The Slowenischer Lesesaal (Slovene Reading Room) at the Steiermärkischen Landesbibliothek (Styria State Library) was established in June 2013. With a collection of over 2100 titles, including books by Slovene authors, foremost Slovene newspapers and magazines, and a number of German translations, the reading room is unique in Austria. Additionally, a selection of textbooks for Slovene as a foreign language is available for anyone with the requisite interest.
Events that take place in the reading room are such as to promote the Slovenian language and culture as well as to celebrate and strengthen the cross-border ties. These include guest lectures, public readings, film screenings, and concerts, featuring a host of acclaimed artists from all walks of life.
The events are organised in cooperation with several cultural and educational institutions: Pavel Haus, Der Artikel-VII-Kulturverein für Steiermark non-governmental cultural organisation, Institute for Slav Language and teh Slovenian language section at the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, in cooperation with the Centre for Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language, the University of Maribor Library and the Slovenian Culture and Information Centre, Vienna (SKICA).
Reading rooms played an important role in Slovene history and made an indelible contribution to the preservation and enrichment of Slovene culture. The opening of the reading room in Graz is no coincidence, as the city exerted a profound influence on Slovene culture, society, and education in the past. As early as 1810 Janez Nepomuk Primic founded in Graz the society of Slovene students Societas slovenica, and the following year the world’s first Slovenian chair at the Graz Lyceum (earlier and later the University of Graz) was established. Graz became in the 19th century an important centre for Slovenian studies, headed by such prominent scholars and professors as Gregor Krek, Karel Štrekelj, Matija Murko, Rajko Nahtigal, and Vatroslav Oblak. Eventually, the Slovene Reading Room was established in 2013 due to the efforts of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Vienna and the then Ambassador Aleksander Geržina, and Christoph Binder, Director of the Styria State Library.