The Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL) have reopened its Lúcio de Mendonça and Rodolfo Garcia Libraries to the public in Rio de Janeiro.

The Lúcio de Mendonça Library holds works by the members of the Academy. Due to its specialized contents, visitors must make an appointment online. The Rodolfo Garcia Library, in turn, due to the more general nature of its archive, will be open from 1pm to 5pm Monday to Thursday, for lending and in-house reading.

According to Arno Wehling, director of the libraries and occupant of Chair 37 of the institution, the recess imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown starting in March last year restricted the activities at the Academy. Once the circumstances changed, ABL announced the reopening of the two libraries, with all the precautions the situation still requires, the scholar told Agência Brasil.

Biblioteca Rodolfo Garcia Biblioteca Rodolfo Garcia

The Rodolfo Garcia Library – Rodolfo Garcia Library

Collections

The Rodolfo Garcia Library is located on the second floor of the Austregésilo de Athayde palace, the Academy’s headquarters in downtown Rio de Janeiro. The archive can be accessed through terminals, and Wi-Fi connection and individual study rooms are also available. Visitors may bring their own study materials and laptops as well as borrow books.

Housing approximately 130 thousand items, the library aims to preserve knowledge and contribute to society beyond the institutional sphere. The library was inaugurated in September 2005 to serve a diversified public—including students, professionals, and researchers from a wide range of fields. It was named after the fourth occupant of Chair 39 of the institution, historian and intellectual Rodolfo Garcia.

The archive is described as impressively wide in its scope, covering literature, philosophy, linguistics, history, and social sciences. The library features reference works, periodicals, monographs, audiovisual materials, and the private collections of historical personalities from the political, intellectual, and literary worlds, in addition to rare items from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Lúcio de Mendonça Academic Library, in turn, opened its doors not long after the inauguration of the Academy itself, following the donation of a copy of the novel Flor de Sangue by Valentim Magalhães, according to the minutes of the meeting held on December 28, 1896. Its official creation, however, took place on November 13, 1905, as proposed by Rodrigo Octavio, its first director, under Machado de Assis, the first president of the Academy.

Since its foundation, the Brazilian Academy of Letters has received donations from scholars, personalities from the literary and cultural world, and bibliophiles. Its archive includes first editions of classic works of world literature, in addition to a large number of rare works from the 16th to 20th centuries. Highlights include the first printed edition of Os Lusíadas, from 1572, and a very rare copy of Rhythmas, printed in Lisbon in 1595, both written by Luís de Camões.

The Lúcio de Mendonça Library provides Academy members and researchers with a catalog of some 20 thousand volumes, divided into Academic, ABL, Reference, Camões, Periodicals, and rare works from the 16th to the 18th centuries, in addition to the private collections of Alberto de Oliveira, Afrânio Peixoto, Domício da Gama, Machado de Assis, Manuel Bandeira, and Olavo Bilac.

Located on the second floor of the Petit Trianon mansion, the library covers an area of 250 square meters and is divided into three rooms. Besides books, the space houses a museum collection comprising period furniture, sculptures, and paintings.

Source: Agência Brasil