The collection comprises Western and Eastern manuscripts, autograph manuscripts and incunabula – of which one tenth are rare or unique items. There are also several thousand original prints dating from between the 16th and the 20th centuries. Among the treasures of this collection are the oldest known manuscript of the Gospel of Saint John, three manuscripts of Dante, Goethe several texts autographs and original edition of the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels. In the catalog e-codices are scanned several manuscripts of the Library Bodmeriana.
Martin Bodmer thought his library like a museum. There houses a permanent exhibition, which traces the history of civilization by providing a chronological as well as temporary exhibitions.