The library is named after J. Francis Cardinal Stafford, Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican and former Archbishop of Denver (1986-1996). While archbishop, Cardinal Stafford was a dedicated user and promoter of the library and of Catholic education. He was the driving force behind the establishment of St. John Vianney Seminary on the grounds of the former St. Thomas Seminary.
The Cardinal Stafford Library serves as a religious, intellectual, and cultural resource in Northern Colorado as it contributes to the educational excellence of St. John Vianney Seminary. Beyond the seminary community, the Library serves the needs of other educational programs in the Archdiocese of Denver, including the St Francis School for Deacons, the Biblical School, the Catechetical School, and the Augustine Institute. The library also extends its resources and services to the general public and enhances the cultural atmosphere of Northern Colorado by hosting a used book sale, book clubs, art exhibits, book signings and lectures.