On 31st March 2000, after due deliberation, the University of Urbino accepted Carlo Bo’s offer of the donation of his library.
The books and materials in the collection were scattered in his various homes (Milan, Sestri Levante and Urbino).
All told, the collection consists of almost 100,000 bibliographical items (monographs, periodicals, pamphlets, off-prints), documenting the enormously wide-ranging interests of its owner, and making it perhaps the largest private library in Italy.
The offer stipulated that the volumes to be put at the disposal of the public be inventoried and catalogued according to the scientific instructions of the “Fondazione Carlo Bo per la letteratura europea moderna e contemporanea” both for up-dating and to obtain the best possible preservation of the contents of the library.
Clause 2 of the Statute of the above foundation (“Fondazione Carlo Bo …”), approved by its members on 22nd February 2002, stipulates that the purpose of the library is as follows:
– To preserve and fortify Carlo Bo’s library through the addition of literary and historical archives of particular relevance;
– To encourage the study of modern and contemporary literatures and cultures;
– To facilitate, and to programme and carry out scientific research, in “direct collaboration” with the Università degli studi di Urbino and principal national and international institutions, both cultural and scientific.
In October 2001 the University advertised a competitive examination for five posts under contract for ‘co-ordinated and continued collaboration’, to set up catalogues, and to inventory and physically organise the bibliographical material. The posts were filled by young degree-holders in the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage (specialising in archives and libraries). Dott.ssa Anna Rita Berardi, who works in the library, was their co-ordinator.
The project for setting up the library was co-ordinated by Professor Giovanni Di Domenico.
This project rested on some preliminary decisions:
– Belonging to the SBN University/Province pole and adopting the SEBINA cataloguing system already in use at Urbino;
– Catalogue descriptions to include peculiarities of single items (dedications, annotations, enclosures, etc.);
– Careful documentation of the origin of enclosures to be added to the correspondence archive (letters, postcards, notes, etc.) while other types of enclosures (printed material such as newspaper cuttings and publishers’ receipts) to remain together with the volume concerned;
– Digital reproduction of the numerous autograph dedications in the collection by authors, publishers, friends and others This is to safeguard the originals, with a view to attributing their true worth to documentary traces which are at times literary texts in themselves, through which to establish connections of interest between important dedications and exponents of the Italian and European culture of Bo’s time;
– Predisposal of a plan of order and presentation of the collections, to account for a number of factors: the intellectual complexity of the donor, the purposes of the donation, the disciplines covered, the composite character of the library, its destination and growth;
– Identification of the solutions put forward most suitable for the preservation and safeguard of the patrimony.
Work on the library began in January 2002, in Palazzo Passionei Paciotti, and the library opened to the public for 18 hours per week in October 2004.
So far 65,000 items have been catalogued, comprising the literature section, which is almost entirely complete, and some further documents, all of which may now be consulted.
Traduzione a cura della Dott.ssa Angela Gibbon