The library was the room where Goethe’s father worked and studied. Here he stored the most valuable part of his book collection, which consisted of around 2000 volumes. Johann Caspar Goethe, who was able to live as a man of independent means due to his rich inheritance, had a well-rounded education and also wanted to give his children a good education. He sent them to public school for only one year during the renovation – otherwise he instructed them himself or hired private tutors. The lessons probably took place here in the library. The curriculum included first and foremost languages – Latin, Greek, later at the request of Johann Wolfgang even Hebrew, as well as French, Italian, and English. He also learned Yiddish. A German-Latin workbook of the 8-year-old Johann Wolfgang, the Labores juveniles, has survived. But the curriculum also included subjects like geometry, geography, history, natural history, calligraphy, music, drawing, and manners.
Today the Freies Deutsches Hochstift possesses a public library with a main focus on the literature of 1740–1840, and consists of around 130,000 volumes.
He [Goethes father] had the beautiful Dutch editions of the Latin authors, all of which he tried to get in quarto format to make their appearance uniform. He also owned many works dealing with Roman antiquities, and law books of the more elegant sort. The principal Italian authors were not lacking: Tasso was his favorite. The best of the new travel books were there too, [...]. He had also surrounded himself with the most necessary study aids – dictionaries of various languages and encyclopedias that one could consult at will, as well as many other useful and entertaining works.
Goethe: From My Life. Poetry and Truth, part 1 , book 1