Fons largus conference

The Library, regardless of how we understand this term - whether as an institution where professional librarians gather together to improve their art and skills, or as a carefully developed and shaped collection of valuable prints, drawings and manuscripts in which achievements of human thought and spirit are retained, consolidated and made accessible, or as a place dedicated to such a collection enclosed within architectural frameworks and filled with sophisticatedly arranged shelves - has always played a crucial role in the growth and evolution of culture.  Its permanent impact on human activity and tides of inspiration is usually taken for granted and has thus attracted little special attention or research.  However, without libraries, there would be neither knowledge nor science, neither codification of cultural achievements nor systematisation of human learning.  It would be hard to envisage any significant manifestation of artistic creativity or clarification of fine arts and architecture principles in a world impoverished by a lack of access to libraries and thus to the exhilarating ideas inspired by wide reading. This important function of a library’s collections was vital not only in the past but is still highly relevant today; it should be reviewed and analysed with the aim of enhancing and enriching its contribution to academic pursuits and research.

 

A wide circle of individuals representing various academic centres and disciplines of arts and humanities, eminent in their several fields, could usefully collaborate in reviewing and developing various aspects of the function and mission of academic and research libraries. They could consider factors such as: the significance of the professional competence of librarians; the wealth and adequacy of library collections which form a sphere of experience for the humanities; the design of library collections, services and functions which has, does and will best serve the development and growth in the arts and humanities.                

 

            Several questions of particular interest arise:

 

- If or in which way might libraries stimulate and give direction to the development of particular branches of the humanities and interpretative trends?

- Does the concept - derived from interpretations of the ancient Alexandrian Library and  Mouseion - of the library as a centre of studies still have relevance today or is it an anachronism?

- What was the role of historic libraries collected by writers, philosophers, historians and art historians and what is their relevance to today’s research?  What scientific results can we achieve thanks to their reconstruction or by using current advanced techniques and methods of copying and retaining?

- What was the significance and influence of library collections on the spiritual shaping, on the forming of personality and on the development of creativity in scholars and artists?  What has been the impact of libraries and available writings on artistic creativity and how should we recognise, examine and describe it?

-  What has been and what is now the relevance of the architectural framework and the design of library space?  Should they closely reflect the specific nature and characteristics of the collections they house or can they differ in character and design?                                                                                    

 

            Such questions led the organisers to devise the following topic sessions:

           

 

 
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