The second largest library in Spain is in Madrid and today it opens to the public

The history of the Ateneo de Madrid (Calle del Prado, 21) is inseparable from the most authoritative and renowned voices of Spanish culture from the mere moment of its inauguration: 200 years ago. The Ateneo, cradle of knowledge, also houses the second largest library in Spain (just behind the National Library) and can be visited these days.

And it is that the cultural institution is celebrating (from today until April 30) its second centenary. And for this it has opened the doors of its library to the public, has launched a program of activities and has organized a free access exhibition called Two centuries looking for the light.

How is the library?

The Library of the Athenaeum is usually open exclusively for members – or by paying €2 passes that allow access to all areas except the reading room.

The library, founded in 1820, contains 350,000 volumes including books and a newspaper library. And it is during the entire month of April when it opens to the public to show the aforementioned exhibition in which you can see various documents and objects that serve to tell the history of the building.

What other activities are held?

A dozen paid and free activities fill the agenda of the Ateneo during the month of April. Among them are conversations such as the one that will take place on April 20 that will bring together Pepa Bueno, Iñaki Gabilondo and Jordi Évole. Or another about lights and shadows of memory that will get Luis Arroyo and Ian Gibson talking.

There will also be concerts, discussions and even a dramatized reading of Luces de Bohemia, which can be interpreted as a tribute to the playwright Valle Inclán, who was a member and president of the Ateneo de Madrid.

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