About the Library
The Beer Stein Library (BSL) began its existence in late 1997 with the purpose of providing a central repository for information about the hobby of beer stein collecting, including scholarly articles and catalogs containing both photographs and descriptions of individual beer steins. Over the years the Library has grown to include two dozen such catalogs listing over 10,000 steins, with more than 25,000 photos, as well as the highly-regarded Westerwald Beer Stein Handle Gallery, an unparalleled manufacturer identification tool.
The End of an Era
The BSL was initially conceived by Frank Loevi, an avid stein collector since the mid-1980s. Since he began development of the Library some twenty years ago, Frank has been aided and abetted by literally hundreds of his fellow collectors, a number of whom have devoted substantial time and effort to specific projects and whose names can be found associated with those projects throughout the Library.
Sadly, nothing lasts forever, and Frank has recently concluded that such intensive support for the hobby he loves can no longer be sustained. The time has come for him to spend what remains of his retirement years traveling and enjoying other leisure activities with family and friends. That being said, he also recognizes that simply shutting down the BSL would result in the loss of a great deal of painstakingly compiled information, most of which cannot be found anywhere else and would therefore be lost to history.
In an effort to avoid that very real possibility, the BSL has been converted from a membership site, requiring annual dues, to a free site open to all interested parties, so that the problem can be more widely understood and appreciated. The free site will be maintained as such through December 31, 2018. However, ongoing development of the Library (new catalog listings, price changes, etc.) ceased as of September 30, 2017.
What Happens Next?
There is currently no plan for a post-2018 Beer Stein Library. At the very least, what the Library will need to survive is a new home, preferably within an institution able to commit to long-term maintenance and support. Ideally, a knowledgeable collector or two can also be found administer the BSL, so that its ultimately able to continue growing beyond its present state.
Suggestions as to how those objectives might be achieved before the Library is forced to shut down at the end of 2018 will be both welcomed and appreciated. If you think you can help, please send an email outlining your thoughts to [email protected].