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Abstract

The first Sámi newspaper, Sagai Muitalæggje, was established in 1903, and in 1906 the first Sámi was elected to the Norwegian parliament. Through these two events, the Sámi (the indigenous population of Norway) had their own voice heard and achieved political influence in the public sphere for the first time. What was the role and significance of libraries in this process? Anders Larsen, the editor of Sagai Muitalæggje, and his friend Isak Persen, the first Sámi elected to the Norwegian Parliament, were students at Tromsø Teaching College, the highest academic institution in Northern Norway at that time. Anders Larsen and Isak Persen (later named Saba) borrowed 167 books from the school’s library collection during their two years at the school (1896-1898). Nearly one-third of their loans were novels with a radical political and social content connected to the "modern turn" in European literature. They also borrowed a lot of historical works describing and analyzing political revolutions and transformations in Europe. I have identified and categorized Larsen’s and Persen’s book loans at the college and I discuss the relationship between their reading “profile” and their careers as authors, editor and parlamentarian.

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