Activities and Projects

After the closure imposed by the COVID-19 emergency, the Library reopened to the public on Monday, May 18th 2020 by applying a rigorous access protocol, whose planning was conceived with absolute respect for the health of users and staff. Although the opening hours have not changed, except for the closure required for the room sanitization from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., compliance with government safety provisions has required the reduction of study stations and the quota of entrances. Therefore an online booking system has been developed through moBi, the platform for managing and requesting volumes for consultation. In the reopening plan access and permanence were intended as aimed exclusively at consulting works and scientific documentation in paper format, and for this reason, already in the lockdown phase, the offer of electronic resources accessible also off campus was expanded through the OpenAthens service. Staff activities have been reorganized on the basis of the coexistence of smart working and face-to-face work. The emergency situation led to the strengthening of some activities, the weakening or suspension of others, as well as a certain creativity in the provision of services, in the idea of ​​a gradual release and a progressive increase in the same, where circumstances allow for it.

With the Parsifal Project the URBE Network wants to offer users a unique tool for accessing all catalogs of the Libraries of the Network, on the basis of an integrated information system. The shared catalog will best represent the documentary richness of the participating Libraries, integrating the considerable knowledge base represented by the set of bibliographic records present in the individual catalogs and enriching it with the new and evolving one generated by the Web.

The Ancient and Rare Fund of the Library represents one of the excellences of the Pontifical Gregorian Univerity. In order to preserve the rich collection of printed volumes and, at the same time, make it available to scholars, a working group has been set up with the collaboration of librarians, conservators and restorers united by passion and competence and, in January 2019, an internal laboratory was set up for conservation and restoration works on books and documentary materials in need of care. The project, undoubtedly ambitious, has made it possible to start a close collaboration between the Library and national institutes in charge of conservation, favoring the updating of internal staff, the evaluation of restoration interventions, and the adaptation to conservation standards and protocols for emergencies. The Lab makes use of the stable consultancy of professional restorers and has activated apprenticeships with Higher Education Institutes that take into account the students' technical and operational skills by contemplating the performance of different types of interventions, from simple dusting and safety to the implementation of complete restorations.

In October 2018 the Library joined the Beta Masaheft Project Manuscript of Ethiopia and Eritrea. This is a long-term project, funded by the Hamburg Academy of Sciences and coordinated by the University of Hamburg, with the aim of creating a research infrastructure on the manuscript tradition of Christian texts from the Ethiopian and Eritrean area. If the ultimate goal of the Beta Masaheft Project is to shed light on the history of Christian culture and its authors in the Ethiopian area, the description of manuscripts, accompanied where possible by the reproduction of the specimens, will make these texts available and studyable, with the aim of carry out the translation and critical edition. The Library participates in this important initiative with the nucleus of Ethiopian manuscripts that arrived with the big Vedovato Donation. The restoration of manuscripts, now completed, was carried out with minimal and targeted interventions; parallel to the restoration, the historical-artistic analysis and the cataloguing of the specimens were carried out. In the coming months, the Laboratory of Non-Destructive Analysis and Archaeometry of the Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering at Sapienza University will carry out the appropriate diagnostic investigations on some selected specimens. The Project, therefore, is configured as a study conducted by an interdisciplinary team and aimed at deepening the knowledge of rare and still little known artifacts.

The Project intends to enhance the Library’s Ancient and Rare Fund through a process that starts from the computerized cataloguing of works and volumes and reaches exhibition experiences, in order to start cultural processes and spread the knowledge of the history of Jesuit libraries.