Catalonian library system is on the road to a complete integration

Catalonian library system is on the road to a complete integration

This became a reality after the new region-wide catalogue Atena was launched

Catalonia now has a new Public Library System, which started operating on 18 March with the launch of the new region-wide catalogue called Atena. The news was presented by Àngels Ponsa, the regional Minister of Culture, who was at the municipal library of Corró d'Avall (a suburb of the city of Granollers), the most recently added facility to the library system.

Atena represents the merging of the previously existing catalogues, which existed in Catalonia, and as such becomes one of the largest of its kind in all of Europe, providing accessibility to books and other reading and viewing materials to all residents of the autonomous region no matter which locality they may inhabit.

An overall repository of 12.6 million documents

Creating the new platform was the result of a collaboration between the Library Services Management of the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Library Service of the Catalonian Department of Culture. It involved the joining of the two main catalogues that previously existed in the region.

The first, called Aladí (or Aladdin in English), served the libraries located in the Province of Barcelona, whereas the other, known as Argus, was accessible to the libraries in the provinces of Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and Terres de l’Ebre. In total, this meant combining the material collections of 429 libraries (12 of which are library buses).

This is not the final stage, but today Catalonia is taking an important step through its public library system. Both the Athena collective catalogue, which becomes one of the largest catalogues of public libraries in Europe, and the national interlibrary loan service, are inclusive instruments of interconnection, territorial balance and social justice, accessibility and progress,” declared Minister Ponsa on the occasion.

The interconnection she mentioned refers to the Public Library System which will now be accessible to all library users of Catalonia – reportedly 4 million cards have been issued there, with 900,000 users considered active (out of a population of about 7.5 million people). Readers will be able to order any reading material not available in their local library from another part of the region and will also be able to use any library with his/her card. Likewise, users will have access to the eBiblioCAT digital library.

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