Ministero dei Beni delle Attivitą Culturali e del Turismo Direzione Generale Biblioteche e Istituti Culturali


University Library of Pavia

The birth of the Library has its roots in the draft reform of the public education system and university started by Maria Theresa of Austria in the second half of the XVIII century.

Established in 1754 as a an auxiliary library of the renovated University of Pavia, the library took shape only in 1763 when the first director, the mathematician Gregorio Fontana, began to implement the imperial provisions by collecting books at the College Ghislieri, where in 1772 the Library could be open to the public with a library collection of about ten thousand volumes.

Meanwhile, in the floor of the new university building several sites were disposed to host in 1778, official birth year of the library, the "Imperial Regia Biblioteca Ticinese". The first seat of the Library was the Salone, then said Teresian named after the founder, whose shelves were soon fully occupied by books that arrived thanks to:

  • duplicates coming from Brera and Vienna libraries
  • Libraries purchased by the Austrian Government and divided between Pavia and Milan (remember those of Albrecht von Haller, accounts Karl Firmian and Carlo Pertusati)
  • libraries of religious congregations suppressed in the late '700 and early 800
  • private funds come for testamentary bequest, in addition to books coming to the right of the press, since 1802.

Thus, it proceeded in a relatively short time to fifty thousand volumes.

For the purchase of books, the Austrian government gave an endowment to the Library of Pavia that became less conspicuous under the administration of post-unification, also because in the mid-800 the Library enjoyed the generous annuity of assets left by the physician Joseph Frank, intended for the purchase of medical books, it had relevance until the beginning of the last century.

Collaborations with the University were constant, albeit at different levels over time. After the unification of Italy the link between the two institutions turned less direct, both for regulations and the progressive establishment of the Libraries of the Faculty with the tasks of specialist renovation.Therefore the name of the University Library explains the origins but only part of the nature and functions of the current Institute.