Página:120 años de la Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile.djvu/85
as full Representative in 1879. Mr. Pedro Montt was no foreigner to the world of libraries; in those years his brother Luis, a renowned bibliophile, was the owner of an important library and thus Pedro carne to value the importance of books as bearers of visions for the future. Years later, Mr. Luis Montt would become Director of the National Library.
However, in 1879, Chilean politics would be overshadowed by the Pacific Ocean War, fought between Chile and allied Peru and Bolivia. The bloody confrontation would last until 1884, with the triumph of Chilean arms. So, in 1883, when Representative Pedro Montt was traveling in Europe searching for bibliographic works, the echoes of battles of war in the Peruvian Andes were still being heard.
Pedro Montt was not on a diplomatic visit to France and other European countries. In fact, he was learning about the deficiencies and weaknesses of our own Parliament and discovering sources for legislative action and thought, for positiva law, and all the intellectual, academic, historical and cultural resources available in the libraries of contemporary power centers. He was discovering the identities of those countries, their mernories, and their creative roots for the future, which nurtured and would sustain public figures and legislators, as well as the institutions to which they belonged, rnaking them ever better. Representative Montt, with a keen and innovative spirit, caught the true sense of European modernity; in her libraries knowledge and nf ormation was available to sustain the rigor, growth and security of First World countries.
ln the following year, 1884, with peace attained in the battlefields, part of the books carefully obtained by Mr. Montt in Europe, were alrnost lost when the steamship Cordillera capsized in the Straight of Magellan. Fortunately, both passengers and cargo were rescued without difficulty.
1885 was an important year for the Library of Congress since, besides receiving the books recently purchased, even more books were acquired from the book dealer, Mr. Pedone Lauriel of Paris. Representative Montt also proposed that the budget include a salary for a librarian. Two days later, and again thanks to the initiative of Mr. Montt, the House of Representatives achíeved the exchange of Gazettes with Parliarnents of other countries, thus adding publications frorn Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Spain and the United Kingdorn. On 24 July 1885, the librarian initiated his activities. He was a lawyer, Mr. Manuel Lecaros Reyes, who would become the first de facto Library Director, since at the time the post did not exist. The second Director of the Library of Congress was the Law student, Mr. Arturo Alessandri Palma.