One in three Romans is enrolled at one of the city’s local libraries according to Rome’s daily paper Il Messaggero. With the inauguration of a new library in Via Zabaglia in the Testaccio district (replacing older premises on Via Marmorata which had become too small) there are now 30 city council libraries, with a total of 544,782 documents (books, videos, cds and cd-roms). The first half of 2003 saw an increase of 19.7 per cent in library users. One of the library networks’ strengths is the variety of services it provides, from those for dyslexia-sufferers who can visit specially equipped premises in Spinaceto named after Pier Paolo Pasolini, to those for the blind or partially-sighted who can make use of a range of experimental braille and audio services in the library in Primavalle. The city’s three principal penitentiaries (Regina Coeli, Rebibbia and Casal del Marmo) also contain council-run libraries where an average of 800 loans a month are made to a prison population of about 3,000. Other encouraging news on the book-reading front comes after the second edition of the small and independent book publishers fair “Pi libri pi liberi” held the first weekend of December at the Palazzo dei Congressi in EUR. This year the event recorded about 35,000 visitors, up from last year’s 30,000. With almost 300 publishing houses present and about 180 events hosted, including book presentations and debates, it surpassed even organisers’ expectations.

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