Two libraries under one roof

St.Isidore’s College has two important research libraries: the Wadding Library, and the Library of the Franciscan Editors of Quaracchi, which was transferred here from Grottaferrata in 2008. 

The Wadding Library was founded by Luke Wadding in the first quarter of the 17th century. This library today is a research library, specialising in philosophy, religion (sacred scripture, systematic theology, moral theology, canon law, church history, franciscanism, patristics, and hagiography), and also general history and art.  There is also an Irish section.  The Papal Bulls and diplomas, which belong to the library historically, are preserved in the Archives of the General Curia OFM. 

The patrimony of this library is made up of about 24,000 volumes, dated pre-1900, subdivided between manuscripts (about 280), “incunabula” (72), books of the 16th century (1,060), books of the 17th century (3,100), books of the 18th century (2,100), about 150 other books yet to be catalogued, probably from the 17th century, and “modern” books (16,946, and about 600 others not catalogued) generally belonging to the 19th century.  There are also some books edited after 1900, retained because they have particular relevance, or because of rarity, or because connected with the main thrust of the library, or because of their importance for study or consultation. 

Bull of Urban VIII regarding the use of the library

The main part of the library (excluding the collection of rare or antique books )is organised according to the Dewey Classification System. 

In 2006 it was decided to make a new inventory of all the books in the library and to do a complete reorganisation.  Many books from the years after 1900 were generously donated to the new theology college in Zimbabwe attended by Franciscans, among others. Other books considered not relevant to the main thrust of the library were passed on to other interested bodies.   


In preparing the Inventory, a considerable redundancy and incompleteness was noted in the card catalogue already present.  It was decided, therefore to construct a new electronic catalogue, which would allow for a better quality and usefulness in the catalogued data.  It was decided to use the IBIS software, and the first version of this catalogue is already available at The ultimate purpose of the reorganisation and cataloguing of the Wadding Library is to make this precious library accessible and valuable to students; in other words, to give new life to the Wadding Library and its treasures.   

Contacts: Wadding Library, Collegio S. Isidoro, Via degli Artisti 41, 00187 Roma, Italia

Telephone:  +39 06 4885359


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