Vatican Library Reopens After Three Year Restoration Project

AP/ dateline VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Monday announced it would re-open its library to scholars on September 20 after a massive restoration that kept it shut for three years.

The 16th century building underwent renovations worth 25 million euros (32 million dollars) and will re-open its doors to about 4,000 authorised researchers, Vatican librarian Raffaele Farina said at a press conference. [another source, ABC News claims renovations cost a bit under $11.5 milllion dollars...so which is it, 11.5 or 32 mill?]. The library is reported to hold 1.5 million books.

A new elevator connects the renovated reading rooms of the third floor -- where frescoes decorate the ceilings -- and the 800-square meter (8,600 square foot) underground concrete bunker where the manuscripts are kept. "It's nuke-proof," joked Sever Voicu, a curator of Greek manuscripts at the library.

The restoration of the building was decided in 2007 and includes the installation of a modern air-conditioning system to preserve older tomes, the consolidation of load-bearing walls and the installation of up-to-date security measures.

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