About the Library

The Ryan Memorial Library supports the mission of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary by facilitating its patrons’ interaction with recorded knowledge in all its forms. It responds to the curricular, informational, and research needs of its patrons by acquiring, housing, and providing access to books, periodicals, databases, audio-visual materials, digital media, and online resources, maintaining an appropriate environment for study and learning.

It plays a key role in the students’ education by providing various platforms on which the information and collective wisdom essential for their success is stored, equipping them with the skills necessary to navigate those platforms, and assisting them in their efforts to apply those skills in their academic work. The Library also makes its resources available to priests, deacons, parish ministers, religion teachers, and interested laypersons.

The Library's History:

As the research center of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, the official seminary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Ryan Memorial Library serves the students in the college, theology, diaconate and graduate divisions. It contains over 94,000 physical items in print and audiovisual format, and over 900 print and digital periodicals. Subject strengths include philosophy, patristics, systematic and moral theology, and Sacred Scripture. In addition, the Library has grouped certain items into special collections of Catholic devotional literature, liturgical books, and catechisms.

The collection’s origins go back to the foundation of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1832. The Library’s current Italian Renaissance-style building, opened on the Overbrook campus in 1911, is named for Patrick J. Ryan, the second Archbishop of Philadelphia. Its vaulted ceiling and arched windows create an imposing atmosphere conducive to research and serious study.