Gozo National Library is a treasure trove of documents, the oldest being 500 years old
The Gozo National Library is 125 years old. It started as a private initiative and was referred to as the Gabinetto di Lettura. Over time it has changed several of its locations and today it is located on top of Victoria Primary School. The oldest document in the collection is about five hundred years old.
The law in Malta requires that two copies of all printed material such as books, magazines, journals and leaflets be presented to the national collection: one for the National Library of Malta – the Biblijoteka – and another for the Gozo National Library. Between them, these two libraries have hundreds of shelves packed with publications of all kinds. Their value lies in knowledge for future generations because they shed light on various aspects of Malta’s history – from the political, religious and economic to the social, religious, cultural and sports.
The Gozo National Library has just turned 125 years old.The Gozo National Library was opened on 9 March 1896. Today it is located in the upper part of Victoria Primary School, in Triq Vajringa. The oldest document kept here is the report of Quintinus, printed in Lyon, which gives a description of Malta at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Assistant Librarian in charge of the Gozo National Library, George Cassar, said that this is one of three existing copies of the report commissioned by the Knights before coming to Malta and that it also includes a map of Malta at that time.
“The library was transferred here on the initiative of Monsignor Ġużeppi Farrugia, who in Vittoria was known as the Monsignor of verse, after requesting the Governor to give him the airspace that was above the newly built primary school. Monsignor Farrugia also took care of the designs of both the façade and all the furniture inside the main hall of this library. ”
Mr Cassar said that before, the library was in several places. He explained that it started as a private initiative and was known as Gabinetto di Lettura and later Libreria di Società.
” Until, at the request of the Gozitans themselves, this library was nationalized through a request to the Governor and even a proposal of a number of rules, which the then Governor of Malta, Sir William Reid, also approved. ”
Today, the Gozo National Library is part of the Maltese Libraries Agency.