In the middle of the 17th century, due to the donations of Count Bernardino Ubaldini and Bishop Honorato degli Honorati, in Urbania the public library was rebuilt. The first one was built by the Dukes of Urbino and it was moved to Urbania by Francesco Maria della Rovere.
Only 400 volumes were left of the famous humanist library whose collection was started by Federico da Montefeltro in the 15th century. After the annexation of the Duchy of Urbino to the Kingdom of Italy, Pope Alessandro III brought to Rome most part of the ancient library which is housed at the Vatican Library and the Alessandrina Library.
Nevertheless in Urbania a 17th century manuscript is preserved which was written by a Friar Minor called Giuseppe Maria. It lists the books of the public library and all of them belonged to the Dukes of Urbino. There are also two globes by Gerardo Mercatone dated 1541 and 1551.
In the 18th century the collection was widened by the Counts Matarozzi Brancaleoni and at Napoleon’s times by the collection of books belonging to the abolished religious Minor orders. Other important bequeathals followed in the 20th century. In the library you can also find the Atlas by Zatta dated 1775 and the little Earth Globe attributed to Francesco de Mongenet.
The public library of Urbania boasts a good number of drawings, more than 700, coming from the Ubaldini collection.
At present the library holds about 50,000 volumes, 9,000 of which are ancient. Of great value are 36 incunabula, 1325 16th century writings, 183 parchments, 141 manuscripts, some of which are about the history of the Duchy of Urbino. A section is dedicated to art history and the history of ceramics.
In the modern section of the library you can find books about classical and contemporary fiction, both Italian and foreign, and a room is entirely dedicated to the Marche and another one to art. Many books deal with psychology, law, sociology, history, religion, theatre etc. Wide sections are reserved for children and multi-ethnic culture.
Encyclopedias and atlases are available for consultation.
The public library also organizes several initiatives, such as the Metauro Literary Award, a National poetry award and the Metauro on-line Award, a on-line fiction award.