Designed by the Roman architect Vitruoya, the library was built in memory of Celsus Polemeanus, who was a Roman senator, General Governor of the Province of Asia, and a great lover of books. Celsus' son, Julius Aquila, began the construction in 110 AD. The library was completed by Julius Aquila's successors in 135 AD.
Celsus was buried beneath the ground floor in a lead container inside a marble tomb. A corridor behind the north wall leads to the vault.
The Library of Celsus was remarkable not only for its size and its beauty, but also for its clever and efficient design.