The library was founded in 1977 and is situated in the historical building Palazzo della Specola, that houses also the Zoology section of the Museum of Natural History. The collections have been built according to these close connections.
The oldest part of the collection comprises not only scientific texts but also philosophical and literary ones coming from the Royal Museum of Natural History (1775) and from the Palatine Library.
The establishment of the Istituto di Studi Superiori Pratici e di Perfezionamento, in 1859, boosted zoology studies and research in Florence, many lectureships were established and famous scholars were involved. Thanks to their activity and personal collections a substantial library heritage was formed.
The collection then grew to include texts on ethology and eco-ethology with a special regards towards the study of social insects. With the set up of the Genetics lectureship in the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences the library increased its collections in areas such as genetics and microbiology.
The journals collection is notable for the wide range of disciplines and timeframe coverage.
The library collection consists of:
Special interest collections available online