The library of Fondazione Sella provides a rich store of information for researchers. It contains more than 20,000 works, including volumes and pamphlets; added to these are over 300 different periodicals and a considerable number of degree theses on a variety of subjects, written after consultation with the archive.
The original nucleus consisted of a collection of books that brothers Giuseppe Venanzio and Quintino Sella kept back for personal use from the volumes they donated to the town of Biella in 1876 and which were to form the first collection of the Municipal Library. 7,000 volumes were kept in the library at the monastery of San Gerolamo, and given to Fondazione Sella when it was created.
Over the years the library grew thanks to purchases and donations, focusing on subjects present in the Foundation’s archive, until it reached the size it is today. Subject areas are history, economic history, art, linguistics, geology, history of mountaineering, exploratory geography and photography, with particular reference to Biella and the surrounding areas, but also referring more generally to other Italian regions, especially Sardinia and Liguria.
Besides the library there are groups of books belonging to the archival collections preserved in the Foundation, such as the collection of specialised magazines – about 76 different titles – of the Federico Maggia archive (architect and engineer who lived in Biella from 1901 to 2003) or the books and pamphlets of Massimo Sella relative to his interests as scientist and director of the Institute of Marine Biology of Rovigno d’Istria.
Worthy of note is the collection of periodicals published by the Italian Alpine Club and ongoing today; in particular the “Bulletin of the CAI” from 1865, the “Monthly magazine of the CAI” from 1882 and the “Yearbooks of the CAI” from 1910. Also: “The Alpine Journal” from 1863 to 1974, “l’Annuaire du Club Alpine Français” from 1884 to 1903 and “Jahrbuch des Schweizer Alpen Club” from 1864 to 1923.