The chaos and order of the Biblioteca Nazionale

June 28.  I'm just passed the one month anniversary out of the States, although I still have a couple more days until a reach one month of actual 'research' in Florence.  So far, it has been incredible.  I've figured out the bus system (at long last!); how to get from home to the library, back home for lunch, and then back again for my afternoon work (without the buses, I would spend 2 hours of my day on foot).  I've made good friends with the library staff who continue to bring me books and articles, as well as photocopies of illustrations and reference matierials that they think I'd find useful.  It has been wonderful.  I think I've passed 60 pages of (handwritten) research notes on the topic.  I'm excited that this work will feature into my senior thesis next year as well as my PhD dissertation after that.  

Here at the library, we've recently come across a small problem.  For some unknown reason (unknown to all but the funzionari at the library), they want to close the distribution of "old books", which would be the books I need and have been using for my researching, during the afternoon hours for the entire month of July.  Given that there are already limited hours in August, this has become a bit of a problem.  It would mean serious restrictions on the progress of my research, as well as that of so many others who are still using the library -- an unfair setback.  Everyone, all'italiana, is up in arms about it -- there have already been two assemblies as organized protests against the limitations!  Apparently as I've been told, this is the kind of thing one might expect from a disorganized Italian institution (despite the fact that it's the National library and has so many other rules and regulations that students and research suffer in order to keep in line that you'd think it would adhere to its own kind of functioning order).  The problem is that they decided this a week ago and it's thrown a lot of people off-guard; there are quite a few international researchers and scholars who have come for the summer to use the library and are now being told they have only three hours every day during the mornings.

So, the librarians (who have been so kind in this entire process), asked me to write a letter explaining my situation.  I was told today that they are considering the letter and will determine that potentially I will be able to use the books during the afternoon (though I have been told to keep this on the DL as they may not give the opportunity to everyone).  Well, I guess it can be tough sometimes, but it's still so exciting, and I am having the time of my life.

That's all the news for now...