Library of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

The Biblioteca de Catalunya is a Catalan institution whose main mission is to form the Bibliography Catalana with the acquisition of the bibliographic collections printed in Catalonia.

It was created in 1907 as a library of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. It was opened to the public in 1914, in the days of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya at its headquarters in the Palau de la Generalitat. Its current director is Eugènia Serra. In 1931 it occupied a large part of the buildings of the old Hospital de la Santa Creu de Barcelona, a whole of the fifteenth century, owned by Barcelona City Council.. The Library currently occupies a total area of 8,820 m², has a fund of approximately three million copies, and apart from the headquarters it has other external premises, in Barcelona itself and in Hospitalet de Llobregat. In 1981, the Library of Catalonia became a national library of Catalonia, in accordance with the Library Law approved by Parliament, and as such assumed the reception, conservation and dissemination of the Legal Deposit of Catalonia. It receives funds from Enric Prat de la Riba, Marià Aguiló, Jacint Verdaguer, Isidre Bonsoms, Joaquim Furnó, Eduard Toda, among others.

It currently has 1,500 linear meters of free-access shelving, with 20,000 volumes, and 49,000 more meters of storage, and about 3 million documents.

The current headquarters of the Library of Catalonia is located in a building Gothic of Century XV that was formerly the headquarters of the Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona. In this building, between 1401 and 1926, the general hospital of the city of Barcelona was located. It was created with the purpose of bringing together the different hospitals in the city so far in one building.

The first stone was laid in 1401 in the presence of King Martin the Humane. The cloister, part work of Guillem Abiell, was planned around a grandiose building, with two-storeyed buildings, according to a well-known eastern model. In the first phase, the three low-rise buildings of the east, north and north, the upper nave and the north of the north were built. It is thought that – possibly – initially the Hospital was designed with four enclosed spaces, but the various modifications eventually resulted in a U-shaped construction, substantially enlarging the spaces to the street of the Hospital.

In 1414 the first phase of work was completed, which was resumed a century later, with the use of a more refined construction technique. Major changes were made to the building during the 16th century: the two monumental stairs were built, water was channeled to the enclosure, and in 1518 the large plateresque door on Hospital Street was replaced. ‘entrance by the street of the Carme and that would close the hospital enclosure between the two streets.

The Gothic chapel on Hospital Street, built in the 15th century, used the buildings of the old Colom Hospital. A 15th-century house attached to the building on the eastern side with flaming portico housed the old Hospital archive. On March 25 of 1629 began to build, attached to the north wall of the hospital, convalescent House (now Institute of Catalan Studies), the works of which were completed in 1680, the same at which time he came under the invocation of St. Paul. In 1703, Antoni Viladomat i Manalt, one of the most prominent Catalan baroque painters, paints the chapel of Sant Pau, in this building. In 1764, in front of the convalescence house, the College of Surgery (now the Academy of Medicine) was built, by Ventura Rodríguez. In 1926 the old building was purchased by the City Council, which began rebuilding it. The third June of 1931 was declared a Historic Artistic Monument of National Interest. Jordi Rubió i Balaguer was in charge of studying the new library organization in this Gothic building. It was in 1936 that the first consultation room, known as the Cervantina Room, was opened, but the Spanish Civil War soon broke out and the project was not completed. At the end of the war, the library was closed. In 1940, with a new director, Felipe Mateu i Llopis, it reopened as the Library of Catalonia’s headquarters.

During the last years of the twentieth century the building underwent a major architectural remodeling, as four underground storeys were built – to cover 40 kilometers of shelving – and an annexe building.

The Biblioteca de Catalunya was created in 1907 by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (IEC), founded by the president of the Diputació de Catalunya, Enric Prat de la Riba. It was located at an angle of the historic Palau de la Generalitat. It was created with the name of Library of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans.

Its aim was to form a collection that collected the fundamental pieces of the Catalan bibliographic heritage. At the same time, a series of collections of exceptional artistic, scientific and literary interest were acquired that gave the Library the character of a universal research center. The bulk of the origin of these funds was civil society. This is an atypical case, as the vast majority of national libraries in the rest of Europe are the result of a transformation of royal libraries, monasteries, or private collections. In the case of Catalonia, this is a library created from scratch by civil society.

In 1914, the Mancomunitat of Catalonia grants the Library the character of a public cultural service, which is why it opened access to researchers and scholars in the country, and also named the institution’s first director: the philologist and professor of Library Science Jordi Rubió i Balaguer. In 1917, the Printed Reservation and Special Collections, and Music sections were created, which favored the incorporation and cataloging of important pieces and heritage collections. Shortly afterwards, in 1923, the Section of Prints, Prints and Maps was formed, where graphic material was collected, and from which the collection oflargest engraving matrices in Spain. In December 1922 the Library already has 72,000 registered works and more than 100,000 volumes. Until 1940 it was headquartered in the current Palau de la Generalitat.

It is open from ten in the morning to one in the afternoon and from five in the afternoon to eight in the evening, and to access it you must have a renewable card every year. It has organized a loan service that allows you to carry out five works for a fortnight, after having paid a guarantee of 20 pesetas.

The Biblioteca de Catalunya is governed by a board of trustees, composed of the President of the Commonwealth, the President and the Secretary-General of the IEC, a representative from each of the three sections of the IEC, an inspector named by the IEC, a representative of the Mancomunitat and another of the City Council of Barcelona. Isidre Bonsoms and Rafael Patxot also take part as donors from the Library archive. The director of the Library acts as the secretary of the board of trustees.

Transfer and Franco
In 1930, Jordi Rubió saw the need to move to a larger space, such as the old Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona. In 1931, the Barcelona City Council (still with the Mayor de Güell) approved the cession of the building as the Library’s headquarters, but not until the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1940, that the institution, now renamed by the Franco regime as a Central Library, completed the transfer.

The historical and political events of the 20th century changed the character of the Library. The first change was during the Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, and the second and most important was in 1939 when Rubió i Balaguer, the founding director, was purged and stripped of his post and a period began that transformed the institution into a library without Catalan political orientation. During these years of economic hardship, the center only increased the shortcomings of public and / or university libraries, and could only expand its bibliographic heritage through donations from private collectors and publishers.

National Library
In 1981 the Library of Catalonia became a national library of Catalonia, according to the Library Law approved by Parliament. This law granted the Library of Catalonia the status of a national library and attributed it to the receipt, conservation and dissemination of the Legal Deposit of documents printed in Catalonia, a role that was reinforced by the Law on the Library System of Catalonia, approved in 1993. Since 1994 it has been structured into four major units: the Bibliographic, the Graphic, the Newspaper and the Fonoteca.

Digitization and future projects
In 1998, the Library renovated the Gothic buildings and expanded its space, thanks to the construction of a new service building.

In the 2000s it began to digitalize its holdings in a commitment to access through information technology. She is also currently collaborating on the Europeana project, on the digitalization of European cultural heritage.

In 2012, the institution’s budget was 8,165,578 euros, 36% less than in 2008. At the beginning of 2013 it had about 350,000 documents in the pending catalogs. Within the institution’s strategic commitments, there is a clear commitment to digitalisation, an increase in the rate of equity acquisition and the growth of its collection. They also request the City Council of Barcelona to move the Escola Massana to another building to gain space and bring together the various work teams that have scattered around Barcelona.

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The bottom of the Library of Catalonia is composed of about four million documents in various formats: books, magazines, newspapers, manuscripts, engravings, maps, scores, sound and audiovisual recordings, CD-ROM and others.

Since the adoption of the Law on Libraries in 1981, it has collected those printed and registered material with a legal deposit from all over Catalonia. In addition, since its inception, a program has been expanded to expand collections, with documents and libraries from various sources, both private and institutional.

The Library of Catalonia houses an outstanding collection of documents, ranging from medieval manuscripts to letters and writings by various prominent personalities of the 20th century. Among the most outstanding documents are:

The Homilies of Organyà
The Book of the order of cavalry by Ramon Llull
Provencal and Catalan songwriters (14th-15th centuries)
Chronicle of Bernat Desclot
Baron de Maldà’s Travels (18th Century)
Ode to the mother country, by Bonaventura Carles Aribau (1833)
Atlantis and other originals by Jacint Verdaguer
Manuscripts of the main Catalan authors of the twentieth century (Eugeni d’Ors, Carles Riba, Josep Carner, Josep Maria de Sagarra, Josep Pla, Néstor Luján, Maria Mercè Marçal and Jaume Fuster among others.
Collections of autographs
Noble, commercial and institutional funds (Fund of the Board of Trade, Erasmus Fund of Gònima, Fund of the Marquis of Saudín

A donation by Felip Pedrell to the Biblioteca de Catalunya in 1917, together with the Carreras Dagas collection, constituted the genesis of the Music Section of the Library.

In this section there are several documents of historical and heritage value grouped with the name of Music Reserve. This collection contains manuscript and printed works, music literature, music treatises, scores of dozens of authors of all eras and styles, and an important discography. In this collection stand out a series of manuscripts with aquitana and catalan notation dating from the tenth century. Also highlights the collection of liturgical manuscripts, polyphony of Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova, compositions of Catalan Baroque, oratories, dances.

Within this reserve fund are the personal archives of outstanding musicians, musicologists and composers such as Isaac Albéniz, Frederic Mompou Higini Anglès, Josep M. Lamaña and various interpreters such as Anna Ricci and Marcos Redondo. He also holds the record collections of Ricard Gomis, Oriol Martorell, Jaume Baró, Conxita Badia, Turull, Daniel Blanxart, among others.

Printed reservation
The Printed Book Section, established in 1917, houses the rare, valuable, precious and ancient books, including the incunabula. It is divided into two large groups:

the Catalan Reserve (Aguiló Reserve)
the General Reserve (specialized in Gold Century books)

The Cervantina, Verdagueriana, Bonsoms Brochures, as well as those of Prat de la Riba, Santiago Espona, Valentí Almirall, Rull, Torres Amat, Bulbena, Pedro Pons, Elzeveriana, Sant Joan de la Creu, Toda, the Verrié, the book of small format, the mythological one, the one of the French Revolution and the Human rights or the one of Single sheets, among others.

Prints, drawings, maps and photography
The graphic collection of the Biblioteca de Catalunya covers from the sixteenth century to the present and is preserved in a variety of media, which can be posters, prints, drawings, photographs, ex-libris, antique engravings, calcographic plates, matrices woodcuts, lithographs, maps, programs and leaflets, among others.

Matrices: The collection of matrices, with approximately 12,000 units, is one of the most important in Spain
Prints: Prints of dozens of artists are kept. Highlights are unique works by authors such as Piranesi, Goya, Lluís Rigalt, Marià Fortuny, Apel•les Mestres, Francesc Casanovas, Maillol, Ramon Casas, Triadó, Joaquim Renart, Picasso, Sunyer, Pau Roig, Opisso, Apa, Lluís Jou, Obiols, Vila-Arrufat, Max Ernst, Tanguy,Dalí, Miró, Oriol Maria Diví, Subirachs, Antoni Tàpies, Barbarà, Uclés, among many others. It also has collections of prominent engravers such as the Abadal, Jolis, Furnó, Ismael Smith, Marlet, Ollé Pinell, Miciano or Jaume Pla. There are also many collections of printed graphic material, including drawings, illustrations, aqueques, gigs (about 30,000), romances or thousands of small prints, among which there is a rich collection of exhibition catalogs. of painting and sculpture of great documentary value for the knowledge and study of the history of contemporary Catalan art.
Maps: This section preserves more than 5,000 maps, as well as the collection of more than 4,000 pieces by Mossèn Colomer, considered the best collection of Catalan maps formed by an individual. Noteworthy is a portolà by Jaume Vallseca from the 15th century, deposited at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona.
Photography: Keep photographs from the late nineteenth century, which highlights the collection of Josep Blanch Salvany, 10,000 images scenic and popular culture of Catalonia and elsewhere. Also noteworthy is the collection of Editorial Martín, with some 13,000 black and white photographs from various Spanish provinces.

Hemerographic reservation
The Library maintains a journalistic collection of the most complete in Catalonia. One is grouped in the Reserve of the Newspaper library. She is also the depositary of the Joan Givanel Press Collection, and collects collections of newspapers and publications such as La Veu de Catalunya, El Telégrafo, El Diluvio or El Poble Català; The Noy of the Mother; The Avens, among many others.

Sound and audiovisual heritage
The library of the Library of Catalonia consists of 400,000 audio and audiovisual documents, organized into two sections: Old Recordings and Modern Recordings. The collection is kept in different formats: wax cylinders, piano rolls, 8-track cartridges, Berliners, open coils, 33, 45 and 78 rpm discs, cassettes, CDs, videos, DVDs… evolution of sound and audiovisual media from their origins to the present day.

Noteworthy is the collection of Radio Barcelona, which was released in 1994, with 112,000 records and 8,000 sound coils, and the Audiovisual Archive of Poets, produced by the Collegial Writers ‘ Association of Catalonia.

Other collections unique
Frederic Marès Book Museum: This space houses the Frederic Marès collector’s bibliographic collection, composed of more than 1,500 documents of various types, incorporating codices, manuscripts, parchment fragments and paper. It is located in the old room of Via Crucis, presided over by a Gothic altarpiece with the image of Ramon Llull.
Joan Maragall Archive: It is a documentation center that gathers an important documentary collection on the figure and the work of the poet and the whole of Modernisme. It is located at the last residence of Joan Maragall, at 79 Calle Alfonso XII in Barcelona, in the district of Sarrià – Sant Gervasi. It is a reserve section of the Biblioteca de Catalunya and is open to researchers and scholars of the poet’s work. It is also a museum house that shows the interiors of the residence and can be visited in groups or individually.

The Biblioteca de Catalunya is a reference center for researchers, professionals and citizens in general, becoming a scientific authority related to the Catalan bibliographic heritage. The institution provides professional advice on various issues related to the bibliographic heritage:

General and specialized bibliographic information
Consultation of the digitalised collections
Background consultation on any physical support
Booking of documents through the web page
Reproduction of documents in paper or digital format
Interlibrary loan
Loan of documents for exhibitions
Personal Loan (restricted)
Loan of laptops for research purposes.
Training of users
Resource guides
Assignment of spaces for events
Open Day (St. George’s Day)
Temporary exhibitions, conferences and presentations
Editions and publications