On April 10, the National Central Library held a book donation ceremony for precious books from the family of Austrian sinologist Professor Otto Ladstätter (1933-2005). Family representative Professor Markus Ladstätter, and his daughter, came from Austria to attend this extraordinary event. Intimates of Professor Ladstätter, who made the donation, were invited to the ceremony: Fr. Luis Gutheinz of Fun-jen Faculty of Theology of St. Robert Bellarmine, Director Dr. Mei Tin Huang, Monumenta Serica Sinological Research Center (MSSRC), Fu-jen Catholic University, and many other scholars and experts were present to pay witness to the event.
Delivering remarks, National Central Library Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng first expressed her gratitude to the Ladstätter family for donating the books to the library. She also thanked the family representatives Professor Markus Ladstätter and his daughter for traveling all the way to Taiwan for the occasion. After the books (over 6,000 volumes in total) arrived in Taiwan on July 19 for relevant processing, there were seen to be about 150 rare books of over 100 years old. The oldest book was published in 1834. These rare books will be held in the collection of the Special Collections Division and are expected to be digitized and available to readers for online reading. Another 1,716 volumes have been displayed in the National Central Library’s Matteo Ricci & Pacific Studies Reading Room for readers to borrow. The remainder of the books and materials will also be made available one after the other for readers to borrow in the future. Director-General Tseng also once again thanked Fr. Luis Gutheinz and Director Dr. Mei Tin Huang for initially accepting appointment by the museum to contact and hold discussions with the family of Professor Otto Ladstätter, and facilitate the donation of the books to the National Central Library.
Invited to deliver remarks, Professor Ladstätter expressed his gratitude to Director-General Tseng for organizing this book donation ceremony for his father. He also recalled that when Fr. Luis Gutheinz discussed donating the books to the National Central Library with him a few years previously, it was because he felt that Taiwan was a major center for research in sinology, and the library had established a Center for Chinese Studies which contained many sinological resources, that he made the joint decision with his family to proceed with the donation. In particular, Professor Ladstätter gave an introduction to the life of his father: his journey of becoming a sinologist, and the areas covered by his work, including classical Chinese poetry, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Chinese novels of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His teaching focused on modern China, and modern Chinese; in research, he was revered as a pioneer in conducting research with scientific methods. Through photos and explanations, the distinguished guests and participants seemed to experience and pay witness in person to the rise of an important sinologist.
The library especially arranged for the guests to visit the collection and themed exhibition of Professor Otto Ladstätter’s donated books, and to attend the Special Collections Division and Matteo Ricci & Pacific Studies Reading Room. The family members were able to view the books of Professor Ladstätter once again, and were extremely gratified to learn that many readers will enjoy the opportunity to borrow them. The book donation ceremony came to a successful conclusion after this tour of the National Central Library.