Tracking down texts that are hundreds of years old

Inquiring minds


Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here is one of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.


Q. I want a copy of a classic devotional text called “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas Kempis. How can I get it through your library?


A. If the library doesn’t own a book, we can always try to borrow a copy for you from another library system through a process called interlibrary loan. This process normally takes a week or more to fulfill. In the case of a classic historical text like this one, you also have another alternative.  

Works like “The Imitation of Christ,” which was originally written in Latin in the 15th century, are normally not covered by copyright. This means that they can be posted legally to the internet. If you don’t want to wait to get a copy of the book, search for the text online. Try Googling a search statement like this: “’Imitation of Christ’ PDF.”

In the case of a well-known text like this one, you will find many downloadable versions online.  

(Internet resources.)


Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 651-724-6001 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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