ROME — The Salesian University (UPS) Rome installed a second robot in its state of the art hitech library, 8 June. The Chancellor of the University Fr Pascual Chavez along with Salesian General Councilor for Spain Fr José Miguel Nuñez Moreno who introduced Ruiz-Mateos family, the benefactor of the project, as well as the director of Roclass company which put up the robotic silo were present. No other pontifical university in Rome has such modern facility. The Administrator of Don Bosco Library Prof Devadoss Sagayaraj spoke to NewsGrab about the significance of the event.
What is the benefit of a second robot when there is one already?
The original project for the library envisaged two silos. Due to some difficulties, we did not manage to have both of them right from the start. At last we have the second sillo and robot now. The silo system is a modern, safer and more efficient way for archiving and researching books and journals. In a question of seconds, the robot can search vertically and horizontally the whole silo and bring the book you want and likewise it will place it back in no time. With the 2nd robot system, the original project is now completed.
What is the specialty of Don Bosco Library other than the second robot?
Other facilities we offer are: nine seminar halls with specialized sections where reading materials can be accessed directly and immediately for study and research. They are a sort of “little-libraries” within the Library wherein discussions and group studies also take place. Then, we have a few halls dedicated to certain individuals who have donated a whole collection of their books and works. We call them “trusts”. For example, there is the “Marega Trust”, named after an Italian Jesuit who worked in Japan as missionary. The materials present in this trust are rare, antique and of great value.
On the fourth floor there is a huge round-table well-equipped conference hall which is designed also for video-conferencing.
On the 2nd floor, there are two halls: one is called Presentation-Hall (meant for bigger study-groups) and the other one is the Expo-Hall (from time to time exhibitions of various types are held here). Another interesting aspect of the building is that at any given time, the physical structure of halls can be modified / re-designed as we like. The panel-walls offer us this possibility.
How many books etc you have?
There are about 500,000 books currently housed in one silo alone – this is without counting the single issues of periodicals in there. Apart from these, there are many more thousands of books waiting to be sorted out, computer-catalogued and archived. We get nearly 1,600 journals of various types. You can imagine the huge quantity of materials and the enormity of work going on at the library.
If we were to grade libraries (under what criteria) where would DB Library stand among the Roman Pontifical University Libraries?
It is hard to give a precise answer. However, ours is an elegant and spacious new building, housing not only books and periodicals, consultation wings, mediatheque, but makes available seminar-halls and conference hall facilities to the users.
What is most un-met urgent need in the Library?
There are still many thousands and thousands of books to be classified, catalogued and archived. It is a huge, tedious, rather slow and patient work. We need time and personnel. To realize all this, no doubt, money is a must.