THE Garrison Library marked 230 years in Gibraltar with the launch of an exhibition that traced its history from a military institution to a public source of knowledge.
The oldest library on the Rock now even boasts a growing digital collection of historical books, maps and photographs that give researchers fast access to this mine of knowledge.
Caretaker Minister for Heritage and Culture John Cortes opened the 230th anniversary exhibition titled titled 1793 – 2023: From the Analogue to the Digital Age.
A digital studio funded by the Kusuma Trust climatised repository is being used to put the artifacts online.
The Ministry of Heritage pointed out how this process will also help conservation.
“Digital access will offer greater protection to the original paper archive whilst ensuring the history and information contained within will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come,” it said in a statement.
People from all over the world will soon be able to search the archives from early newspapers to reports from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Cortes said: “The Gibraltar Garrison Library reflects the fusion of military past and civilian present that characterises Gibraltar, and its links with the United Kingdom.
“The Library is increasingly reaching out to the wider community, something with which digitisation will clearly assist, and has to take its place as a significant stakeholder in the world of Gibraltar heritage, culture and literature.”
Along with Jennifer Ballantine, the library director, Cortes marked the ‘historic occasion’ with a presentation to the current governor.
Sir David Steel will soon leave the Rock after starting his term in June 2020.
As governor he is the patron of the Garrison Library during his stay as part of a tradition that stretches back to the first meeting meeting of its committee in 1796.
Cortes presented him with a framed copy of the bookplate that will be placed on the inside cover of all books added during his term.
He also gave him a facsimile of the original minutes of the meeting of the library board held on March 8, 1796, thanking him for his ‘support and commitment to Gibraltar’ since taking over.
Admiral Steel has used his naval experience to help the local government tackle the OS 35 accident and more recent Gas Venus oil spill.
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