Founded in 1688, Fermo's civic library was named after the doctor born in Fermo, Romolo Speziali, who worked in Rome in the court of the Swedish queen Christina, thanks to the intermediation of the Bishop Decio Azzolino, who was also born in Fermo. Then the doctor was also the personal doctor of the Bishop Ottoboni, who later became pope.
He bequeathed his prestigious collection of books, which was handed down by his famous protectors, to his native town.
Also other famous people from Fermo bequested their possessions to the library and the significant heritage of the suppressed religious orders in the 19th century further increased the collection.
In Fermo’s Civic Library the Spezioli collection is the main historical part and due to its quality and quantity, it makes it one of the 20 top Italian libraries; therefore it’s one of the most important institutions in Italy.
The large number of works included in the Speziali collection documents the relationship existing between Fermo and Rome in the 17th century. The five handwritten catalogs which arrived from Rome together with the books are important bibliographies not only of medicine in the 17th and 18th century but also about the cultural training of a doctor who lived in the 17th century , who was also requested to know history, physics, ethics and metaphysics.
The Civic library preserves illuminated manuscripts, very rare editions, an incredibly vast graphic collection. As a whole the collections include about 3,000 manuscripts, 127 codices, 300,000 documents, among which 800 historical magazines, 5,000 drawings, 6,500 engravings, coins, seals, 681 incunabula, more than 15,000 16th century editions, 23,000 mixed editions, a great deal of 17th and 18th century specimen and music pamphlets.
Some private donations, and particularly Romolo Spezioli’s one, are so specific that the oldest collection of the library is well known and widely used internationally for the very rare editions of medicine works.
In the library there are more than 6,000 prints and 4,000 drawings coming mainly from the collection of the architect Giovan Battista Carducci
At present the library is updating the modern collection, both in the bibliography and multimedia. Here you can find reference works, single monographs and a vast fiction section. A room is reserved for local collections.
The books about Africa, Salvadori, Sciences and Zavatti can be found at the Silvio Zavatti Ethnographic Polar Museum – Natural Science Museum "Tommaso Salvadori" at Villa Vitali in Fermo.
The original core of the Civic Library is the Globe Room which is in the Priori Building in Fermo. It’s named after the very precious handwritten globe dating back to 1713 made by Amanzio Moroncelli, an abbot and cartographer from Fabriano.
Worth mentioning is also the historical room, entirely equipped with walnut shelves, and provided with a two- storey walkway. It features an artistic ceiling made of fir and it preserves the most valuable part of the ancient collection of the library, which consists of about 16,000 volumes, mainly from the 16th century, mostly donated by Romolo Spezioli.
The Spezioli Library has a children's section, located on the first floor, which was opened in 1998. Soft cushions provide a comfortable seat. Young readers can choose and read poems, picture books, pop- up books, sound stories, nursery rhymes. There’s also a study room with encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, works of popularization, text books and fiction for youngsters, as well as a reading area for accompanying adults. Activities and workshops are organized in the afternoon.
The BUC machinery branch library ( BUC stands for library, university and conservatory) lies between the library and the G.B. Pergolesi conservatory and it connects the institutions of the town. It’s a multimedia library and here you can also find newspapers, magazines, CDs and VHS tapes.
In two small rooms you can listen to music and watch movies; four terminals located in the central halls provide Internet access to the public.
Many cultural events are held at the BUC: meeting with authors, book launches, guided listenings and workshops for schools.