When the Monastery at Neusift was founded in 1142 and populated by Bishop Hartmann of Brixen with a small community of Augustiner Chorherren from Klosterneuburg books were required for the celebration of the liturgy and choral pray these included the order founding father`s “St Augustine`s Book of Regulations” as well as books for use in the monastery school which was established very soon after the founding of the monastery.
Today it is no longer possible to identify an uninterrupted treasure trail leading back to the origins of the library at Neustift. In general, the library suffered the same tragic destiny as the monastery. Without doubt during the monastery fires of 1190 and 1303 fire raged especially were books were stored. A library covered with a vaulted roof and, to a certain extent, fire proof was built in 1430 by Provost Ulrich II.
After loses during the Peasant Uprising 1525 the library flourished until the secularisation of 1807 when large collections and particularly valuable works were stolen. Some of these works were brought back to Neustift in 1816. Some manuscripts could be returned in 1929. Nevertheless, a part of the collection is still held by people outside the monastery and outside the province. The collection now consists of 96,000 works in its main catalogue indexed according to author and subject and is a substantial feature in the cultural landscape of South Tyrol.
The indexing of the collection by EHB has been concluded in February 2011.