Biblioteca Nacional de España

Biblioteca Nacional de España

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The Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library of Spain) is a major public library
Public library
A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

, the largest in Spain.
It is located in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, on the Paseo de Recoletos
Paseo de Recoletos
Paseo de Recoletos is a wide boulevard in central Madrid leading from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón.From West to East it consists of:* Two southward lanes* The pedestrian walk* A southward Bus lane* Three southward lanes...

.

History


The library was founded by King Philip V
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 in 1712 as the Palace Public Library (Biblioteca Pública de Palacio). The Royal Letters Patent that he granted, the predecessor of the current legal deposit requirement, made it mandatory for printers to submit a copy of every book printed in Spain to the library. In 1836, the library's status as Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the Ministry of Governance (Ministerio de la Gobernación). At the same time, it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional.
During the 19th century, confiscations, purchases and donations enabled the BN to acquire the majority of the antique and valuable books that it currently holds. On March 16, 1896, the Biblioteca Nacional opened to the public in the same building in which it is currently housed and included a vast Reading Room on the main floor designed to hold 320 readers. In 1931 the Reading Room was reorganised, providing it with a major collection of reference works, and the General Reading Room was created to cater for students, workers and general readers.

During the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 close to 500,000 volumes were collected by the Confiscation Committee (Junta de Incautación) and stored in the Biblioteca Nacional to safeguard works of art and books held until then in religious establishments, palaces and private houses. During the 20th century numerous modifications were made to the building to adapt its rooms and repositories to its constantly expanding collections, to the growing volume of material received following the modification to the Legal Deposit
Legal deposit
Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The requirement is mostly limited to books and periodicals. The number of copies varies and can range from one to 19 . Typically, the national library is one of the...

 requirement in 1958, and to the numerous works purchased by the library. Among this building work, some of the most noteworthy changes were the alterations made in 1955 to triple the capacity of the library's repositories, and those started in 1986 and completed in 2000, which led to the creation of the new building in Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares , meaning Citadel on the river Henares, is a Spanish city, whose historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and one of the first bishoprics founded in Spain...

 and complete remodelling of the building on Paseo de Recoletos
Paseo de Recoletos
Paseo de Recoletos is a wide boulevard in central Madrid leading from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón.From West to East it consists of:* Two southward lanes* The pedestrian walk* A southward Bus lane* Three southward lanes...

, Madrid.


In 1986, when Spain's main bibliographic institutions - the National Newspaper Library (Hemeroteca Nacional), the Spanish Bibliographic Institute (Instituto Bibliográfico Hispánico) and the Centre for Documentary and Bibliographic Treasures (Centro del Tesoro Documental y Bibliográfico) - were incorporated into the Biblioteca Nacional, the library was established as the State Repository of Spain's Cultural Memory (Centro Estatal Depositario de la Memoria Cultural Española), making all of Spain's bibliographic output on any media available to the Spanish Library System and national and international researchers and cultural and educational institutions. In 1990 it was made an Autonomous Entity attached to the Ministry of Culture (Ministerio de Cultura).

The Madrid premises are shared with the National Archaeological Museum
National Archaeological Museum of Spain
The National Archaeological Museum of Spain is a museum in Madrid, Spain, located beside the Plaza de Colón , sharing its building with the National Library....

.

The Library today


The Biblioteca Nacional is Spain's highest library institution and is head of the Spanish Library System.

As the country's national library it is the centre responsible for identifying, preserving, conserving and disseminating information about Spain's documentary heritage and it aspires to be an essential point of reference for research into Spanish culture. In accordance with its Articles of Association, passed by Royal Decree 1581/1991 (R.D. 1581/1991) of October 31, 1991, its principal functions are to:


• Compile, catalogue and conserve bibliographic archives produced in any language of the Spanish state, or any other language, for the purposes of research, culture and information.


• Promote research through the study, loan and reproduction of its bibliographic archive.


• Disseminate information on Spain's bibliographic output based on the entries received through the legal deposit requirement


The library's collection consists of more than 26,000,000 items including 15,000,000 books and other printed materials, 30,000 manuscripts, 143,000 newspapers and serials, 4,500,000 graphic materials, 510,000 music scores, 500,000 maps, 600,000 sound recording, 90,000 audiovisuals, 90,000 electronic documents, more than 500,000 microforms, etc.

The current Library director is Milagros del Corral appointed in 2007. Former directors include historian Juan Pablo Fusi
Juan Pablo Fusi
Juan Pablo Fusi Aizpurua is a Spanish historian. He specialises in contemporary history, the Basque Country and nationalisms.-Studies:...

 (1996–2000) and author Rosa Regàs
Rosa Regàs
Rosa Regàs is a Spanish writer and novelist.-Biography:Rosa Regàs was born in Barcelona in 1933. During the Spanish Civil War she was exiled to France, until it ended when she was 6 years old. She was educated at a religious boarding school in Barcelona...

 (2004–2007).

Given its role as the legal deposit
Legal deposit
Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The requirement is mostly limited to books and periodicals. The number of copies varies and can range from one to 19 . Typically, the national library is one of the...

 for the whole of Spain, since 1991 it has kept most of the overflowing collection at a secondary site in Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares , meaning Citadel on the river Henares, is a Spanish city, whose historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and one of the first bishoprics founded in Spain...

, near Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

.

The Biblioteca Nacional provides access to its collections through the following library services:


• Guidance and general information on the institution and other libraries.
Bibliographic information about its collection and those held by other libraries or library systems.


• Access to its automated catalogue, which currently contains close to 3,000,000 bibliographic records encompassing all of its collections.


• Archive consultation in the library's reading rooms.


• Interlibrary loans.


• Archive reproduction.

External links