The Zeri Library is a specialist History of Art library. It comprises more than 46,000 books, 37,000 auction catalogues, and 60 journals.
Born alongside of the photo archive towards the end of the 40s, the library represents its scientific continuation. 

The library collection reflects the scholar's professional and personal career, and its planning and layout was personally curated by him within his villa at Mentana.

The library is preserved exactly as its owner left it, as a genuine Author's Library, and its value lies not only in its volumes but its accessibility as well. The library lay-out aims to keep the original arrangement of volumes so as to preserve Zeri's connections and cross-references among sections. The classification system chosen makes it possible to distinguish the original kernel from later acquisitions.

Found within the volumes, and further enriching the value of the library, are dedications, handwritten annotations, and bookplates, as well as letters, ticket stubs, photographs, articles, reviews, theses, and pre-prints.

Today over 
39,000 volumes and over 18,000 auction catalogues are available in the Foundation's Library (new acquisitions included). They are catalogued according to the Bologna University libraries standards and are accessible in Opac-SBN (Sistema Bibliotecario Nazionale).
Cataloguing has revealed that 60% of the library's texts are not present elsewhere in Bologna, and 20% cannot be found in any other SBN library.



Making up the important nucleus of the collection are volumes of Italian painting from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, comprised of monographs, catalogues, and extracts (5,749). 
Important high-increment sections are being added, devoted to Italian and foreig n sculpture (1,807), museum catalogues (3,468), collections catalogues (464) and iconography (1,373), including exceptional acquisitions in the fields of still life, battle paintings and landscape.

In addition to those are sections dedicated to foreign painting (4,888), applied arts (1,289), photography (339), Italian topography (4,441), architecture (1,239), medieval art (410), heraldry (264), drawings (802), sources (615), engravings (368), archeology (1,466), barbaric art (370), 20th century art (843)non-European art (504), Byzantine art (479), illuminated manuscripts (412), exhibition catalogues (940), large format books (199).

The collection is further enriched by volumes originally belonging to scholar Franco Russoli (1923-1977), former Superintendent of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, which Zeri purchased in the early 1980s in order to save them from dispersion, and they are now distributed to their appropriate sections. Most are on contemporary artists from the mid-nineteenth century on.

The library, whose shelves are entirely accessible, boasts 39 reading stations equipped with wi-fi access, and computer stations from which the photo archive database and the library's catalogues can be consulted.

The design and furnishing of the large book reference room was conceived by architect Sergio Bettini, and was made possible thanks to a contribution by the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna.