The Patrimony of the Library
Since the beginning of the 1400s, the directors of the Fabbrica “deliberated about the creation of a Library and where it should be located, taking into account that many people would donate their valuable books”. The original collection of codices (of particular note those belonging to Giovanni d’Arezzo and Francesco Filelfo, without forgetting Beroldo and other important authors) was unfortunately lost during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Most of the current library collection is from the second half to the 1900s onward. The main nucleus consists of works specialising in the history of the Duomo and Milan, Lombardian art, and medieval and Gothic art. There are more than 9,000 volumes - including 64 from the 1500s, 55 volumes from the “Carolino” collection (dedicated to San Carlo and to Borromeo), 246 liturgical texts, and more than 200 degree theses - as well as 41 manuscripts.
The Library’s Activities
With the aim of improving and promoting awareness about its documents, the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo has chosen to join the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN), the network of Italian libraries created at the end of the 1980s thanks to the collaboration of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, various Italian regions, and universities, all coordinated by the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries and Bibliographic Information (ICCU). There are 93 local branches and more than 5,600 libraries of various types which currently participate in the network. The Library of the Fabbrica is part of the Lombard regional division LO1 and in November 2014 began cataloguing its library documents.
The Library is part of the regional OPAC (the online catalogue database).
The Central Institute for a Unified Catalogue of Italian Libraries and Bibliographic Information (ICCU) has inventoried the 16th century books found in the Fabbrica’s Library.