Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Carlos Henrique Juvêncio, Georgete Medleg Rodrigues

Last modified: 2018-06-19


At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Brazilian National Library (BN), under the direction of Manoel Cícero Peregrino da Silva, underwent several changes, including the inauguration of a new building and the edition of a new regulation, however the biggest change implemented in the institution is the adoption of the of the Otletian Documentation in the organization of its collection.

Going through a deep transformation, the National Library adopts the documentary precepts, becoming the central point in Brazil of a worldwide network of information exchange. In addition, it assumes the leadership in the country of initiatives in favor of universal knowledge and the organization and diffusion of the national intellectual production. In this way, it inaugurates a Service of Bibliography and Documentation, in the molds proposed by Otlet and La Fontaine; responsible for editing the National Bibliography, in addition to serving of consultation warehouse of the Universal Bibliographic Repertoire (RBU). An Information Service, which operated as a kind of reference desk for users to locate the information they want, whether or not they are in the Library.

Besides, the International Exchange Service is expanded, whose contact with various institutions around the globe becomes more intense and profitable (while receiving several publications from abroad, the Library also sent, which serves at the same time dissemination of the Brazilian intellect and advertising of the ideals that the newly proclaimed Republic defended).

However, in 1930, a new regime was established in the country, and the so-called First Republic ended, initiating a period that later established the Estado Novo dictatorship, with Getúlio Vargas as rulers. In fact, the great characteristic of the period is the reorganization of the Brazilian State, with new institutions founded and so many others going through a process of restructuring. In informational terms, if until 1930 the National Library had a monopoly on matters concerning the organization of information in the country, dictating rules and serving as a mirror for the other institutions, with the coup of 1930 and the consequent establishment of the New State that hegemony is broken and the Library loses much of its functions to the newly created National Book Institute (INL), which takes the lead in library affairs and the organization of the national bibliography, for example.

Our objective with this work is to show how the change of the axis of influence in the organization of information in Brazil happens, passing from the Otletian Documentation, eminently of European matrix, to the North American Librarianship.

To do so, we will use bibliographical research, especially from articles published in the Public Service Review, where the Administrative Department of the Public Service (DASP) - institution to which the INL was subordinated – published several opinions on the organization of information in the country, and legislation regulating the functions of Brazilian public administration bodies. In addition, consulting the archives of the Institute, under the custody of the National Library, is also expensive, since it will help us to understand the social role of the institution.

It is clear that the change in the Brazilian government matrix resulted in major transformations in the institutional political scenario, which is why the National Library (which maintained a prominent position in the First Republic scenario) was rejected by the new government, since new guidelines and symbols were being forged, so the National Book Institute emerged with the intention of being an symbol of the leadership period of Getúlio Vargas, whose first government lasted from 1930 to 1945.

In addition, there is the cultural context in evidence, the rise of the Modernist movement, which since 1922 had already dominated the Brazilian scene. Thus, the modern that comes into force in the intellect of the country is one more connected with what was later called American Wat Life and with questions aimed at the formation of a Brazilian culture concerned with national ideals, and whose Italian fascist model seduced some of the rulers of the country, especially Vargas.

Thus, the role of INL as a promoter of culture through books is highlighted, creating and modernizing public libraries throughout Brazil, especially in the most backward states, according to the government at the time. As well as in the edition of books about the country and, above all, of Brazilians, so, if on one hand the model of inspiration was the North American, the culture to be valued was the Brazilian one. In general, if one of Brazil's forms of dissemination was through the creation of libraries, the model that serves as an inspiration for its installation and organization is the North American, returns to the organization of information, but also to the education of its users.