St.Gallen Abbey Library is one of the oldest, most important libraries in the world. Its valuable collection of books illustrates the development of European culture and chronicles the abbey’s cultural achievements from the 8th century until its dissolution in 1805. Numerous key specimens of European intellectual history are preserved here in an outstanding condition. The core of the collection is its corpus of Early Medieval manuscripts dating from the 8th to 11th centuries, most of which were produced on this very site.
Today, the Abbey Library is run by the Catholic Denomination Within the Canton of St.Gallen as a modern research library with a focus on the Middle Ages. The Abbey Library and the exhibitions mounted by the Abbey District of St.Gallen are major components in the Swiss museum landscape, attracting more than 150,000 visitors a year.
In 1983 the Abbey Library, along with the entire abbey complex in St.Gallen, was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. In 2017 the written heritage of the Abbey of St Gall preserved in the Abbey Library and Abbey Archives was granted Memory of the World status. These collections date back practically without interruption more than 1300 years to the time when the abbey was originally founded by Gall and Othmar. The Abbey Library has thus obtained two of the most prestigious distinctions awarded by UNESCO.