The National Library of Sweden
is the national library
A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books...
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....
. As such it collects and preserves all domestic printed
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....
The term Audio-Visual may refer to works with both a sound and a visual component, the production or use of such works, or to equipment used to create and present such works...
materials in Swedish
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...
, as well as content with Swedish association published abroad. Being a research library, it also has major collections of literature in other languages.
The Collections consist of more than 20 million objects. They contain, apart from books, posters, pictures, manuscripts, newspapers and much more. The audio-viusal collection consists of more than 7 million hours of recorded material.
The National Library is also a humanities research library with collections of foreign literature in a wide range of subjects including archeology, history
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...
, literature studies, and art history
Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and style...
The National Library also purchases literature about Sweden written in foreign languages and works by Swedes published abroad, a category known as suecana. The National Library has been collecting floppy disk
A floppy disk is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles...
s, CR-Rs, and other electronic storage media since the mid 1990s, along with e-book
An electronic book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital...
s, e-journals, website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...
s, and other digital material
In 1953, the National Library purchased considerable amounts of Russian literature from Leningrad
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...
. These books were to form the basis of a Slavonic library in Stockholm. These plans were consolidated in an agreement made in 1964 between the Lenin Library in Moscow and the National Library in which the respective libraries agreed to exchange their countries' literature.
According to the Swedish Legal Deposit Act publishers of printed material must send one copy of every object to the National Library and six other research libraries. Publishers of music, film, radio and TV must similarly submit copies to the library. In some cases only a sample of broadcast material has to be submitted.
The obligation to collect all printed works in Swedish was laid down in 1661 in an ordinance from the Swedish Privy Council Chancery. The ordinance (legal deposit) ordered all printers in Sweden to send two copies of every publication printed to the Chancery before the material was distributed. One copy was to go to the Swedish National Archives (Riksarkivet), the other to the National Library. The motive for this provision stemmed not from a desire to preserve publications for posterity but from a desire to monitor their contents.
The National Library is responsible for supplying information to higher education and research, which includes obtaining central license agreements for research and university libraries to increase access to various databases.
The National Library maintains and develops LIBRIS, the national library database system. LIBRIS
LIBRIS is a Swedish national union catalogue maintained by the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. It is possible to freely search about 6.5 million titles nationwide.-External links:* English version of the site...
is freely available to the public via the Internet and contains more than five million titles held in 300 Swedish libraries.
The Swedish ISBN Agency is a unit within the Royal Library
, responsible for assigning ISBNs having the country prefix 91- (and 978-91-) for Sweden.
Anyone may use National Library services, but people must be at least 18 to request and order materials from the collections. Items in the Swedish collection cannot be borrowed for home use and must be read in one of the reading rooms.
The National Library is located in Humlegården
Humlegården is a major park in Östermalm in Stockholm. It is the location of the Royal Library and in the centre of the park is a large statue of Carl von Linné, better known as Linnaeus.- History :...
in central Stockholm. The correct written form of the name is “The National Library of Sweden” or in Swedish, "Kungl. biblioteket".
The roots of what we now know as the National Library go back to the days of King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. The king collected books on a variety of subjects including history, science, and theology, as well as maps. The collections were expanded by Eric XIV, Johan III, and Charles IX
Charles IX of Sweden also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1604 until his death. He was the youngest son of King Gustav I of Sweden and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud, brother of Eric XIV and John III of Sweden, and uncle of Sigismund III Vasa king of both Sweden and Poland...
and kept in the Royal Palace known as Tre Kronor
Tre kronor, Swedish "Three crowns", may refer to:*Three Crowns, a national emblem of Sweden*Sweden men's national ice hockey team, which has the Swedish national emblem on its jersey*Tre Kronor , a 16th century royal castle in Stockholm, Sweden...
(The Three Crowns). Some books were purchased abroad and others were confiscated from Swedish monasteries dissolved in the Reformation. King Gustavus Adolphus gave away parts of the royal book collection in 1620 and those books were the foundation of the Uppsala University
Uppsala University is a research university in Uppsala, Sweden, and is the oldest university in Scandinavia, founded in 1477. It consistently ranks among the best universities in Northern Europe in international rankings and is generally considered one of the most prestigious institutions of...
The collection was also expanded through spoils of war taken during the Thirty Years War. These captured treasures included the episcopal library of Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....
in 1631, the University of Olomouc library in 1642, and the royal library of Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...
in 1649. It was in this connection that the 13th century “Devil's Bible”
(the Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world. It is also known as the Devil's Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside and the legend surrounding its creation. It is thought to have been created in the early 13th century in the Benedictine...
) came to Stockholm. Queen Christina
Christina , later adopted the name Christina Alexandra, was Queen regnant of Swedes, Goths and Vandals, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and Karelia, from 1633 to 1654. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora...
took much of this material with her to Rome after she abdicated the Swedish throne, but the royal collections continued to grow during the reign of Charles X Gustav through additional spoils of war and purchases abroad. The manuscript collection also includes the Stockholm Codex Aureus
The Stockholm Codex Aureus is an Insular Gospel book written in the mid-eighth century in Southumbria, probably in Canterbury...
Under the Chancery Decree of 1661, all book printers in Sweden were required by law to submit two copies of everything they printed – one copy for the National Archives and the other for the National Library. Rather than to acquire newly published literature for research purposes, the decree reflected the desire of a great power to exert state control and censorship.
Much of the library went up in flames during the great palace fire of 1697 when 17,286 bound volumes and 1,103 manuscripts were lost. Only 6,700 volumes and 283 manuscripts survived. Thereafter, the books were stored temporarily in various noble palaces in Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...
, first in Count Lillie’s house on what was then Norrmalm Square (1697–1702), and later in the Bonde Palace (1702–1730), and Count Per Brahe’s house on Helgeandsholmen (1730–1768). Finally, in 1768, the collections could be moved into the northeast wing of the new royal palace.
The collection grew further in its new home when the Antiquities Archive was dissolved in 1780 and most of the books kept there were transferred to the National Library. In 1792, Gustav III
Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolph Frederick and Queen Louise Ulrica of Sweden, she a sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia....
donated his private library of 14,500 works and four years later, Gustav IV Adolf donated 7,500 works. As a result, the National Library owned about 40,000 works by 1814.
Several large book collections, either donated or purchased, came to the National Library in the 19th century. Space was limited in the palace and a new home for the collections was required. In 1877, the National Library moved into new, dedicated premises in Humlegården. The library began installing electric lighting in 1887, but the library was not fully electrified until 1964.
At first, the royal book collections were kept in the Royal Palace (Tre Kronor), which burned down in 1697. The National Library moved into its current building in Humlegården in December/January 1877/1878. The building was designed by Gustaf Dahl and built in the innovative cast iron technique. The two wings were added in 1926-27.
The National Library was reopened in spring 1997 after comprehensive remodeling and additions. Two large underground stacks were built into the bedrock now contain the bulk of the library's collections, while library patrons, other visitors, and employees share the space in the main building.
The new section, called the Annex, contains auditoriums, exhibition rooms, and a microfilm reading room. All Swedish daily newspapers and a large number of foreign newspapers are available on microfilm in the Microfilm Reading Room.
The National Library is a state agency that reports to the Ministry of Education and Research. Gunnar Sahlin has been the National Librarian of Sweden since 2003.
Since January 1:st 2009 the former Swedish National Archive of Recorded Sound and Moving Images
The Swedish National Archive of Recorded Sound and Moving Images, in Swedish Statens ljud- och bildarkiv, SLBA, was founded in 1979 with the aim to collect and preserve all film and recorded sound produced in Sweden, including radio and television programs...
has been merged with the National Library.
Since 24 March 1997, the National Library also archives the Swedish part of the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...
as part of a project called kulturarw3
(a play on words; kulturarv
is Swedish for cultural heritage). Initially, the contents were not available to the public due to copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...
issues, but visitors to the library can access the archive from dedicated read-only computers on library premises. The project was discontinued in early 2010.
The library is also engaged in the automated collection of electronic resources including e-books and digital print editions from publishers of newspapers and periodicals. An extensive project to digitize physical material at risk of destruction is also in progress.