The Vatican Film Library was established on 16 November 1959 by Holy John XXIII with the objective of collecting and preserving films and recordings of television programmes on the life of the Church.

The archives contain around seven thousand catalogued titles, including historic films on the popes, Church events, commercial films of noteworthy interest and artistic value, and documentaries on current events. The works on film require special storage in climate controlled environments. They are kept in rooms where the temperature is maintained at 16° Celsius and 30% humidity.

The representative of the Vatican Film Library is an official observer on the SIGNIS Board of Directors on behalf of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications (until 2016, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications).