Biblioteca Nacional de España
Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library of Spain) is a
major public library, the largest in Spain, and one of the largest in
the world. It is located in Madrid, on the Paseo de Recoletos.
2 The library today
3 See also
5 External links
The library was founded by King Philip V 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Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the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 Biblioteca Nacional to acquire the majority of the antique
and valuable books that it currently holds. In 1892 the building was
used to host the Historical American Exposition. 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.
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War 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 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 and complete remodelling of the
building on Paseo de Recoletos, 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).
Madrid premises are shared with the National Archaeological
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
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, 4,500,000
graphic materials, 600,000 sound recordings, 510,000 music scores,
more than 500,000 microforms, 500,000 maps, 143,000 newspapers and
serials, 90,000 audiovisuals, 90,000 electronic documents, and 30,000
The current director of the Biblioteca Nacional is Ana Santos
Aramburo, appointed in 2013. Former directors include her predecessors
Glòria Pérez-Salmerón (2010–2013) and Milagros del Corral
(2007-2010) as well as historian
Juan Pablo Fusi
Juan Pablo Fusi (1996–2000) and
Rosa Regàs (2004–2007).
Given its role as the legal deposit for the whole of Spain, since 1991
it has kept most of the overflowing collection at a secondary site in
Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid.
The Biblioteca Nacional provides access to its collections through the
following library services:
Guidance and general information on the institution and other
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.
Biblioteca Digital Hispánica (es), digital library launched in
2008 by the Biblioteca Nacional de España
List of libraries in Spain
^ "Carnés de la Biblioteca". www.bne.es (in Spanish). 20 March 2012.
Retrieved 4 February 2017.
^ "Carné de investigador. Biblioteca Nacional de España". www.bne.es
(in Spanish). 12 December 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
^ "Cronología. National Library of Spain". Retrieved 5 May
Media related to Biblioteca Nacional,
Madrid at Wikimedia Commons
Official site (in English)
Official web catalog (in English)
Stairs and main entrance with monuments to San Isidoro, Alonso
Berruguete, Alfonso X el Sabio by José Alcoverro
Statue of Hispania by
Agustí Querol above the library
A page from the manuscript of The Lay of the Cid
Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo
Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo in the lobby of the B.N.E.
Building of the National Library of
Spain in Alcalá de Henares
National libraries of Europe
Bosnia and Herzegovina
States with limited
Isle of Man
ISNI: 0000 0004 1765 9012
BNF: cb11873556v (data)