The Russian State Library

The Russian State Library is the largest book depository in Russia, and one of the largest libraries in the world. The stocks of the library number over 70 million copies of various printed publications in 247 languages. The history of the library is closely connected to the name of a famous Russian collector and the State Chancellor Rumyantsev.

The Moscow Public Museum and the Rumyantsev Museum were opened in 1862. In 1913, in commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty, the Moscow Public Museum was renamed the Imperial Moscow Museum. During 1917-1924 the Rumyantsev Museum had the name of the State Rumyantsev Museum. The Rumyantsev library comprised of over 12 thousand volumes on Russian and world history. Today they are stored in the library’s holdings. Each volume has the inscription made by the Chancellor’s hand reading “To protect as your own eyes”.

There were 104 incunabula among Rumyantsev’s books; these are books that had been published before 1 January 1501. The collection contained also a number of Russian first-printed books; scientific works of the 17th -19th centuries, travelogues, the first edition of “The Lay of Igor’s Campaign” of 1800 and many other unique publications.
The birthday of the first open-to-public Moscow museum is considered to be 1 July 1862, when Emperor Alexander II signed “The Regulation on the Moscow Public Museum and the Rumyantsevsky Museum”. It is also the birthday of the first free public Moscow library which was a part of the museums. From that year on, the deposit copies of all publications were sent to the library.

The new book store room with 500,000 books capacity was attached to the library in 1914. The real inconvenience was the reading room with its very small area. The readers were forced to sit at window sills and in service rooms. In 1915, the main building’s second and third floor rooms were integrated into one big reading hall with 300 seats and a ceiling light. And during all the years of its existence, from 1915 to 1988, the readers saw the same unique green lamps on the tables and the same amazing cut-glass chandelier on the ceiling.

The construction of the new building for the State Public Library began in 1930 and completed in 1960. The buildings of this world’s largest book storage facility occupy an entire block. A new reading-hall was the biggest in Europe. There are plans to erect a new library building in the 21st century which, together with the main building, would further expand the city’s library block. Travel to Moscow