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Society of St. Charles Borromeo

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(Borro-Mäusverein).

A German Catholic association for the encouragement and diffusion of edifying, instructive, and entertaining literature. It was founded in Bonn, in 1845, by Franz Xavier Dieringer, one of the professors of the Catholic theological faculty at Bonn, August Reichensperger, and Freiherr Max von Loe. From the first the society placed itself under the protection of the episcopate. Cardinal Jobannes von Geissel, Cardinal Krementz, and Archbishop Simar did much to further its aims, and it gradually spread over the whole of Germany, so that by the middle of 1907 it had 145,250 members, who were grouped in 258 main societies and 3,247 branches. The administrative departmentand chief office are at Bonn. The society has 73 branches outside of Germany : in Belgium, 6; France, 2; Holland, 4; Italy, Luxembourg, 36; Austria, 6; Switzerland, 18. In 1906 its total income was $124,743, and its expenses, $123,174. In accordance with its by-laws the society seeks:

  • to send every year one book or several books as a gift to each of its members, the quantity of reading matter thus bestowed being dependent on the ability of the society and the amount of the annual subscription, as the dues vary from $1.50 to 75 or 38 cents a year;
  • to use the annual surplus in founding libraries (those thus founded numbered over 3,000 in 1904) and in the support of libraries ;
  • to aid workingmen's and people's libraries and those of asylums, hospitals, and other charitable or social institutions.
Formerly the society was able to supply its members with a large number of books at a reduced price which was often not more than two-thirds of the ordinary cost of the volumes. The society's catalogue for1906 contained over 10,000 titles of works which could be thus purchased. But since 1907 it has been obliged to abandon this branch of its activity on account of the position taken by the business union of the Germanbook-sellers. In the larger cities the society has opened free reading rooms for the use of the public in connection with its libraries. Since 1902 the society has issued a periodical; originally this publication was called "Borro-mäusblätter"; it now bears the name of "Die Bücherwelt".

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