acting, music, aesthetics and history. There were plays for educational purposes, hand-copied books of words, and promptbooks and director’s copies, as well.
The so-called “musical-note library” comprised 334 documents as it was among the tasks of the “Tanoda” to train opera singers as well as prose actors. When the training of stage-directors was launched in 1928, the library had 5000 volumes and nearly half of them were plays. When further trainings were started in 1948, the collection and the acquisition of specialized literature closely tied to the education also enriched the holdings of the library.
As our establishment is a university ranking one with an extended range of trainings, not to mention the launch of the doctoral school, the library has to measure up to today’s professional demands and as a result, now functions as a public research library, as well. Its main task is to facilitate theoretical and practical education as much as possible and endeavors to collect nearly all the specialized literature of theatre and film in order to achieve this. In 2007, the library gained support from the National Cultural Fund of Hungary and has started to digitalize the catalogue of the holdings. The ever-expanding database can be accessed through the online catalogue.
Kálmán Nádasdy, a most influential artist of his time and then the Director General, initiated the creation of the scores library section in 1965. The present day holdings of this library contain 9000 scores and 2563 sound-documents. The collection – according to musical styles – is made up of folk, vocal, classical and pop music items.
In 1994, the library was further extended by a media section, which used to facilitate the education in the film department. In addition, the library also collects recordings of prose and musical theatre performances, thus enriching the already existing holdings. The library collects the recordings of the students’ exam tasks, exam films and recordings of important events capturing the life of the University. Recently, there has been significant increase in the number of Hungarian and foreign films and recordings of theatre and opera performances.
We shall use the support in the framework of the project titled “Knowledge Depot of the University of Theatre and Film Arts – User-friendly Expansion in the Library of the University of Theatre and Film Arts”. The project is realised with the support of the European Union and the co-financing of the European Social Fund.
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