nurtured by them. In the flow of diverse paradigms, contexts and successive technological innovations, from clay tablets to digital technology, libraries have constantly reinvented theír ways of being in and appearing to society, of generating and conserving collective memories, as repositories of humanity’s commitments and as tools for disclosing and constructing the future. Until printing entered the scene, libraries were centripetal institutions, where authors and book producers, who employed available technologies, shared common spaces in which diverse forms of knowledge flowed together in the currents of history and culture. The printing press generated a centrifugal movement by irradiating the printed word to a broader readership, together wíth the new opportunities that it afforded, as it simultaneously differentiated the tasks of authors, editors and printers.
Today, the digital context allows us to bring together again the traditional values of libraries, releasing new energies to a degree never achieved before. Authors, editors and producers constitute, once again, interactional communities, which are more plastic and reticular than heretofore, within a flux of relationships that form and dissolve in complex interaction.
On taking up the post of Chief Librarian sixteen months ago, I was invited to implement such institutional transformations as would be coherent with the paradigmatic changes wrought by globalization and technological revolutions on a world-wide scale. Those changes, as never before in history, affect every dimension of the lives of individuals, institutions and communities, as seen in the emergence of new roles and identities, innovative forms of work, new modalities of relationship. In other words, the world is being affected by a challenging transformation of traditional common sense, made manifest in the shift of attention away from the world of objects, with their specific domains and uses, to the sphere of human networks in unceasing interaction, in which roles are reinvented and objects acquire new use modalities, especially by value being added to them.
I wish to share with you the reflections that shaped our decision to change along those lines and the questions that we posed from the outset. What should be our way of being and appearing in the world of congresspersons? What Library must we bring to maturity to generate value for our community?
To address these questions, we are observing ourselves and our central communities with fresh eyes and we are listenning to congresspersons in new ways.
By focusing our action on congresspersons and their support networks, we are opening ourselves to dynamic and on-going processes of transformations of perspective and practice, reappreciating our activities