When I was able to learn about the system that they have used for centuries in the famous Joanina Library of the University of Coimbra to keep the insects that eat the pages of the books under control, the first thing I could think of was that “it would never have occurred to me.” Imagine that this imposing site, declared a World Heritage Site, is protected in this particular way. There is a colony of bats living inside the Coimbra Library for many years, and not only that no one would think of removing it, but that they protect it, and also the staff take some very peculiar measures so that the bats do their work every night in the place.
In this video on Tiktok I tell about this curious fact:
@maticallone University of Coimbra in #Portugal ♬ A.Vivaldi The Four Season, Summer Presto; Impetuous Tempo – AllMusicGallery
It turns out that in the city of coimbra in Portugal, which has all these attractions, there is the famous Joanina Library, one of the most visited sites of the University and the city. The current Library was built in the 18th century, has a Rococo style, and is one of the baroque libraries most spectacular in Europe. Of course, if you visit it during the day (I can’t share photos of the interior because taking photos is forbidden) you won’t see the bats that act as an army, and that keep insects at bay that could attack the books. His work begins precisely when the entire library is left in the dark.
An extra job every night to keep the Library clean
Every night, the library’s caretakers place blankets on the tables and furniture to prevent them from getting dirty from bat dung. In addition, every morning they clean all the floors of the library. The effort of that extra work, they considered many decades ago, was less than the risk of damaging the books by insects. To this day they maintain it as a tradition that has been very effective for them.
By the way, the library has more than 70,000 books, many of them authentic treasures from several centuries ago. It becomes clear that the bats in the Coimbra Library have a great job to do to protect them.
If you are thinking of visiting this library I recommend that you also see the destination guide in portugaland the idea of route through the north of Portugal Leaving from Lisbon based on my trip.