Vasa svenska lyceum library, including the Oskar Rancken Collection gives an idea of the education culture of the Ostrobothnia region over four centuries.
The collection forms a cultural historically significant heritage and works as an example of a scientific library of its time. The collection consists of two separate collections: the school library and the private library of head master Oskar Rancken.
The school library consists of 700 shelf-metres of books from the libraries of the Wasa trivialskola (1684–1841), the Högre elementarskolan i Wasa (1841–1872), the Wasa gymnasium (1844–1872), the Elementarläroverket i Vasa (1872–74) and the Vasa svenska lyceum (1874–1974).
In particular, the Wasa gymnasium library was born as a common cause for the whole of the Ostrobothnia region, augmented with the help of book collecting and donations from the gentry and clergy. During the Vasa fire in 1852, most of the school’s 7,000 books were destroyed, but 1,015 books remain. After the fire, the whole region started to support the library, and a new school library was formed from additional donations.
The Wasa gymnasium library contains valuable literature on various topics, with the main focus on classical languages and theology. The oldest books date from the beginning of the 16th century, and the collection contains many rare books and unique older first-edition scientific and theological works. The collection contains printed works from the first printer in Finland, Peder Wald, and from the printers named Londicer who operated in Vaasa. The collection contains books from famous publishers such as Aldus Manutius, Plantini and Elzevier. There are 80 titles in the library from the Läse-Bibliotheket i Wasa library (1794–1845), which is considered Finland’s first public library. In addition, the collection contains papers from Turku Academy, volumes of journals and magazines as well as various small printed works.
The private library of head master Oskar Rancken (1824–1895) forms its own collection. The Rancken Collection includes rare books, manuscripts, papers and small printed works. The manuscript collection which includes correspondence of the Rancken family and collected Finnish-Swedish folklore, has been preserved and catalogued.