The Marciana Library
The Marciana National Library, with its staff of one hundred, serves approximately 33.500 readers annually. In addition, 30.000 visitors attend exhibitions put on by the Sansovinian Library. During 1997, the Marciana provided readers access to 67.000 works for on-site consultation and furnished over 7.000 works to off-site readers through local lending services and national and international interlibrary loans. The Marciana Library is part of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attivitą Culturali, Ufficio Centrale per i Beni Librari, le Istituzioni Culturali e l'Editoria, whose General Director is Professor Francesco Sicilia.
With its 13.000 manuscripts, 2.884 incunabula, 24.000 sixteenth-century editions, 3.731 periodicals (of which 1.248 are current) and approximately 900.000 volumes, the Marciana represents an extremely complex organizational and managerial structure, one which is not limited to the distribution of its books but which meets the most varied needs. These needs range from requests for photocopies, microfilm, and photograph reproductions to information retrieval from CD-ROM and on-line databases ; from the knowledge of the materials kept in the library and dissemination of this knowledge through internal and external exhibitions to the conservation and preservation of the materials themselves ; from the cataloguing of new acquisitions and ancient collections to publishing studies of these same works in the magazine Miscellanea Marciana.
In addition, activity to promote the growth of the library's own collections enriches the Marciana's already vast patrimony by about 4,000 volumes annually. Manuscripts dealing with Venice and works of antiquity also continue to be acquired. The possibilities offered by new computer technologies are rapidly changing the face of the library and the Marciana has seen the importance of acquiring an ever-increasing familiarity with these innovative tools - tools that allow for more rapid and efficient management of the precious materials kept in the library and at the same time protect the original works from unnecessary use. For this reason, the Marciana National Library is likely to contain many surprises for the reader returning after a few years' absence: now a vast array of some of the most innovative and modern projects and computer-related initiatives are housed within Sansovino's noble and ancient architecture.
(after Annalisa Bruni)