Fa un parell de setmanes el nostre blog es feia ressò de la visita de l’Aušra de Vilnius i de la Friederike de Berlín, i comentàvem com ens havia semblat profitosa la seva estada entre nosaltres. Avui podem dir que la segona experiència amb bibliotecaris Erasmus+ ha tornat a ser un èxit! La Sarah Cusk, del Lincoln College d’Oxford, i el Hannes Schwarzendorfer, de la Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg, es van mostrar en tot moment molt interessats per la feina que duem a terme al CRAI Biblioteca de Reserva, mentre que nosaltres vam constatar de nou l’interès de conèixer altres col·leccions patrimonials de la veu de qui hi treballa diàriament. Al capdavall, vam concloure que tot i formar part d’institucions i entorns ben diferents, els bibliotecaris de fons antic ens enfrontem a dificultats similars, i busquem solucions semblants per donar resposta al complex i meravellós món dels fons bibliogràfics històrics.
El millor, però, és que llegiu el balanç que van escriure ells mateixos l’últim dia de la seva estada a Reserva. Gràcies, Sarah i Hannes!
Neus, Marina and Gemma have asked us to say something about our week at the CRAI Biblioteca de Reserva – a task that turns out not to be so easy as we have had such a wonderful week and have so much to say! – The University itself is beautiful (and so different from the Northern European universities we both work at) and the collection is impressive but, to be honest, what has really struck us is the enthusiasm and energy of the team here.
In the course of this week we have discovered that we both formed the same impression of the team from their on-line presence: with the blog and other social media activity, the provenance and printers´marks databases, the digital collection and the quality of the cataloguing we were sure the department must be much bigger than it actually is. We have both been impressed with the range of projects done by the team, their innovative approach to working with early printed material and their passion for their work. Like any collection of rare books, this one presents its challenges (like Aušra we were both struck by the amount of històric insect damage!) but the team doesn´t seem to be overwhelmed. And we both hope that this is something we will take away with us and bring to our own work.
We both come from rather diferent institutions (Hannes works at a modern university library with a collection of 120,000 early printed books and Sarah at a small Oxford college founded in 1427 with a collection of only 14,000) and it has been interesting and productive to be able to compare how things are done in different institutions and, of course, in different countries. We have both come to realise how much we work in a single language (or cultural) environment and this week has given us a sense of how much we miss by doing this. We both feel that going forward in our own work we want to take advantage of the resources being produced in libraries outside our own countries. We have also been thinking about how libraries like the Biblioteca de Reserva can make their collections better known outside their own country. In this digital age it must surely be possible to create virtual communities of rare books libraries and librarians. We will be doing our bit when we get back to work to publicise the work that is being done here in Barcelona!
This week we have learnt a lot about the collection here at the CRAI Biblioteca de Reserva but we have also learnt a lot about Barcelona and Catalan history. A highlight of our week was our visit to the Pavelló de la República, the University of Barcelona´s library of 20th century Spanish political and social history. Lídia Martínez Altarriba was an inspiring guide to the collection and the history it represents and we can’t thank her enough for the time she took to introduce us to this fascinating library and the building that houses it. Another highlight was our visit to the restoration workshop – thank you to Montserrat Florensa for a really interesting look at the work you are doing there.
Finally a very big thank you to Neus, Marina and Gemma for a truly wonderful week.