A Greek word derived from Latin library, which arrived in Spanish as library. The first meaning included in the dictionary elaborated by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) refers to the entity dedicated to the purchase, safeguard, analysis, exhibition and loan of books and other types of documents.
For instance: “I’m going to go to the library to see if I can find the book they asked me to read at the faculty, “The library in my neighborhood has a great collection of children’s stories “, “I remember that novel, I read it a few years ago at the National Library”.
In a broad sense, it can be said that libraries are institutions that facilitate access to books. Beyond their basic function, these organizations can also keep other kinds of materials, such as historical documents, diaries, etc. It is also common for them to start cultural activities, such as book presentations, poetry readings, concerts and other proposals.
To be functional, a library must first have a collection of works, which can be formed from acquisitions or donations. Once you have this collection, you have to organize it so that the books can be easily found and made available to users. Finally, you must define its operation: there are libraries that only allow the reading of materials in their facilities, while others allow them to people take the works home and then return them.
Literature lovers not only want libraries to have a large selection of books, but also to offer them a pleasant environment to enjoy them. One of the buildings most beautiful in the world is that of the Royal Library of the Monastery of El Escorial, founded by Felipe II and created with the collaboration of various humanists of great importance who were looking for the perfect library.
In its impressive rooms you can see engravings, drawings, portraits, maps, replicas of animals and plants, instruments of science and astrolabe, among other elements that enrich the experience of readers. Visiting it is like traveling back in time, to a time when people seemed to have more time and predisposition to fill themselves with knowledge and travel to fantasy lands.
Although its traditional definition always refers to a building in which the books are housed, there are also so-called traveling libraries, cars of different types that carry books on public roads so that more people can access them. In this case there is greater versatility in the structure, since it can be a bus, a van or a car pulled by another vehicle.
The traveling library is an invention that aims to maximize access to the culture, in this particular case to books, to avoid that those far from the center or with reduced mobility are left without this very important ingredient of intellectual training.
As with academic music, literature suffers from that cliché that presents it as an elitist discipline, which requires certain knowledge to enjoy it; precisely, through movements such as the itinerant library, we seek to leave behind these ideas and show people that letters are for everyone.
Library is also the name of the furniture used to store books and the name of the set of plays held by an individual or a building: “When I graduated, my parents gave me a large oak library”, “I left the envelope in the living room, on the library”, “The Peruvian writer decided to donate his library to the school in his hometown”.