Environmental libraries of La Garrotxa outside their walls


Environmental libraries of La Garrotxa outside their walls

10 Jul

Although it might seem counterintuitive that a library, which is a building in which books are kept, should go outside its walls, for decades now public, university and specialist libraries, etc. have gradually been changing roles. Against this background of constant change, these true chameleons are able to survive because of their ability both to adapt to their surroundings and to meet the needs of any situation: either by offering traditional loan and document consultation services, or also, and increasingly, through involvement in projects associated with access to digital collections, virtuality and social networks, and to experimental projects such as bibliolabs and through collaboration with citizens’ science networks, etc.

In the region of La Garrotxa there are a dozen libraries, many of which have materials on the environment, which allows for the running of joint initiatives for users such as the Nature Week or the Night of the Volcanos.

Environmental libraries offer services: to the local community, for people who are interested in learning more about where they live; to visitors, who want more environmental information than that offered by the information centres; to technicians and researchers, who require specialised information and follow-up on specific topics in order to evaluate and prioritise management or to do research work; to teachers seeking information and materials for their classes; to students, who require basic information on specific topics; and to environmentally-aware companies that wish to run workshops or exhibitions or need information to consult during the activity.

  • What services can environmental libraries offer the tourism sector?

For many years, environmental information has been of cross-cutting interest to audiences of all types and for some time now, given the climate emergency, it has become increasingly important in our lives. Personalised consultations and tailored services, quality systems, virtuality and networking are the secrets that have enabled some environmental libraries to remain useful. This we have done not only by helping our institutions to preserve knowledge and to support research and management, but also by further emphasising our active role in dissemination and revitalization, while acting as a bridge and as just another working part in the mechanism that unites information generators, scientists and experts, while also keeping up contact with communities of users with common interests, and providing environmental information for different audiences and at different levels.

The mini-library service and the nature itinerary between them is one of the most successful and innovative services that we offer to the public walking in the Park. There are also other services used by some organisations, institutions and companies from La Garrotxa region, such as the service of mobile libraries that offer loan materials, the availability of documents about the Park and the environment in deposit, and the Park Documentation Point function.

  • Mini-library and nature itinerary service

The Park’s mini-libraries, which are located between Olot and Santa Pau, are wooden houses that house documents in Catalan, Spanish, French and English about the park and the environment that may be consulted or exchanged or used for free. They also have tables and chairs for on-site consultation and are open to the public 24 hours a day.

There are two mini-libraries available throughout the year: one is outside the Casal dels Volcans (in Olot) and the other at Can Jordà (TM Santa Pau). These are the sites of the Natural Park’s two headquarters. There is also a third mini-library, open only in summer, which is located in the Hospice of Olot.

The recommended nature itinerary between the mini-libraries takes about 3 hours to cover and travels through some fantastic places that are well worth discovering. They start with Olot’s Parc Nou and its botanical garden, and continue with La Salut hermitage, La Moixina nature spots, and the Triai zone –which offers panoramic views over the plain of Olot with Puigsacalm mountain in the distance–, and end at the legendary Fageda d'en Jordà Nature Reserve, an exceptional 550-m2 beech forest. The walk ends at Can Jordà, in the shade of its mini-library. To avoid getting lost on the way between mini-libraries, follow the signs on some of Natural Park Itinerary 3 or consult the mini-library itinerary on wikiloc.

  • Documentation Points and Mobile Library Service

Several establishments in La Garrotxa region with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism have already taken advantage of the “extra services” that the Park Documentation Centre offers to institutions, companies and organisations with acknowledged environmental commitments. These Documentation Points (Doc Points) house grouped publications from the Park, and some even have small reference libraries in order to improve visits to the area and also to other spaces.

Another documentary service also used by the organisations, institutions and companies of La Garrotxa region are the mobile libraries, which house grouped environmentally-themed materials that are loaned on a temporary and free-of-charge basis to support all kinds of activities (congresses, courses, workshops, exhibitions, thematic weeks, holding of environmental events, etc.). They are intended to provide information to support and to enhance the quality of activities, courses or studies available in the La Garrotxa region.