The first nucleus of this important library was created by its founder the Agnonese Baldassarre Labanca, and it came to contain 8000 volumes of an historical, philosophical and ethical nature, with the wish expressed “that the young people of Agnone know how to draw upon it, profit from it to their advantage and for the honor of their native town”. The library was opened on 20 September 1910 and was declared an Ethical Authority by royal decree on 9 February 1911. After alternating events over time, this library was about to fall into a state of complete abandonment. The turning point came in 1971, thanks to the intervention of Prof. Antonio Arduino who took charge of it, assisted by cultured individuals of the time and volunteers. This library, formed by funds donated by the above-mentioned Labanca, by the principal Luigi Gamberale and the engineer Federico Sabelli, gradually expanded with successive donations by illustrious Agnonese and with targeted purchases, until it reached the 60,000 volumes that it has today. Ancient and valuable tomes are part of this book heritage and some of them can be seen in the “Exhibition of Antique Books” which finds a worthy background in the monumental Palazzo San Francesco where the library is located.
When you are visiting the town this is an absolute must to see!
THE MUNICIPAL HISTORICAL ARCHIVE:
The old “Archivium Civitati Angloni was annexed to the old “ Baldassarre Labanca” library”, partly preserved in an antique Renaissance cabinet which, given the important contents of ancient parchments dating from 1200 to 1800, was equipped with seven locks whose keys had been entrusted to as many honored citizens, so that no one could access them how and when they wanted. The cabinet “lies” in a post that is barely visible! Other paper files and parchments had been stacked in random order in the same location. Thanks to the intervention of the Archival Superintendency this material was appropriately catalogued and restored, to become the pride of Agnone! This archive has been declared by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage as “unique in Molise for its considerable historical interest”. Other private archives have been add to the municipal one, and constitute an inexhaustible source for scholars and anyone who is curious about local history. Here you can carry out research on topics such as emigration (Agnone is one of the towns that has given so many of its children to the entire world) concentration camps, notary deeds and curiosities of the town and the countryside, and even more.