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The Friends of the American Library, e.V.

When we heard in 1994 that the US Army was planning to close its bases in Karlsruhe, a small international group of civilian users of the Smiley Library formed The Friends of the American Library. Our goal was to keep the former army community library intact, to keep it in Karlsruhe, and to open it to the general public. Then German Foreign Minister and Karlsruhe Representative Dr. Klaus Kinkel agreed to become our Honorary Chairman. The Army donated the library to the City of Karlsruhe, and the City agreed to accept the gift on condition that the Friends raise the money for the annual acquisitions budget and provide volunteers to assist the paid, full-time librarian.

The American Library opened in November 1996 on a trial basis. Doubts that the Karlsruhe public would be interested in an English-language library began to disappear on the first day, when 1000 guests streamed to the opening and long lines formed at the registration desk.

Since that day the library has grown and thrived. With the proceeds of our Friends' membership dues and our biannual Book and Bake Sales and through the support of The Robert Bosch Stiftung, the US Consulate General and other business and private donors, the Friends have met our goal of providing new books and other media worth 20,000-30,000 Euros every year. Thus the library is kept constantly up-to-date. Twenty-five volunteers from many nations assist the librarian at the check-out counter and in the office. In addition, the Friends organize conversation groups, readings and other cultural events. Since the opening, thousands of readers from Karlsruhe and beyond have registered for cards.


Membership in the Friends of the American Library


The annual membership fee of

  • EUR 25.- for adults
  • EUR 37.50 for couples
  • EUR 12.50 for students
  • EUR 50.-  for "legal entities" (firms, clubs, etc.)
is used exclusively for the support of the American Library. In recognition of their contribution the City of Karlsruhe allows all members of the Friends' organization to obtain cards for the entire public library system free of charge.

In addition the Friends receive a mailing three times a year with news about the library and reminders of upcoming events.

Membership forms are available at the check-out counter or can be requested per phone (0721/72752) or fax (0721 7908806).