Opening times of the Library
Tuesday and Thursday 12.00 – 18, Wednesday and Friday 10.00 – 16.00. The opening times of twenty-four hours a week can be increased by appointment.
Closed 24 June, the day of Saint John, patron saint of Turin and three weeks in August.
During the first meeting, on 23 October 1863, the founding members declared that both publishing activities and the collecting of documents were fundamental to the goals of the CAI and a few days later funds were allocated for the acquisition of books. Thanks to an agreement with the Academy of Sciences, the Alpine Club was entrusted with the meteorological Observatory and obtained from the Ministry of Public Education the use of a small building near the Castle of the Valentino, which became the Library’s first headquarters.
The cultural nature of the CAI, the ties between science and mountaineering, and the exchanges with similar associations led to the Library rapidly increasing.
Since the earliest years, the oldest texts about mountains were acquired alongside the newest publications. The collections were enriched by gifts from members while many well-known authors donated their works with dedications, among whom Walton, Whymper and Carrel; accounts of travel and exploration were donated by the Geographic Circle.
The Library conserves rare books, scientific studies, mountaineering classics, manuals and guidebooks to mountains all over the world.
In brief, its bibliographic heritage amounts to more than 40.000 books, 1630 magazine titles from all over the world numbering 20.000 annuals, about 10.000 topographic maps.
Historic archives. Thanks to the reorganisation carried out by the Superintendence of the Archival Heritage of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley there is now an inventory consultable at the portal of the SIUSA (Unified Informatics System for Archival Superintendences) http://siusa.archivi.beniculturali.it/.
The historical periodicals “Il Bollettino”, “Rivista” and “Lo Scarpone”, digitalised by the Library (about 130.000 pages) are accessible on http://www.tecadigitale.cai.it.
Leggere le montagne (“Reading Mountains”) is a project that fosters documentary heritage through events such as bibliographic exhibitions, readings and book presentations.
BiblioCAI, the coordination of the Sectional libraries, looks to the National Library for training volunteers.
The Library is a member of CoBiS, the Coordination of Special and Specialist Libraries in Turin, founded in 2008 to promote a network among the various documentary bodies and participates in the project Linked Open Data (website https://dati.cobis.to.it/).