Civic monitoring report
The AGORA' of Culture!

Sent on 20/03/2023 | By shelfie | @shelfie2023

What we found out

Project objectives

WHY ACCLAVIO'S LIBRARY? Among the various options, we have decided to carry out this civic monitoring on how the funds reserved for the "Pietro Acclavio's Civic Library" have been spent. We have chosen a library because we trust in the importance of culture, especially in a historical city like ours: TARANTO! The project aimed to establish an evolved model of library, which would be able to offer innovative services for the promotion of both reading and culture and to found a garrison of participation and cultural cohesion of the community.
IS TARANTO READY FOR A LIBRARY? While discussing with the library director, Mr. Gianluigi Pignatelli, he exposed us a "doubt-problem" in an ambitious project like the Acclavio's Library one. Since Taranto is not a real university city yet because of the lack of its own independent universities, it may not be ready for such a culturally relevant place. But he also said that, thanks to the work of citizens like us, young active responsible students, one day Taranto will honour its glorious past and elevate itself to a major cultural awareness.
Do the best to... shape yours(h)elf!

Foreseen activities

If culture fascinates, data analysis impresses. Let's have a look at the economic framework!
Our monitoring project consisted in analyzing how European funds were spent for the restoration of the Acclavio Library in Taranto. To this end, in recent months, we have interviewed a lot of important personalities, such as the deputy mayor of the Municipality of Taranto, Fabrizio Manzulli and the director of the Civic Library, Gianluigi Pignatelli, the ISTAT territorial contact person for Puglia, Marina Pietroforte, the journalist Luisa Campatelli, and studied the project spending plan.
New spaces have been set up to host activities open to the public. In particular, the "Agorà", a conference area that hosts 70 seats, located on the first floor of the library and provided with advanced equipment and technologies (e.g. PCs, amplifiers, smart monitors, wifi and bluetooth, etc.). In addition, the event room hosts innovative initiatives characterized by social and inclusive aspects, also thanks to the support of the numerous associations present in the area (e.g. participations to national initiatives to promote reading, presentations of books, music reviews in the library, reviews of theatrical readings, social and cultural meetings, cinegroups, exhibitions). On the ground floor there is the "Teaching Room", a space completely usable by schools and the community, equipped with a maxi screen, projector etc. In addition, the Teaching Room hosts information desks open to citizens, such as the desk of the Centre EUROPE DIRECT Taranto, Orientyouth, as well as events aimed at promoting cultural activities. This space has become a container of services for the strengthening of active citizenship, the promotion of civic resources, the dissemination of knowledge of the cultural, social and productive heritage of the territory. The library has used the funds of the operation co-financed by the EU under the POR FESR-FSE 2014/2020 of the Puglia Region Axis VI - action 6.7 "Interventions for the enhancement and use of cultural heritage" for the purchase of technological instruments, fixed and mobile equipment aimed at improving the use of new technologies, purchase of books, re-development of library spaces (building works aimed at remodeling spaces), glass roof renovation etc.

Project origin

Designed on the inspiration of La Défense in Paris, the Bestat business and residential center of Taranto in Apulia ( the so-called Beni Stabili) was built on a project by the well-known architects Piccinnato and Consoli in 1979.
All thanks to the operation co-financed by the EU under the POR FESR-FSE 2014/2020 of the Puglia Region Axis VI - action 6.7 "Interventions for the enhancement and use of cultural heritage".
The restyling phase lasted two years, for an investment of 2 million euros in the Community Library project, with the aim of making the structure a "square of knowledge", precisely in that space of the city once chosen to show the way towards the future, but then abandoned to neglect.


Recently restored, it has become an important cultural and attractive center also used for concerts, exhibitions, screenings and major events: the Agora of Culture for the citizenship.


The idea behind the important urban complex develops from a large square (Piazza Dante Alighieri) around which futuristic and slender architectures in reinforced concrete and glass were designed to become homes, offices and business centers. Overlooking the square and almost crowning the general design is the new and functional "Pietro Acclavio Community Library" which is externally characterized by curved lines and large surfaces covered in crystal


The project is completed and is in operation in all its parts, both at a redevelopment level (the renovation works have been completed) and purchase of equipment (e.g. PCs, some texts, apps to book books etc.).
Through this work we were able to guarantee that the total amount of €1.700,000 was spent out of a total of €2.000,000. As outlined in the spending plan and described in our charts in the previous report, the funds spending was split into two plans. As for the other €300.000 , the director, in an interview he granted us during our visit to the library, assured us that this sum is missing because during the tender procedure the winning project presented a spending plan in which it was not necessary to request the entire money, but only €1.700,000.
All the data of our accurate research can be viewed in the links of the sources that we have attached.


The executive project for the re-functionalization and redevelopment of the "Pietro Acclavio Library" and outdoor areas is divided into two plans: plan A, which is the money needed for contractual works and services, and plan B, which is the funds available to the administration. Only 82% of these payments were tracked, so what about the others? Analyzing the infographic, three quarters of the total were used for contracts, security and furnitures, while €341.000 were used for the purchase of books, for the direction of the work and IVA taxes on each investment.
We visited the library both as an ASOC Team and as young citizens. We have been able to appreciate some changes that stood out, both at an architectural level (demolished walls, creation of new spaces, etc ), and from the point of view of the contents of the library activities. Before the library had two functions: borrowing a text and studying, now, however, there is a plurality of activities ranging from exhibitions, concerts, etc. managing to involve the entire community.


It's hard to say something we didn't like about the project we monitored, also because we believe in the cultural relevance of libraries, which is why we chose this place. The only defect we noticed, on which the director agreed with us on our first visit, was the space dedicated to the function of actual libraries. There is no longer a student audience because the spaces have been reduced to introduce new activities such as concerts, exhibitions, conferences, etc.


All our classmates agreed that the best part of this project was the collaboration and transparency of the people we interviewed, together with the possibility of studying in the library and the teamwork required by such an ambitious project. A space returned to the community, a winning synergy between municipal administration and citizenship.
One of the main positive aspects of Acclavio's library is the cultural importance of such a modern and well-furnished place, together with the opportunity for students to interweave relationships and to consult what they need from the wide range of books the library offers.


In addition to this, while interviewing the Director of the Library, he also told us about the risk with an investment of this kind in a city like Taranto: our city, in fact, not being a university city due to the lack of adequate opportunities for students (as reported in the interview that granted, the deputy mayor Fabrizio Manzulli who spoke of the commitment that the Taranto administration is putting into this problem) may not fully appreciate such a cultural monument.

Ideas and solutions

According to the ambitious initial project cultural events, music, exhibitions and book courses, conventions and workshops will be organized on the basis of the idea of 'square', where people meet for cultural fare. In addition, a teaching/workshop area, a reading room that can be used for cultural meetings and conventions and an area for children will be used in a refreshment area.
The adjacent outdoor spaces are used for events thanks to suitable electronic devices and 'smart' public lighting systems. They will be useful for the projection of videos, films, events and more usable by temporary seats that can be placed on the pedestrian area.
The work required: the renovation of the roof and the fixtures, the adaptation of the air conditioning systems, the construction of archive rooms, the works for energy efficiency, the resolution of problems related to rainwater infiltration, the review of all the lighting system and the works related to the new local destination and the external areas.

Results and Impact of the monitoring

Dissemination of results

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Territorial events organised by the teams
  • Team blog / website
  • Media interviews


  • Students and Teachers, Scientific high school
  • EU Project Manager Assistant Junior, EUROPE DIRECT - TARANTO
  • Director of the , Municipality of Taranto
  • Journalist,
  • ISTAT territorial contact person for Puglia, ISTAT
  • Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Economic Development and Innovation Municipality of Taranto, Municipality of Taranto
  • Councilor for Culture and Entertainment, Municipality of Taranto
  • Project assistant EUROPE DIRECT Taranto - EU Funds Dpt., EUROPE DIRECT - TARANTO
  • TV Journalist, TRM TV CHANNEL
  • MEP, European Parliament
  • EU Office Coordinator ITS Logistica Puglia, Managing Director Europe Direct Taranto, EUROPE DIRECT - TARANTO
  • Professor of EU Law, UniBA
  • Director of the National Youth Agency,

Contacts with media outlets

  • Local TV
  • Local newspapers
  • Blog or other online news outlet
  • Other

Contatti con le Pubbliche Amministrazioni per discutere i risultati del Monitoraggio

  • Generic answer
  • Problem fixed

Description of the case

At the end of our research we have had an online face-to-face with a school in Bisceglie which has been monitoring the civic library of their town. This occasion has been a real “deus ex machina” for our project, leading to a nearly instant resolution of a lot of doubts coming both from us and those students too.
Sharing the same perspective we appreciated by the Director of the "Pietro Acclavio" Civic Library of Taranto... we'd better focus on the Agorà of Culture inside a wider space as a reading and studying place!

Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Visit to the project's location, documented by pictures or videos
  • Interview with other types of people
  • Interview with political leaders

Roberta Pignatelli - EU Project Manager Assistant Junior
Gianluigi Pignatelli - Director of the "Pietro Acclavio" civic library of Taranto
Luisa Campatelli - Journalist
Marina Pietroforte - ISTAT territorial contact person for Puglia
Fabrizio Manzulli - Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Economic Development and Innovation Municipality of Taranto
Sergio Piergianni - Project assistant EUROPE DIRECT Taranto - EU Funds Dpt.
Students of class 3BL of the scientific high school "L. Da Vinci" of Bisceglie for a "twin" monitoring project.

Main questions

The two site inspections carried out for interviews with the director and the online meeting with a school in the province of Bari which, like us, is monitoring the city library were very useful and profitable for carrying out our research as...investigators.
The two main questions we have asked the director of the Acclavio's library: how the missing €300.000 was spent and what was his opinion on how the space in the library was organized.

Main answers

Concerning the first question, the director replies that the tender was probably won by a project that required only 1.700,000 euros instead of the entire sum. As for the second question, he believes that after the restoration too much space has been dedicated to non-typical functions of the library, such as the space for children.
Thanks to the recent restauration, during the recent years the Acclavio’s library has grown and got better much more than a lot of Taranto inhabitants used to believe was possible. It became such a modern library, built following an idea of architecture which represents a proper avantgarde in Italy but also in the whole Europe. A point on which both us and the Acclavio Library’s director insist, as said before, is the space dedicated to the only functions which traditionally belongs to proper libraries: reading and studying.About the director, too much space – too much more than it really deserves – has been dedicated to conferences area and babies one: the origin of the world “library” is related to books and studying and that has to represent the main activity of a place like this.In our opinion, also journalism deserves much more attention: having a deep dive in what’s happening all around us is fundamental to be part of our society and preserve our democracy.