Despite rumblings from anxious researchers, the Vatican Library has closed its doors for at least 3 years to undergo renovations after an inspection this year revealed that the structure couldn’t support the weight of its books. Reading rooms were unusually full last week, the BBC reports, as researchers got in as much work as possible with time ticking down.
Before the closure, the first in the library's 500-year history, engineers gave staffers just 3 months to remove 350,000 books from the endangered area. Meanwhile, scholars around the world protested the short notice, citing the library's unique resources. Between now and the reopening, expected in 2010, scholars can still request microfilm and photocopies.