The Mexican National Library, a center for thinking and research, is celebrating its 85th year under the management of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, on Wednesday.
The library, known as the BNM, came under the UNAM's management on Aug. 6, 1929, and serves as a repository of Mexico's bibliographic and documentary heritage, housing more than 1.25 million books and rare documents.
Even though the library is located on the UNAM campus, "it does not mean that it is not a national entity, whose owners are all of us Mexicans," Bibliographic Research Institute director Guadalupe Curiel Defosse, whose agency manages the library, said.
"I am convinced that there is no better place for the BNM to be than at the National Autonomous University of Mexico," Curiel Defosse said.
The UNAM ensures that the cultural, bibliographic and other collections at the library are maintained in good condition and secure.
The BNM was created under an executive order issued by President Benito Juarez on Nov. 30, 1867, and took up quarters in 1884 at the San Agustin Church.
All the books in Mexico's convents and the library of the National Cathedral were given to the BNM, whose Fondo de Origen collection now houses these materials.
The federal government asked the UNAM to safeguard the library's materials in 1914 amid the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution.
The university returned the collection to the government in 1921, when it was placed under the Public Education Secretariat.
The BNM was lost in a bureaucratic maze from 1921 until December 1928, prompting officials to once again place the collection under UNAM management in 1929, the year that the university received an autonomous charter.
New technology has been used to modernize the library, which has a digital collection of 9 million pages that can be viewed at the BNM or online. EFE