Visit to the Library of Mexico

It will always be significant to visit the Library of Mexico, located in the historic Plaza de la Ciudadela (where the so-called Decena Trágica (Tragic Decade) began) of this city. 

Visit to the Library of Mexico. Image: Proceso
Visit to the Library of Mexico. Image: Proceso

You will get to know the services it offers, enjoy the facilities and the five Personal Libraries that safeguard surprising collections.

Inaugurated on November 27, 1946, it was directed until his death by José Vasconcelos in 1959. Later, under the direction of María Teresa Chávez Campomanes, pioneer of library science, the open shelving service was established, which continues to operate to this day.

There was a period of closure due to Abraham Zabludovsky's extension of architectural restructuring. It was reopened in 1988 to be directed by the writer Jaime Garcia Tererés, who was in charge until 1996. From that date, the poet Eduardo Lizalde took over, who at the age of 90 works at the Centro Cultural y de Lectura, where new technologies and documentary organization have been introduced. From March 2019, the director is José Mariano Leyva Pérez Gay, writer, and researcher.

This century saw the incorporation of the Personal Libraries of the authors José Luis Martínez, Antonio Castro Leal, Alí Chumacero, García Terrés himself and Carlos Monsiváis.

The general room has 155 thousand volumes, classified by the Dewey system, which includes general works: Philosophy and Psychology. Religion and Theology. Social and political sciences. Language and Linguistics. Pure sciences (mathematics, biology, etc.) - Applied sciences: medicine, technology. Fine arts, games, sports. Literature, Geography, and History.

There is also the Children's Room, excellently equipped. In addition, the Room for the Visually Impaired with cutting-edge facilities.

The five Personal Libraries were built by various architects and each has its own artistic works.

The José Luis Martínez Library is made up of more than 94,867 bibliographic and newspaper materials on Mexican and universal literature, history, art, and reference works. It was designed by the architect Alejandro Sánchez. The work corresponds to the artist Betsabé Romero, titled A vuelo de tinta.

The Antonio Castro Real Library, designed by architect Bernardo Gómez Pimienta with artistic intervention by Alejandro Zermeño (The Three Methods of Creation), has 50,000,000 materials, collections on art history, music history, and Mexican history of the 19th and 20th centuries, in addition to works in Latin. Highlights include Mexican poetry, Spanish literature, more than 8,000 volumes written in French, and a splendid English-language collection.

The Jaime García Terrés Library is made up of 20,735 materials and has one of the most important collections of poetry. It has a section corresponding to German, Spanish, English, Italian, Mexican and Portuguese literature, as well as dictionaries and literary magazines. It was built by José Castillo Oléa and Saidee Springall, and Perla Krause's artistic intervention is called Tiempo sostenido.

The Biblioteca de Alí Chumacero was built by Jorge Calvillo and the work is by the ceramist Gustavo Pérez, a ceramic mural integrated with anchors to the wall. It has 46 thousand 54 materials, including books, pamphlets, and publications, as well as volumes of literature, history, anthropology, social sciences and some facsimiles of codices...

Finally, the Carlos Monsiváis Library is by Javier Sánchez Corral and the floor was made by Francisco Toledo, a marble floor; it is made up of 49,842 materials. Here you will find literature (stories, novels, plays, poetry) as well as an important collection of films, artistic photography and social sciences, and a wide collection of comic magazines.

All five are portraits of their owners, and have been equipped in such a way that users can consult them on the site, with an internet service to carry out research work.

The visit to the National Library confirms the words of Jorge Luis Borges: "I always imagined that paradise would be some kind of library".

Source: Proceso

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