The Italian Studies Library Group (ISLG) – established in 2001 under the aegis of the British Library – is a cultural organization bringing together librarians, academics, researchers, and all parties with an interest in Italian culture and Italian studies. The ISLG organises an annual conference generally held at the Italian Cultural Institute or at the British Library in London and publishes a yearly journal (ISLG Bulletin - ISSN 1757-4277).
In 2022, the ISLG organised a one-day Conference to be held at the British Library on 17th June, for an exploration of the great diversity of 600 years of collecting Italian books in the UK. With the participation of specialists from libraries, the book trade, and academia, the ISLG Conference explored the remarkably rich variety of Italian printed book collections in the UK, from Dante to Elena Ferrante, and the ways they have been acquired and read over the last 600 years. Found in major public institutions as well as hidden away in lesser-known collections, the presence of these books reflects the long history of Anglo-Italian relations, from the Grand Tour to the Risorgimento and beyond.
Following a series of talks on individual collections, the Conference ended with a round-table discussion looking at ways of using and promoting this important historical legacy as well as at the issues surrounding the publication and current acquisition of Italian books in a digital age.
The ISLG Conference enriched the general knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the great variety of Italian book collections held in UK institutions, their accessibility, present and future usage, and development. Additionally, the Conference cast further light on lesser-known, nevertheless remarkable, if not unique, collections of Italian material available in the UK, as in the case of the Mazzini-Garibaldi Club Archives. Scholars, researchers, and more widely the general public benefited from a better understanding and awareness of the richness of the Italian book collections accessible in the UK. The ISLG Conference contributed to the advancement of learning and reached out to the public and all those with an interest in Italian studies and British-Italian relations.
The ISLG also planned to publish the conference papers in the ISLG Bulletin.
Funding from MGF totalled £500.00, and was used to cover expenditures incurred in organising the Conference.