The Vatican Library, one of the worlds largest, preserves a rich collection covering many fields of human knowledge (literature, history, art, law, astronomy, mathematics, natural sciences, medicine, liturgy, patristics...). Here are some numbers to give an idea of its size: 80,000 manuscripts and around 100,000 archival units; over 8,600 incunabula; tens of thousands of sixteenth-century editions and even more seventeenth-century ones; 1,600,000 printed books; 300,000 coins and medals; 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings; and over 150,000 photographs.
The tasks of ensuring the preservation of such a collection; of putting collection at the disposal of scholars, both in the reading rooms and in the form of reproductions; and of providing adequate services to a large and specialized readership, all depend on constant attention to necessary modifications, consolidations, enlargements and acquisitions. Accomplishing all this requires considerable resources.
Numerous benefactors have generously and concretely contributed to the financing of the important and onerous building works in the Vatican Library, for the acquisition of photographic equipment, for the restoration of manuscripts and books, for cataloguing projects and other initiatives.The Vatican Library wishes to thank explicitly the following persons and Institutions which, in this way, have allowed it to improve the service it offers to the world of culture and research: