After ten years in charge of the great State Library, Ana Santos Aramburo announced today to the plenary session of the Royal Board of Trustees of the National Library of Spain (BNE), chaired by Minister Miquel Iceta, her intention to retire soon, for which reason has launched the process to appoint a new director of the agency so that there is no vacancy in the directorate.
The selection process will be opened once the resolution with the bases of this call is published on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Candidates must be career officials belonging to bodies or scales classified in subgroup A1, as provided in the National Library Statute. An assessment commission will be in charge of assessing the applications and will submit a report to the Minister of Culture, who in turn will submit a proposal to the Council of Ministers.
The Chairman of the Board of the BNE, Daniel Fernández, trusts that “the person who replaces Santos will have the same professionalism that she has shown for more than 10 years at the helm and that she will continue with the necessary digital and physical transformation of the Library National of Spain”.
Santos has been the director of the institution since 2012, where she had already worked for four years as director of Acción Cultural. During this long tenure, she has strongly promoted digitization and the application of new technologies in the library field. But also her mandate has also been marked by the discovery of the theft of her valuable treatise by Galileo Sidereus Nuncius, which had been replaced by a copy. The discovery of the change was made in 2014, although it is not clear when it happened, but the controversy arose because the official complaint was not made until 2018. Subsequently, a report from the Ministry revealed the disappearance of four other Galileans and the creation of a group of work to improve the security of the center.
In the plenary session of the Royal Board of Trustees, Santos has made a positive balance of the year 2022 for the library that he directs. To start with the value of the donations that have arrived and which include, among others, the personal legacies of the poet Félix Grande, donated by his brother; the artist Alberto Corazón, donated by his widow; part of the Torrente Ballester archive, donated by his grandson Marcos Giralt; handwritten documents of Concepción Arenal, donated by the Novoa Martínez sisters; and the file of the writer Sánchez Silva, donated by his daughter.
In addition, he pointed out that last year more than four million users downloaded some seven million documents from the Hispanic Digital Library and the BNE Digital Newspaper Library. In addition. The easing of the access rules and the elimination of the mandatory nature of the prior appointment and the prior request for funds, has generated an increase of almost 59% in the registration of cards and of about 12% in the use of the reading and research rooms. And the number of face-to-face attendees at cultural activities, exhibitions and guided tours of the BNE is already close to the data that was registered before the pandemic and totals close to 170,000.
2023 will be focused above all on stabilizing the Library’s digital strategy. The aim is to give a boost to the digitization of the collections and ensure the medium and long-term sustainability of the process once the extraordinary financing from the European funds of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan ends. And underpin research and collaboration with other institutions to meet the challenge posed by advances in artificial intelligence. In this sense, the BNE has been chosen by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center as one of its strategic projects, which will guarantee the stabilization of the digital strategy, both in terms of data and content preservation and its availability. for research projects.