Ancient Vatican Library to Close

What, they can’t just use the attic? Or rent a POD? According to the BBC:

One of the world’s oldest libraries, at the Vatican, is to close for three years for rebuilding, in an unexpected blow to scholars around the world.

The decision to shut the library was made without warning.

After the library closes for its summer break in mid-July, it will not reopen until September 2010, the Vatican says.

Read the BBC article here. I wonder if this three year lack of access will be the setback to historical and theological research that many fear, or if it will effectually speed the inevitable digitalization of their historic collections (manuscripts, incanabula, etc…). If so, this temporary closure of their collections may have the result of increasing the collections’ accessibility to all of us.

In 2002, PC World reported that the Vatican Library began digitizing 1.6 million volumes “for general perusal” with the help of Hewlett-Packard. I have not seen an update on this project, but perhaps this closure will speed things along.

An incredible library, no doubt.

The Vatican Library
The Vatican Museums
The Vatican Secret Archives
Treasures of the National Library of Vatican City

HT: Clerical Whispers

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