History of the Library


The Institute of Astronomy of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (in spanish acronym IA-UNAM), has two specialized libraries, one that is known as “Guillermo Haro” is located at the university campus of “Ciudad Universitaria” in Mexico City, the other is located in city of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Both take an important part in the development of astronomy research and teaching in Mexico. Some of the most important aspects about these two libraries are listed hereafter:

“Guillermo Haro” Library of the IAUNAM

Back in 1882 the engineer Angel Anguiano referred to this institution when presenting his project of the distribution of the Astronomical Observatory in the former Archdiocese of Tacubaya, Mexico City:

“ Next to the eastern parlor, we need another one for the zenith telescope that is also owned by the Observatory; the symmetric parlor at the other side is aimed to the comparison and rectification of geodesic measures as well as other equivalent  precision instruments. The North Tower is for the comet-seeker, and the adjacent parlor for the zenithal instruments, being those  the only missing instruments. The library is divided in two sections, the parlor of human computer and the management department. The octogonal parlors surround the central tower and can be designated for a sort of astronomical museum. And that is the project that I have the honour to present to the government.”

The construction of this building started in 1884 and was over until 1908. Some years later, the library was mentioned for the second time when the engineer Joaquín Gallo, at the 50th anniversary of the Observatory, narrated how finally was the distribution of the former cross form archbishopric at Tacubaya:

“Oriented from North to South. The head,in the ground floor is the hall ,in the center  there is the semicircular ladder, surrounding the pole that holds the Great Equatorial, circled at the same time by an octagon. The cross arms form the meridian parlors and pieces of work, arising in the furthest point of the arms, the towers destined to the Dallmeyer photoheliograph and the Refractor of 15 cm. Moving to the North, the library, the file room and the tower of the Geographical Equatorial, complete the cross. In the upper floor there are the guest room, the director’s office, the library and the secretariat. The towers of the refractor of 38 cm and the photographical equatorial project out from the rooftop.”

He also commented that as soon as the building areas were finished, they will be occupied. When was the construction of the library finished? It is not clear, what we can say is that it already exited by 1906, and we can confirm it since the “National Astronomical Observatory yearbook” has a stamp that highlights “Library of the Mexican National Astronomical Observatory at Tacubaya, Mexico city on the 15th January 1906”. Besides of the date, it has another stamp which indicates the section, the order that would occupy in the stock as well as the corresponding number 385 of acquisition. So we can state that by 1906 there were already indications of books, magazines and articles collection.
In regards to the stock, there does not exist anything written down of that time. However, we have a photography of the library in this building which appears in the pamphlet of the 50th anniversary, where we can observe the furniture that was placed in the stock, the tables and the chairs of which we only conserve one table that now (2018) is placed in the catalog section and Star Atlas of the Guillermo Haro Library.

Around 1929 the Federal Goverment decided to assign the National Astronomical Observatory to the National University of Mexico (UNAM). By 1954 both the observatory and the library were moved  from Tacubaya (in the west part of Mexico City) to the first two floors of the Science building in the new main campus (in the south of Mexico City). It is until 1967 that the name of the research center came to be the Institute of Astronomy (known in spanish as Instituto de Astronomía).

Nowadays “Guillermo Haro”’ Library has a specialized collection in the field of astronomy. The collection is composed of current and historical heritage of this area and it includes 11352 book titles, 14593 volumes and the suscription to about 41 astronomical related journals from all around the world. It is considered one of the best astronomy/astrophysics library in all Latin America.

Hecho en México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), todos los derechos reservados 2009 - 2012. Esta página puede ser reproducida con fines no lucrativos, siempre y cuando no se mutile, se cite la fuente completa y su dirección electrónica. De otra forma, requiere permiso previo por escrito de la institución.
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