Melk Abbey Library
Ex litteris immortalitas | Immortality Through Books*
The main room of the monastery’s library and its adjoining room which are both open to visitors today, were once “the” library of Melk abbey when it was furnished in 1735 after the Baroque reconstruction. Already in 1768 it was expanded by the “Upper Library”, the two so-called Bergl rooms, which were connected to the other library rooms via a spiral staircase and which are not part of the abbey visit. Both areas – the two original library rooms and the “new” library with the collection of Baroque scientific books and a room for the natural history collection – make up Melk abbey’s Baroque library which conveys a very special impression to its visitors due to the representative arrangement of the books, which – together with the beautiful Baroque decorations – creates a total work of art.
Representative Visibility vs. Total Stock of Melk Abbey Library
The visitor sees a beautiful representative part of the library which corresponds to the original Baroque library, but doesn’t constitute the complete Baroque library and makes up only a segment of today’s Melk abbey library. In the 18th century more stack-rooms were adapted on the ground floor and the second floor, and then connected by the central spiral staircase. The collection is constantly being restocked and updated. The library is still an “active” one; researchers from all over the world are interested in its treasury of books which are time and again subject of research and scientific projects. The showcases in the main room have always provided a small insight into the particular cimelia preserved in this library. Since 1996 research projects and special exhibitions concerning current occasions or topics have been presented there.
Today the library holds about 100.000 books, including approximately 1800 manuscripts and 750 incunabula. Guests can see roughly 16.000 books in the main room and its adjoining room on the first floor.
The time has now come to start comprehensive restoration work from 2022 till 2032 in order to preserve the outstanding interior decoration and the precious books.
*inscription on the Western entrance to the library