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The Identity of the Contemporary Public Library

 | 
Margarita Pérez Pulido
, 
Maurizio Vivarelli

Introduction

Margarita Pérez Pulido et Maurizio Vivarelli

Texte intégral

1This volume publishes the proceedings of the conference “L’identità della biblioteca pubblica contemporanea. Principi e metodi di analisi, valutazione, interpretazione = La identidad de la biblioteca pública contemporánea. Principios y métodos de análisis, evaluación, interpretación”, which was held in Turin on 14th December 2014, and it was promoted by the Dipartimento di Studi storici of the Università di Torino and by the Facultad de Ciencias de la Documentación y la Comunicación of the Universidad de Extremadura, under the patronage of SISBB – Società Italiana di Scienze Bibliografiche e Biblioteconomiche, and with the cooperation of the Sezione Piemonte of the Associazione italiana biblioteche.

 

2The idea of this conference was sparked by the presence in Turin of Margarita Pérez Pulido as visiting professor from September to December 2014. This opportunity favoured first of all the organisation of the conference, in which both Italian and Spanish scholars took part; in the following months the collaboration between the editors of this volume grew stronger. This was how the core ideas of a research project came into shape, as it was promoted, alongside the two afore-mentioned Universities, also by the Universitat de Valencia. In keeping with this supranational and comparative perspective, we shall continue to work with the latter on the topic of public library identity, and on the principles and methods used to assess and interpret its nature, a complex one for historic, social, economic, epistemological, as well as methodological reasons.

 

3In the conference, whose proceedings are hereby presented, these subjects began to be tackled and debated, within the framework of the three sections the papers were delivered in. The first thematic section, History, Present and Future of the Public Library, comprised the contributions by Paolo Traniello, Margarita Pérez Pulido, Maurizio Vivarelli. To the second section, Models of Analysis, Measurement, Evaluation, belong the papers by Aurora González Teruel and Chiara Faggiolani. The overall title Complexity Challenges gathers the research results by Giovanni Solimine, Ernest Abadal, Giovanni Di Domenico and Alberto Salarelli. In the fourth section, Work in progress, are proposed studies by students (Maria Pagano) or recent graduates (Ilaria Giglio and Maria Maiorano). Finally, in the Appendix, the volume includes a brief selective bibliography on the identity of the public library, compiled by Maria Senatore Polisetti.

 

4The editors believe this volume, and the essays herein contained, may help further feed an already ample debate, in Spain, in Italy and in the better part of the rest of the world. The public library certainly was an institution and organisation which played a prominent part in 19th and 20th century European history. And still today it has its place in an extremely relevant field from the conceptual, metaphorical, symbolic and documentary standpoint, as it can be seen for instance in the countless plans for large public libraries both envisaged and rea-lised, whose often uncertain and problematic specific identity brings to the fore the tensions and torsions of a classical model spoiled by criticalities of different sort and kind.

 

5It is indeed for its relevance for socio-cultural as well as LIS studies, that we believe this subject to be rather interesting and topical, and thus we hope these early results may resonate with the different interest groups this book addresses, that is academic scholars, professional librarians, students from diverse educational paths.

 

6Turin – Badajoz, April 2016