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Message from the Director

João Gouveia Monteiro

Dear Reader,

The General Library of the University of Coimbra is the richest university library within the Portuguese-speaking world, and one of the most beautiful and prestigious libraries worldwide. It currently comprises two buildings: the Library of King João V of Portugal (known as Joanina), built in 1728, and the main building, which became fully operational in 1962.

Our library has under its care a vast collection of nearly two million items, made up by several different kinds of documents, such as manuscripts, maps, periodicals, and books, some of which inestimable in value. Our services, which are mainly oriented to the academic community, are spread across multiple reading areas (some restricted to researchers). We also offer an inter-library loan service (ILL), providing our readers with access to works located in similar academic institutions, both national and foreign.

In keeping with the University’s broader objectives, the General Library is focused on continuously improving its procedures, so that it can provide its readers easier access to the books and documents they are looking for. In order to do so, the Library is interested in any and all feedback and suggestions from its users that may help improve how it functions.

Following all the honourable fellow colleagues who occupied this position before me (Luís Mendonça de Albuquerque, Aníbal Pinto de Castro, Carlos Fiolhais and José Cardoso Augusto Bernardes, in the last 40 years alone), I also declare myself fully committed to maintaining and increasing this institution’s prestige and efficiency. To that end, I am counting on the help and collaboration of all diligent, competent employees who work here every day.

For the present quadriennal (2019 - 2023), the General Library will focus particularly on five main goals: i) promoting books and reading habits among young people; ii) stimulating intercultural and interreligious dialogue; iii) restoring our musical manuscripts and collections/archives, with a view to further articulation with research as well as education; iv) promoting research concerning the University of Coimbra, in general, and our libraries, in particular; v) improving the public service we provide, emphasising a smooth and fruitful link between the analogue and digital domains.

Though well aware of some circumstantial and structural limitations, but with an honest sense of welcome, I hereby make myself available to whatever you may think necessary, always with renewed hopes that this Library you chose to work with may correspond to your needs and aspirations.

Kindest regards,

João Gouveia Monteiro

(Director of the General Library)