Monday, April 5, 2010
Franciscan Monastery Library
[Fra. Ante Marić and Marijana Tomić outside the Franciscan Monastery library in Mostar]
19 March, 2010
When we arrived, we settled into church pews and listened as
Fra. Drago Vujević told us of the history of the Franciscan presence in this area (from the 13th century). He also recounted the history of this church (Our Lady of the Snow). It was damaged in WWII, but completely destroyed during the recent Homeland War.
The library here was not destroyed during the shelling. It was also the victim of purging of materials (and people!) during the communist period after WWII.
The events in this library's history are reminiscent of what Knuth describes in the third chapter of Libricide. Regimes can "cast libraries and books in a suspicious light" using a framework of "politics and ideology".
We were also told that this library project if for all people, regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation and that all "sides" of the formerly-fighting sides in the recent war are represented in the library.
We got a tour of the new church and then saw the new library. It is quite fancy. Temperature and humidity control, very nice new shelving/fixtures/tables, and incredible automated book stacks.
Fra. Ante Marić was a talkative and friendly host. He kept Marijana translating continuously as we progressed. Unfortunately, the librarian ran off to hide when we arrived. We were told she was a "real expert" and had gone to school in Sarajevo.
Amazing to see the stark difference between the Franciscan monastery library in Zadar and the Franciscan monastery library in Mostar. This library obviously gets a lot of money from one or both of its main funding sources - the Croatian government and the Franciscan Order.