Written By: Michelle Sosa
Edited By: Adina Vega

Image of the Sistine Hall within the Vatican Apostolic Library

You have most likely heard about the Vatican Church in films–especially supernatural horror films–but have you heard about the Vatican Church’s library? The Vatican Apostolic Library is filled with beautiful art, rich history, and an astonishing collection of some of the world’s rarest and most precious artifacts. 

The library was formally established in 1475 by Pope Sixtus IV, though the church holds records of the library existing before this date–back to the 4th century. The library is home to an abundant collection of the most rare and significant manuscripts, books, and other materials. Today, the church is found in Vatican City in Rome, Italy. Back in 2007, the library underwent a restoration period and reopened its doors in 2010. 

The library’s interior is breathtaking; the walls are adorned with various geometric patterns and paintings of religious figures. Aside from its collections, the library offers services like a conservation workshop, a photographic library, and a publishing office. The library has recently undertaken a digitization project to provide online access to its manuscripts. The Digital Vatican Library project began in 2010 and has since continued to work towards digitizing 80,000 codices, totaling about 40 million images. Additionally, the library offers other services such as a conservation workshop, an IT Center, a photographic library, and even a school of library sciences.

Image of Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, one of the archivists and librarians in the Vatican Apostolic Library

Anyone can visit the Digital Vatican Library to view their manuscripts and/or other artifacts online; however, when visiting the library in person, an individual must be a scholar and/or another type of professional in need of conducting research using the artifacts from the library. You can visit the library’s website to explore its vast resources and read more about its admission requirements. 

Categories: iSchool SLA


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