Library's goal and purpose
The Dagsbrún Library is a specialized collection of material on the Icelandic labor movement, as well as a general academic social science collection and a reference library for the Reykjavík Academy.
The library’s goal is twofold. On one hand it is to take care of and make available, a collection of resources on the political and labor history as well as the labor movement in Iceland and with that promote research on those subjects. On the other it is to serve academics, scholars and others who find the library’s collection to be of interest.
The library has well over eight thousand titles that have been catalogued in Gegnir, an Icelandic union catalog for libraries, and made searchable in Leitir.is. Almost all of the library's original holdings have now been processed, though a few pamphlets and propagandistic works remain. The heart of the library's collections are newspapers, periodicals, books, and other material connected with the labor movement. But the scope of the collection is really somewhat broader than this and the library has a good general collection of material on Icelandic society in the twentieth century.
Among other holdings are the newspapers Alþýðublaðið and Þjóðviljinn, the main Icelandic newsletters and periodicals from the late 19th century up into the 20th century, the government periodicals Alþingistíðindi and Stjórnartíðindi, and a large number of newsletters, brochures, and pamphlets from Icelandic political parties and the labor movement.
The collection's original nucleus was the personal library of Icelandic labor movement leader Héðinn Valdimarsson, and some of the material was originally owned by his parents, Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir and Valdimar Ásmundsson, including a collection of eighteenth-century works.
Twentieth-century books make up the largest part of the collection, and include both domestic and foreign titles that reflect the political history of the library. Among these are the complete works of various figures in Marxist philosophy.
The library has about 3,000 uncatalogued books, many of them in English, German, the Scandinavian languages, Russian and Esperanto and many but not all relating to the labor movement in countries outside Iceland. The library has created a simple list of these books on this website to allow scholars at least minimal access to them. Please contact the librarian if you are interested in looking at a book on this list or if you would like to have a book catalogued.
The library's collection of periodicals from the Icelandic labor movement is incomplete in parts and the library is interested in filling the gaps in its collection.