The library organizes its collections on the basis of their heritage value. It also has an excellent collection of periodicals and private book collections that various authors decided to entrust to our institution.
Ever since its foundation the Alhambra Library has been building up an extensive collection, which is currently divided up as follows:
BOOKS PRIOR TO 1901
These are the books that formed the original collection, most of which were part of the donation made by the Conde de Romanones in 1909.
Many of these are valuable parts of our bibliographic heritage, including Civitatis Orbis Terrarum (1572) by Joris Hoefnagel, which was published by George Braum. This was the oldest book in the Alhambra Library until 2005 when a very special volume entitled Architettura con il suo comento et figure in volgar lingua raportato (1536) by Vitruvius was purchased.
Another unique book that is definitely worthy of mention is the photograph album made by the English photographer Charles Clifford in 1862 entitled Photographic souvenirs of the visit of Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses to the provinces of Andalusia and Murcia in September and October 1862. This was also part of the legacy of the Conde de Romanones.
BOOKS SUBSEQUENT TO 1901
This part of the collection has been built up according to normal procedures for increasing library stock, i.e. purchasing interesting books that fall within our particular subject range after selection amongst the distribution channels offered by publishers and booksellers, or via donation and exchange with other institutions with whom the Alhambra Library collaborates and which have a similar subject profile.
Periodicals are an important part of the collection and include the most representative Spanish and international titles on Islamic history and art. Most of these journals are published in Spanish but there are also titles in English, French, German and Arabic. Some of them are no longer published, making them especially valuable. In total there are 535 collections.
This is the name the Library gives to various collections received via donations and/or purchased from private libraries relating to people from our cultural and historic milieu.
- Ángel Barrios (1882-1964), a composer and guitarist from Granada, the son of compositor Antonio Barrios “El Polinario”, a friend of Manuel de Falla with very close links to the Alhambra, where he lived and which has a museum that bears his name. There are a total of 745 volumes whose varied contents reflect the literary, cultural and artistic interests of this fascinating musician.
- Jacinto Bosch Vilá (1922-1985) an eminent Arabist and Professor at the University of Granada, who had a library specializing in Islam.
- Leopoldo Torres Balbás (1888-1960), the architect responsible for the conservation and restoration of the Alhambra from 1923 to 1936, whose collection of books reflected his professional interests and concerns.