The Fate of a Book Collection?

An eternal question is what happens to collections when the collector passes away. Especially, large book collections can be challenging to pass on to the next generation if there is no inherent interest in book collecting. Due to their space-consuming nature, there is often no possibility to place them in the homes of future generations. Consequently, collections often need to be sold to various places, even though the collection as a whole is always more valuable than individual books. Often, the cultural value of a collection is significantly greater than its monetary value.

The larger and more complete a collection is, the more unfortunate it is for such a collection to break apart. Building a good book collection often takes at least one generation. The relay baton rarely passes smoothly through generations, even though it would contribute to the collection’s completeness and leave a significant legacy within the genre it encompasses.

My own library consists of fishing books. I have systematically tried to purchase all the old fishing books that are missing from my collection. Initially, it seemed financially impossible, and at times, it was, but gradually I have reached a point where there are so few missing old fishing books available that I have generally been able to acquire them. Now the collection is becoming large enough that the thought of breaking it up is repulsive.

Old fishing books have survived to this day in the libraries of state research institutions and universities. Now state research institutions have almost entirely disposed of their libraries, and the pressure to reduce university libraries is increasing all the time. The National Library has its significant role, but its operational resources are limited as well. Therefore, the importance of private collectors in passing on culture to the next generation has grown significantly.