The Humanities Branch Library holds over 1 million volumes, thousands of journals and numerous and important archival documents. The library was established around 1877 to support the Philosophy and Philology section of the Higher Institute for Vocational and Advanced Studies. Following the transformation of the Institute into a University, the library became to serve the Faculty of Humanities. The collection owns ancient books on scientific subjects, coming mainly from the personal libraries of the Grand Duke Peter Leopold and Count Girolamo de' Bardi. Over the years the collection grew constantly, in particular in the XX century, following donations and acquisitions of private libraries of prestigious persons in the Florentine and Italian cultural environment, some of which served also as teachers at the Higher Institute and then at the University. Recently the collection acquired books and journals both in paper and digital format in order to cover the entire range of subjects taught in the field of Humanities.
The collection of print material counts:
- over 1,000,000 volumes
- about 2,000 books from the 1500s
- 5 incunabola
- 4,000 journals (2,000 of which with an active subscription)
- 60 historic collections
- 24 archives
The collection is mainly located in bookstacks. There are also 15 thematic reading rooms: Philosophy, History, Italian Studies, Neo-Latin Languages, General, Foreign Languages, Classic Antiquity, Archaeology, Middle Ages and Renaissance, Oriental Studies, Linguistics, all freely accessible.
Books and journals held in the specialised reading rooms are on open shelves; those in the bookstacks need to be requested at the loan desk by filling out a borrowing slip. Loan service starts at 9 am. Between 1 and 2 pm items from the bookstcks are not available for loan.
Books with call numbers starting with DEP PROF are for reference only.
Books located in fondo Magazzino must be requested by 11 am and are available for pick up from 2 pm the same day.
Rare and antique materials, the archives and the documents in the Paleography room, must be requested in the Rare Books Room.
There are 627 seats, of which 45 with a desktop PC. Wifi access throughout the library.