On May 15, 1815, a novelty emerged in the cultural landscape of Timisoara: the opening of the first public library, that had a reading room and also the possibility of lending the books, from Banat and the entire Habsburg Empire. The library contained around 4,000 volumes, with works in German, French, Latin, Hungarian, etc., listed in a catalog published a year later. Access to volumes was based on a monthly subscription of 2 florins, or annually, of 25 florins. For each borrowed volume, a 5 florins guarantee was retained.

The founder of this library was Josef Klapka (1796-1863), a journalist and librarian, the son of Karl Klapka, a Czech pharmacist, moved to Timişoara in 1788 from Bohemia (today's Czech Republic, it was then a country in the Habsburg Empire). The library functioned under the administration of Josef Klapka for 16 years and was based in the building where today the Timis County Department of Culture and National Patrimony, the Pigmalion Gallery and the Timis Branch of the Romanian Order of Architects reside on Augustin Pacha Street, no 8.

The second son of Karl Klapka, Josef, was the first typographer from Banat. Following his marriage to Terezia David, the widow of Ludwig Jonas, he gets the printing press, one of the most important printing presses in Hungary. After an unsuccessful period but a time when he gained experience, in June 1809, Klapka requested to the authorities to get permission to retrieve the war news in a newspaper called "Tagsbericht". Although he received permission and the newspaper had a good spread, it ceased to appear with the outbreak of war that same year.

Thanks to his press work and to the success of his printing house, Klapka reaches a very good material situation and a respectable social position, occupying even the position of mayor of the city for 14 years between 1819-1830. He represented the interests of Timisoara on several occasions in the Budapest Parliament, and from the position of mayor he introduced an ingenious tax collection system, he supported the digging of a 4 kilometer long sanitary canal and the systematization of the street network. After entering the political life, Klapka neglects his job, almost going bankrupt. To save his fortune, Klapka sold his printing house to Beichel in 1830. In old age he retired to Arad, where he died at the age of 77.


  • Premieres and priorities of Timișoara, Ioan Haţegan and Maria Carmen Pîrșe; page 94
  • Memory and Cultural Diversity in Timișoara - Craftsmen to Remember, Smaranda Vultur, Vlad Colar, Thomas Remus Mochnacs, Gabriela Panu; page 245
  • Premises, Genesis and Evolution of the German Language Press in Banat between 1771-1867, Ciprian Glăvan - The Annals of Banat XIX 2011; pages 362-363
  • Timișoara - Historical monography, Nicolae Ilieșu; page 245