Milan, the alarm of Sormani on the eve of Bookcity: "Collapse library system"

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TO Milan there is room for many things, but not for books. In fact, the library system of the Italian locomotive is collapsing. The alarm was raised by the union representatives of librarians who wrote to the mayor in recent days Giuseppe Sala, to the Councilor for Culture Filippo Del Corno, to the general manager of the Municipality and to the competent directorates.

The letter is clear. "We are writing to tell you the desperate situation in which both the deposits of the Central municipal library of Palazzo Sormani that the external ones, which serve the entire municipal library system ", reads the letter. In particular as regards Sormani, the unions highlight how “due to the now chronic lack of space of which the library suffers, the volumes have been crammed into all the available recesses, even in those that do not have the suitable microclimatic conditions for the conservation of paper material, such as damp cellars and boiling attics. In the cellar storage molds bloom and the falling of rubble occasionally occurs. The bookbinding deposit was flooded during the recent rains ”.

The book deposit of the mezzanine floor, then, "is saturated to the point that the latest acquisitions are placed on wheeled carts". While the cataloging, storage and covering offices are invaded by materials awaiting placement. "Also consider that in some places, including some open to the public (audiovideo hall), they are present manufactured articles in asbestos and artificial glass fibers in a form that is currently considered not dangerous but could soon become one, given the perishability and friability of these materials, which will therefore have to be removed ”, they add.

The situation of external deposits is also dramatic. "A few years ago the building in Via Deledda 16 was assigned to the library area, with the commitment of restructure and adapt it to use it as a single deposit for the Milanese library system. This commitment has never been maintained. It was possible to use the building only in small part, storing about 25 thousand volumes of Sormani, chosen among those less consulted, and 8000 of the Tobagi Fund, as well as 200 boxes of Cardinal Tettamanzi Fund and 500 of the Giancarlo Vigorelli Fund, awaiting approval and final placement. Now the municipality has put this building up for sale, and therefore will be cleared. However, there is no other space in which to place this material ".

The periodicals deposit of via Quaranta, then, is closed since 2016 due to compliance with the regulations, and "will still be closed for a long time" as important work still needs to be done to obtain the fire certification. The daily deposit of Viale Zara 100 is housed in an "exposed basement to flooding". That of books and periodicals in via Bezzecca – located in the basement of an elementary school – must be cleared for reasons of fire safety. Similar fate for the deposit of via Boifava, which must be evacuated to allow the restructuring of the property for the benefit of Teatro Railhiera.

And again, "the Children's Historical Fund has for years been boxed and best preserved in rooms adjacent to the Sant’Ambrogio Library, which will soon be sold to the Town Hall 6". While the redevelopment and extension works of the Calvairate Library "They cannot start due to the impossibility of emptying the library".

In short, "the situation is such that we risk not being able to buy new books for Sormani, not being able to accept donations (even if interesting), having to drastically reduce the number of subscriptions to magazines and newspapers". So “in the absence of large, modern spaces, equipped with all the certifications, and therefore usable immediately, yes prefigures paralysis and – potentially – collapse of the entire municipal library system ".

The director of the Municipality Library Area does not share the scenario. Stefano Parise, for which the problems are being resolved, as pointed out in Corriere della Sera. The union representatives, for their part, underline that they have "asked twice – first as delegates and then with the support of the RSU and all the trade unions present in the institution – a meeting on these and other problems, which have heavy impact on organizational structures, working conditions and services provided to users, receiving only partial and delayed answers and no convocation ". That this time has arrived instead. "We are aware of the problems, we are working on solutions, in all serenity we meet the unions shortly", explains thecouncilor Del Corno. Which set the date for the next one 22 November, shortly after Bookcity.


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