Photographer's Note

The National Library of the Argentine Republic (Spanish: Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina) is the largest library in Argentina and one of the most important in the Americas. It is located in the barrio of Recoleta in Buenos Aires.

Clemente, his second-in-command and close friend, was very involved in the construction of this building, located at the site of the Unzué Palace, the official residence where President Juan Perón and his late wife Evita resided. Following a politically motivated demolition of the Unzué Palace in 1958, the grounds were designated for the library's new main building. The brutalist structure was designed in 1961, though construction did not begin until 1971. The library was inaugurated on April 10, 1992.

The successive changes in government leadership and bureaucracies, along with certain indifferences towards cultural matters were factors that delayed the project originally envisioned by the architectural team of Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich, and Alicia Cazzaniga. The library’s architectural style also called brutalism is usually a cause for questioning and study by architecture students. At the same time of the building, the need for a trained staff in library science led to the creation of the National School of Librarians whose first term started during Borges’ tenure in 1957 at the Mexico Street building.

The historian Vicente Sierra was designated to take Borges’ place after the 1973 electoral elections and Sierra remained its director up until the 1976 military coup. From that time until the restoration of democracy in 1983 Clemente and Horacio Hernán Hernández were appointed the library’s directors. During the democracy, the historian Gregorio Weimberg took the leadership, but resigned within a year. He was followed by Dardo Cúneo, another prolific journalist and writer who in turn was followed by José María Castiñeira de Dios in 1989. It was during the Castiñeira de Dios tenure that the building was inaugurated and the initial transfer of the library materials and records took place.

The National Library’s history mirrors the strokes that reflect the social and political life of the nation. It is important to mention the remaining directors who have managed the library from 1991 through the present: Enrique Pavón Pereyra, Héctor Yanover, Oscar Sbarra Mitre, Francisco Delich, Silvio Maresca, Horacio Salas, Elvio Vitali, and its current director, Horacio González.

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Additional Photos by Andre Bonavita (bona) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1348 W: 122 N: 2844] (13739)
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