The Abbey Library of St. Gall: One of the Oldest Working Libraries in the World
Founded during the 8th century, the Abbey of St. Gall has served both the Church and scholars over the years. Its library has a particular draw because it is one of the oldest and most important monastic libraries in the world.
The Abbey of St. Gall was an important monastery located in St. Gallen, a town in the northeastern Swiss canton of the same name. It continued to serve its monastic function until it was secularized in the early 19th century. Several decades later, the former abbey church was consecrated as a cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Gallen.
The story of the Abbey of St. Gall begins with the Irish monk St. Gallus, a follower of the Irish missionary, St. Columbanus. According to tradition, in the year 612/613, St. Gallus was travelling southwards from Lake Constance into a forest when he received a divine sign (though various versions exist, most of them involve a bear). As a result of this, the monk decided to establish his hermitage on that spot.