The children's and youth's book collection of Braunschweig University Library was established after the Second World War at the former Kant-Hochschule (since 1947 Pädagogische Hochschule) in Braunschweig.
At the beginning of 1946 Kant-Hochschule received the Reichsjugendbücherei from Berlin, which had been moved to Braunschweig during the war. The most valuable part of this library was the children's and youth's book collection of Karl Hobrecker from Westphalia and his wife Margarete. The exact size of the remaining Hobrecker collection is not known; only 4301 volumes can be traced back to Hobrecker's collection.
1728 volumes are from the Reichsjugendbücherei and other organizations. Building on these collections, the Pädagogische Hochschule expanded the collection during its period of independence until 1971. When the libraries of the Technical University and the Pädagogischer Hochschule merged in 1971, the collection became the property of University Library Braunschweig. Here it is continuously expanded, with a considerable part of the acquisitions being donated to the library. Over the years, several collections from different collectors have been added.
In the 1980s the library received about 950 English children's books from London, mostly from the years 1850-1950; another part consisted of modern pop-up books.
A significant addition was the donation of Oberstudienrat Walter Nieder from Braunschweig between 1990 and 2000, who brought about 800 volumes into the collection. It contains numerous journals for children and young people from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Der Neue Deutsche Jugendfreund, Töchter-Album, Herzblättchens Zeitvertreib, Der Jugendgarten and Auerbachs Deutscher Kinderkalender.
In 1999, the children's book authors and illustrators Margret and Rolf Rettich, who live near Braunschweig, donated one copy each of their publications with new editions and numerous translations to the library. A total of 518 volumes of the Rettich couple have been donated to the library so far.
In the same year, the publishing and book archives of Vieweg publishing house, which had its headquarters in Braunschweig from the 18th to the 20th century, were handed over to the library. As well as letters from Hans-Christian Andersen, Sophie Frömmichen, Marie v. Houwald-Thielau, Johann Peter Hundeiker, Gustav Sues and Amalie Winter, about 100 children's books from the publishing house came into the collection.
At the end of 2003, the collection was enriched by 59 titles by the Austrian children's book illustrator Ernst Kutzer. In 2007, the University Library received a large donation of more than 200 volumes from the renowned Berlin children's book publisher. The heirs of the author Barbara Bartos-Höppner donated her work to the children's book collection in 2012.
Today the collection comprises over 28,000 volumes.
The entire collection of children's books can be researched in the catalogue of the University Library or in the GBV Catalogue.
The collection was catalogued between 1978 and 1982 with the financial support of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). A printed catalogue was published in 1985:
Die Sammlung Hobrecker der Universitätsbibliothek Braunschweig. Katalog der Kinder- und Jugerndliteratur 1565-1945. Bearb. Von Peter Düsterdieck unter Mitarb. von Ingrid Bernin-Israel [u.a.] 2 Bände, München: Saur 1985.
The books of the children's book collection can not be borrowed. They can only be read in the special reading room within University library. Exceptions are possible in special cases.
More than 900 volumes have been digitalised and can be read and downloaded free of charge from the Digitale Bibliothek Braunschweig.
Microfilms with selected children's books are also available for use.
All books can be ordered via the catalogue of the University Library or via the GBV Catalogue.
Since 1995, the State of Lower Saxony has been financing projects to film older book collections from the period between 1850 and 1920 that were threatened with decay. With these funds, Braunschweig University Library was able to film 1,115 volumes of the collection until 2006. In each case 2 films were made. One film is archived, the second film can be used, so that the filmed books are permanently withdrawn from use.
The digitalisation of the books also helps to preserve the collections. Selected volumes are scanned, edited and archived. These titles are listed in the catalogue of the University Library and can be viewed at Digitale Bibliothek Braunschweig.
In 2006, the University Library began the mass deacidification of children's books in a pilot project with funds from the State of Lower Saxony. The process had already proven to be successful in the deacidification of pharmaceutical collections.