Historical Collection (Michoacán, Mexico)
Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo
The Public University Library (formerly the Public Library of Morelia) comprises the libraries of the Seminary and the now-defunct convents of San Francisco, San Agustín, El Carmen, San Diego, and La Merced in the state capital. Part of the libraries that belonged to other monasteries in Michoacan, such as Santa Catarina de Pátzcuaro, the Tridentine Seminary, and the College of San Nicolas Obispo, were also integrated into the Library.
The Library is currently located in the former temple of the Society of Jesus. In 1874, Luis González Gutiérrez presented a bill for the establishment of the State Public Library, which was approved by Governor Rafael Carrillo. It was determined that the Library would be installed in the former headquarters of the Seminary (the current Government Palace) and inaugurated on September 16, 1874. From that moment, the Library occupied different buildings, including the College of San Nicolás. In 1929, the state government donated the former temple of the Society of Jesus to the University of Michoacana with the stipulation that it should house the Public Library of Morelia (Romero Flores, Jesús, Michoacan Dictionary of History and Geography. México, Venezia, 1973, pp 70-72).
The Library has been integrating private collections since then, including the collections of Don José Guadalupe Romero, Don Febronio Retana, and Don Félix Alva Don Melchor Ocampo. The libraries of various Michoacan bibliophiles of the 19th century, such as Francisco Uraga, José María Chaves y Villaseñor, Luis González Gutiérrez, and Mariano de Jesús Torres, are also part of the Historical Collection of the Public University Library. Since its creation in 1874 as the Morelia Public Library, and as of 1930 as the University Public Library, the institution has under its custody an important and valuable collection of books that contain information on culture, science, art, philosophy, and theology.
The Public University Library consists of two book collections. The first one has 19,000 volumes from all areas of knowledge published in the 20th century; this is the contemporary collection and the so-called Historical Collection of the Directorate of Libraries, consisting of 23,000 books dating from the 15th to the 19th century.
Today, the Library´s main task is to safeguard, rescue and preserve its historical collection, whose cultural and scientific value is unique and invaluable. The Library contains 5 incunabula; 2 post incunabula; 4 Mexican imprints from the 15th century; 326 Morelian imprints, 61 banned books, 45 manuscripts, ad texts in Arabic, French, Greek, English, Italian, Latin. The cataloging of all the material was possible thanks to the generous support of university authorities and several international foundations.