National Library of Latvia

National Library of Latvia
Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka

The main building of the National Library of Latvia in Riga
Country Latvia
Type National library
Established 29 August 1919 (1919-08-29)
Location 8 buildings in Riga, Latvia
Size 4.1 million books and other publications
Other information
Director Andris Vilks
Staff 480

The National Library of Latvia is a national cultural institution under the supervision of the Latvian Ministry of Culture. The National Library of Latvia was formed in 1919 after the independent Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in 1918. The first supervisor of the Library was Jānis Misiņš, a librarian and the founder of the Latvian scientific bibliography (1862–1945).

Today the Library plays an important role in the development of Latvia's information society, providing Internet access to residents and supporting research and lifelong education.

The historical main building, Krišjāņa Barona iela 14


One of the characteristic cornerstones of the NLL, which characterizes every national library, is the formation of the collection of national literature, its eternal storage and long-term access.

The NLL is a centre of theoretical research and practical analyses of the activities of Latvian libraries. The Library carries out the functions of the centre of Latvia Interlibrary Loan, ensures the library and information service to the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia – the Saeima, implements the standardisation of the branch. Since the very outset, its main concern has been the national bibliography. The massive union catalogue "Ancient Prints in Latvian 1525 -1855 "(published in Riga, 1999), received Spīdola Prize in 2000 and was awarded "The Beautiful Book of the Year 99".[1]

In 2005 "The Index of the Authors of Letonica Books (1523–1919)" was published, providing information about versatile branches of science and representatives of various nations, Latvia being the main focus of their publications.

The NLL includes several collections of posters (artists Oskars Šteinbergs (1882–1937), Sigismunds Vidbergs (1890–1970), Raoul Dufy (1877–1953), Bernhard Borchert (1863–1945), Niklavs Strunke (1894–1966) and others). [2]


Digitising collections at the NLL started in 1999. At present the Latvian National Digital Library Letonica, which was formed in 2006, holds digitized collections of newspapers, pictures, maps, books, sheet-music and audio recordings. In 2008 NLL launched two major digital projects. is the NLL's collection of digitized historical periodicals in Latvian with the possibility to read full texts and search page by page.[3] Latvia has a tradition of Song and Dance Festivals organized every four years. The historical materials from the first Song Festival in 1864 till the Latgale Song Festival in 1940 can be explored in another digital collection of the National Library of Latvia.[4]

New building

Interior of the library
Conference hall Ziedonis
From the tower of St. Peter's Church

On 15 May 2008, after discussions lasting for many years, the state agency Three New Brothers and The Union of National Construction Companies signed the contract on the construction of the new National Library of Latvia. One of the notable architects is Gunārs Birkerts. It opened its doors to visitors in 2014. The first discussions about the need for a new National Library had already started in 1928, and the significance of the project of this century was further confirmed by the high-level international recognition. In 1999 almost all 170 UNESCO member states during its General Conference adopted a resolution,[5] calling the member states and the international community to ensure all possible support for the implementation of the NLL project.

Today the NLL building is a dominant landmark on the Riga cityscape. It is used for a variety of purposes and hosted a debate chaired by the BBC's Jonathan Dimbleby on 14 March 2016.[6]


LIBER 43rd Annual Conference

Development of the digital library services

Dissemination and Exploitation via Libraries: for Success and Sustainability of LLP Results

Effective training tools application to qualification improvement in library sector (ETQI)

Europeana Awareness

Europeana Inside

Europeana Newspapers

Europeana Sounds

The Exhibition "Book 1514–2014" and Academic readings "Content of the 21st Century"

The Impact of Digital text and Multimedia Format on Childhood Learning: a Multidimensional Approach

See also


  1. "About collection of NLL". Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  2. "Treasures of the National Library of Latvia". Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  3. "Latvijas Nacionālā digitālā bibliotēka" (in Latvian). Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  4. "Latviešu Dziesmu svētki (1864–1940)" (in Latvian). Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  5. "Resolution 38 adopted at the 30th session of the UNESCO General Conference" (PDF).
  6. BBC World Service report, 14 March 2016

Coordinates: 56°57′03″N 24°07′15″E / 56.950882°N 24.120897°E / 56.950882; 24.120897

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