Russian National Library

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Main building on Nevsky Prospect
New branch on Moscow Prospect

The Russian National Library ( Russian Российская национальная библиотека ) in Saint Petersburg is the second largest library in Russia and one of the largest in the world . Together with the Russian State Library in Moscow and the library of President B. N. Yeltsin in Saint Petersburg, which opened in 2009, it is one of the three national libraries of the Russian Federation.


  • 1796–1917 Imperial Public Library ( Императорская публичная библиотека )
  • 1917–1925 Russian Public Library ( Российская публичная библиотека )
  • 1932–1992 Michael Saltykov Shchedrin Public Library (after the writer Mikhail Yevgrafovich Saltykov Shchedrin )
  • since 1992 Russian National Library


The basic holdings come from the Załuski library from the Kingdom of Poland (420,000 volumes), which the Russians had confiscated during the time of the Polish partition from 1772 to 1795. Parts of these books were returned to Poland , most recently 55,000 volumes from the Russian SFSR in 1921 .

In 1795, Catherine II founded the Imperial Public Library from her private collections in the Voltaire and Diderot libraries , which she had bought from her heirs . Voltaire's personal library is one of the highlights of the collection. The library was the first public library in the Russian Empire and served as the foundation for the country's second university .

From 1811 onwards, the library began to grow rapidly, as a deposit copy of every book published in Russia had to be deposited in the library from now on.

In 1814 the building for the library was completed according to plans by Carlo Rossi .


In 1914 the library already had around 3,000,000 volumes.

In 2005 the collection comprised over 34 million media units. These included 450,000 manuscripts and over 600,000 journal titles. In 2005 the library was visited by around 1.2 million users.

In 2010, more than 36 million media units were counted for the first time, the annual number of visitors, on the other hand, declined, only a little more than 1,000,000 people visited the National Library this year, who viewed over 7 million documents in the reading rooms, compared with over 10 million in 2005 Objects experienced such use.




In the documentary Cathedrals of Culture (2014), Michael Glawogger portrays the building of the Petersburg National Library as one of six important buildings worldwide.

Web links

Commons : National Library of Russia  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Kerstin Decker: Architecture film in 3-D: I am a house without a face. In: Der Tagesspiegel , April 12, 2014.

Coordinates: 59 ° 56 '0.7 "  N , 30 ° 20' 8.3"  E