Five million priceless books
Figures regarding the
National Central Library of Florence
by Silvia Messeri
1 million 200 thousand books from the library collection were damaged during the flood in 1966, including about 300.000 volumes from the Magliabechian collection, the collection of large books that were kept in the basements of the library, modern works and duplicates. The damaged material included about 20.000 newspapers and dailies, 10.000 magazines, 400.000 miscellaneous works, collections of posters, booklets and the catalogues, a total of about 8 million index cards.
Nearly 36.000 of the 52.000 books from the Magliabechian collection have now been restored; over 4.500 of the nearly 10.000 large books from the Palatine legacy have been restored while about 1.800 volumes and roughly one thousand miscellaneous works will be ready to be put back on the shelves by the end of 1996. 12.000 newspapers, part of the largest collection in Italy, have also been recovered.
The Library is used by about 700 people a day; its 90 km.of shelving contains about 5 million printed volumes, over 24.000 manuscripts, about 3.500 incunabola, 35.000 16th century editions, 120.000 periodicals and newspapers as well as over 1 million original letters and manuscripts. Moreover about 40.000 new editions, 13.000 of which are existing newspapers, arrive every year at the National Central Library of Florence.
-A network that links up 450 libraries
-A 280 year old history
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