History, Heritage and Activities

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The ISPRA Library, established by Law nr.133 of 2008, was created as a  single institution from the fusion of the following libraries:

  • Library of Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services (APAT) - formerly Library of the National Geological Service (dating from 1873), and Library of the Department of National Technical Services - DSNT - PCM - and Library of the National Environmental Protection Agency (ANPA);
  • Library of the Central Institute for Scientific and Technological Research Applied to the Sea (ICRAM);
  • Library of the National Institute for Wildlife (INFS).

The history of the Library began in the late Nineteenth Century. It has always been characterized by a careful policy of purchases and an intense exchanges of bibliographic and cartographic publications with the most representative Scientific Institutions of the world. Thereby, ISPRA Library has become one of the most complete  Earth Sciences and Environmental issues archive.


The current ISPRA Library holdings includes:

  • a prestigious 'Map Collection’ (about 50.000 ancient maps, published and inedited);
  • a rich and valuable collection of works of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries - witness the beginnings of Geology and Natural History in Italy;
  • approximately 44.600 monographs;
  • 3.100 periodicals, over 70.000 volumes
  • more than 57.700 collections of articles about Italian Geology.


The ISPRA Library since 2007, is certified UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 for the process "acquisition, catalouging treatment and management, conservation, protection and fruition of the documental heritage, bibliographic, cartographic and photographic material."
The Library joins the major networks and catalouging of Library cooperation for Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Document Delivery (DD) operating in the country:

  • SBN (National Library Service - consists of 66 poles and 3556 Italian libraries). The Library, since 1995, coordinates the activities of catalouging Polo Gea, which includes also the libraries of ORSA (Palermo) and of ARPA Puglia;
  • NILDE (Interlibrary Document Exchange Network), a system of delivery of the documents t which includes 638 multidisciplinary libraries;
  • ACNP (Archive National Collective Magazine) the most authoritative database of periodicals, constituted by 2581 Italian libraries, for a total of 839 .978 periodicals;
  • SBN - ILL (Interlibrary Loan) interlibrary loan system of the National Library Service.


The ISPRA Library adheres to the Network libraries and documentation centers ISPRA-ARPA-APPA

Areas of activity

  • Acquisition and management of the patrimony
  • In collaboration with the administrative office: purchase of monographs, periodicals, maps, databases, technical standards, also on the basis of suggestions from internal users.
  • Exchange ofpublications and gifts with Italian and foreign research institutions and identification of new reference institutions.
  • Protection and preservation of the material.
  • Management of logistics for material handling in offices and in storehouse.

Cataloguing, indexing and thesaurus development

  • Cataloguing and management of the bibliographic material, maps and photographs owned by the library, in compliance with the national and international standards in force
  • Participation in the Index System of the National Library Service (SBN) of ICCU
  • Coordination of the libraries belonging to the ISPRA network and evaluation of other libraries to join the network
  • Development and management of the Thist (Italian Thesaurus of Earth Sciences), ensuring its usability.
  • Services to users

Availability of the patrimony to internal and external users:

  • opening of the library to the public
  • consultation of the Online Catalog
  • bibliographic research in Italian and foreign databases and catalog
  • Loan and document delivery service to internal users and other libraries partners in the cooperation programs and other interested libraries (interlibrary loan and document delivery) following the prescribed procedure [LINK to that page ILL / DD].