The Como Library has an ancient tradition. Its activity started in 1663, when a notable of the city, Francesco Benzi, decided to donate his book patrimony to create a public library.
In the 18th century the Library acquired the books belonging to the suppressed religious corporations and became property of the local government. During the 19th century the Library obtained many donations and complete important collections, such as Dr. Francesco Mochetti's rare books collection and the donations of Mondelli, Silva and Pogliani. In 1843 the acquired volumes were seventeen-thousand.
The 20th century donations were those of Giuseppe Ghislanzoni (about 4000 ancient volumes), Aristide Baragiola (about 1000 German literature books), Giuseppe Casati (1000 music scores) and Marco Enrico Bossi (with his own music works collection).
In 1969 the Library was finally transferred in its new premises, allowing the creation of new services and the exploitation of such an important book patrimony. Film showing, exhibitions and congresses greatly improved the reading activity. During the last decades a particular attention has been paid to the recovery and exploitation of ancient and rare books, manuscripts, prints and important magazine collections, what is proper for an historical and conservative Library like that of Como.