Wednesday 5 August 2020

The precise date when the Library of the Serbian Chemical Society was founded is very difficult to define because there is no written document about it. According to a verbal statement of Prof.  A. Leko and other professors, the Library was founded on July 16th, 1934.  In"The Rules of the Chemical Society of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia" from 1935, article 11 reads: "that benefactors of the Society become those who subscribe, or in their wills leave money, property, estate, books or collections worth at least five thousand dinars, if the Presidency accepts the present." This can be taken as the beginning of the library fund. The oldest seal on the books, journals and monographs bears the inscription The Library of the Chemical Society of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the date on the seal is 1937. That is possibly the year when the first books were introduced into the inventory of the Library. That old inventory has unfortunately not been found, so these are only suppositions about when the Library began to exist.

Nowadays this Library is a real treasure of technical literature, either from the aspect of the historic development of chemistry in Serbia, or because of a great number of valuable and rare foreign journals.  The Library has been completely organised, it has all technical catalogues (topographic, alphabetical and UDC) and one can easily find the necessary information. Gradually 740 books were registered, the largest number of which are in Serbian, some in Russian, and a small number in German, French and English. 
The total fund of books was supplied either by way of exchange or received as presents from the authors or publishers. The oldest publication is from 1891, reprinted from Tezak, by Dusan M. Spasic, the author of Lectures on Hops. The oldest foreign publication is in French, a report entitled Rapport sommaire sur les relations entre le monopole de l'alcool et l'agriculture en Suisse by E.W. Miller,communicated at the Congress International d'Agriculture 1898, Lausanne. The books printed at the beginning of this century deal mostly with hygiene, agriculture, teaching and education, and have great historical significance for studying the health and hygiene situation in Serbia at the time. The most numerous books from that period are those written by Aleksa Stanojevic: Drinking-Water in Soko Banja (1908); Medical Circumstances in Serbia During the Reign of knjaz Milos Obrenovic 1815-1839; A Contribution to the Health Culture of Sremski Karlovci from 1772-1872; The Medical Situation in Zemun 1750-1900; Hamami (Turkish Public Baths) in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1462-1916; On Teaching and Education, (1913); Our Chemical Nomenclature, (1908).  Worthy of attention is also The Directory of Engineers and Architects Graduating from the Technical Faculty, University of Belgrade 1919-1938. Books in the Library published later in the thirties referred mainly to the study of certain diseases in Serbia (tuberculosis, the plague), to health education, hygienic conditions and health protection of the population. After the war, at the end of 1945, article 5 of the new Rules of the Society dealt with organising a technical library.  The book fund of that time contained a considerable number of books published by Nakladnl Zavod Hrvatske (the Publishing House of Croatia), such as for example, An Introduction to the Leather Industry (1947); The Technology of Resins (1947); The Dyeing and Printing of Textile Products (1948); The Beer Industry (1948); The Technology of Fuel; The Technology of Sugar; Copper; Synthetic Materials, etc.  From that. time there are a lot of textbooks for secondary schools, as well as for university studies. The increase in the number of books was more than 20 books a year; later the number was reduced to 10 books a year, and nowadays decreased to 5-6 books a year. However, apart from the valuable book fund which is valuable mostly as a survey of the historical development of chemistry in Serbia, the Library of the Serbian Chemical Society has a very rich fund of journals from all over the world, from China, Japan, India, the Soviet Union, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, France, England and North and South America.  All these journals are in the possession of the Library of the Serbian Chemical Society, and it is impossible to find them in any other library in Yugoslavia.  This fact makes the importance of these journals greater.  The journal inventory comprises 1440 bibliographic units, and there are 217 titles of foreign journals and 72 titles of domestic periodicals, that is, 22000 issues of journals.

The oldest foreign journal the Library has is from 1911, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and the oldest domestic one from 1927, the Archives for Chemistry and Pharmacy.  A larger number of journals were received after 1950, but the Library was given the most journals in the seventies.  At the time, through exchange, more than 70 titles of journals come to the Library from all parts of the world.  After this period the number of journals mainly constantly decreased: in the eighties 60 titles, in 1991- 44 titles, in 1992 - 24 titles, in 1993 - 19 titles, in 1994 - 25 titles, and in 1995 29 titles.  The Library was given journals even before the Second World War, but during the war years there was a break and the material that had been received was mostly destroyed in bombings, and many books were taken out of the country without permission, as in the case of the Library of the Faculty of Technology in Belgrade.

Apart from all this, the Library of the Serbian Chemical Society has managed to preserve the following important journals, some of which date back to the first year of publication, which represents a special value:

Abstracts of Bioanalytical Technology (from Vol. 1, 1953);
Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan (11, 1936);
Bulletin de l'Academie Polonaise des Sciences (1, 1953);
Chemicke Zvestl (8, 1954);
Collection of Czechoslovak Chemical Communications (1, 1929);
Godisnik na Hemiko-Technologiceskia Institut (1, 1954);
Hungarian Journal of Industrial Chemistry (1, 1973);
Indonesian Abstracts (1, 1958);
Industria i Quimica (Buenos Aires) (1, 1935);
Journal of Antibiotics (10, 1957);
Journal of the Indian Chemical Society (8, 193 1);
Journal of the Research Institute for Catalysis (4, 1956);
Memoirs of the Faculty of Science (1, 1949-1950);
Pakistan Journal of Science (9, 1957);
Periodica Polytechnica (1, 1957);
Journal of the Hindi Science Academy (1, 1958);
Revista Technologica-Habana (1, 1963);
Science Reports of the Research Institute of the Tohoku University (1, 1949);
Scientific Papers of the College of General Education University of Tokyo (1, 1951);
Vesnik Leningradskogo Universiteta (1956); Zurnal Neorganiceskoj Himii (7, 1962) etc.

It can be seen from the list that the Serbian Chemical Society has a modest (due to the circumstances in our country), but a valuable library.

However, a point of worry is the constant decrease in the annual income of books and journals, which has been particularly emphasised in recent years. At the beginning of the second hundred years of its existence, the Society has to face a difficult task - to renew the times when the increase was greater.

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