Rome's St Patrick's Library to close after 60 years

Bastion of expat life in Rome closes down due to dwindling members.

The St Patrick's English-Language Lending Library, which is better remembered by Rome's expats as the S. Susanna Library, is to close its doors for good in February 2020.

Founded at the former American parish of S. Susanna more than 60 years ago, the library moved in its entirety with the American Catholic community in 2017 to its current location at St Patrick's Church on Via Boncompagni 31, near Via Veneto and the US embassy.

Over the decades the library was staffed by the Paulist Fathers along with dedicated volunteers and parishioners. It reopened exactly two years ago today, on 5 November 2017, in newly-restored rooms below St Patrick's Church which had been vacated by the Irish Augustinians due to lack of priests. The library also existed thanks to the generous donations of used and new book from members.

However over the last two years the library's paying members and volunteers have dwindled significantly. The rector of St Patrick's Church, Fr Greg Apparcel, told Wanted in Rome that the parish council had come to the "very sad" decision to close the library on 29 February, adding that there was "no alternative".

"With Amazon, Kindles, iPhones and other electronic means to read, we have basically become a used book store, which is not our purpose", Fr Apparcel said.

Before it closes down, the library will have a pre-Christmas used book sale from 13 November until 15 December during opening hours: Sun 10.00-12.30, Wed 15.00-18.00 and Thurs 11.00-15.30. The library will also accept recently-published English-language books until 15 December.

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Address Via Boncompagni, 31, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome's St Patrick's Library to close after 60 years

Via Boncompagni, 31, 00187 Roma RM, Italy