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Tuesday, August 9 • 9:20am - 10:30am
Architecture's Impact on the Art Library's Program, Part I

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Session sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame

From Research Library to Research Services: Stories of Change at the Rijksmuseum
Geert-Jan Koot, Curator of Library Collections and Former Head of the Research Library, Rijksmuseum
Saskia Schltjens, Head of Research Services, Rijksmuseum

Museum Libraries in the Prado-Recoletos Axis in Madrid, 2005-2015: New Spaces for New Services
Soledad Canovas del Castillo, Head Librarian, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Javier Docampo, Director of the Department of Manuscripts, Incunabula and Rare Books, Biblioteca Nacional de España

Moderated by Jon Evans, Chief Librarian, Hirsch Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Koot & Scheltjens, From Research Library to Research Services: Stories of Change at the Rijksmuseum
The ‘service turn’ about which Lorcan Dempsey once wrote so eloquently, also had its influence on recent changes within the Rijksmuseum regarding the way information services and departments have been organized throughout the years of its existence. Geert-Jan Koot will highlight the history of the library up to the recent complex, decade-long restoration project. Saskia Scheltjens will focus on the related organizational changes within the Rijksmuseum that resulted in an integration of the Rijksmuseum Research Library into a larger new department called Research Services. The new focus lies on collection information across all kinds of data silos within the museum, and how this data universe in the future can interact with users in new and engaging ways.

In 2001, the Spanish firm Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos won a competition to renovate the Rijksmuseum. The main art gallery and library were selected to receive an especially thorough treatment. The Cuypers Library Hall is the one of the very few nineteenth-century library spaces to survive in the Netherlands. The reception is an impressive twenty-meter-high rectangular book hall, elaborately decorated and composed as a Gesamtkunstwerk. The presentation will draw attention to the design and the historic functions of the great library hall and the challenge of keeping the library afloat during an extended renovation.

Three years after the 2013 grand reopening, evaluation studies showed radical changes in the use of reading room spaces by the public. The rise of digital scholarship and the influence this has had on object-based research were indicators of the need for a completely new organizational structure for the collection information departments. In June 2016, three units—the Rijksmuseum Research Library, Collection Information, and Cuypers Reading Room—became part of a new department called Research Services. The aim is to offer to the public new and innovative services for finding historical information on Dutch art. The knowledge within the museum regarding open and networked data services will be the basis for these exciting new developments. 

Canovas & Docampo, Museum Libraries in the Prado-Recoletos Axis in Madrid, 2005-2015: New Spaces for New Services

The Prado-Recoletos axis is the main historical boulevard in Madrid and it houses the most important concentration of art museums in Spain. From south to north these are: the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía with the national collection of twentieth-century art; the Museo Nacional del Prado with a world-renowned collection of old masters; the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza that houses a formerly private collection of old and modern masters; and the Museo Arqueológico Nacional with an important collection of Spanish antiquities and artefacts. In the last ten years, these museums have been renovated and various approaches taken for their libraries. The Reina Sofía, designed by Jean Nouvel, opened in 2005 with a wing dedicated to the library. As part of the Prado’s expansion between 2001 and 2007, the library was transferred to a renovated historical building. In 2004, the Thyssen-Bornemisza opened a new wing, but the library remained in the historic building that has housed the collection since 1992. Finally, the Museo Arqueológico underwent a complete renovation in 2014 that included new space for the Library.

The different types of projects can be used as a significant test to check how museum libraries might face the needs of their users and solve the problems of providing modern library services. These new buildings and refurbishments have presented the libraries with an opportunity to be more open to society. The new State Museum Libraries Network (BIMUS) has been an important factor in this development of Madrid’s museum libraries.


Tuesday August 9, 2016 9:20am - 10:30am

Attendees (29)