National Library of Latvia

The National Library of Latvia (NLL) (Latvian: Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka (LNB)) is the legal deposit library for Latvia. It holds 4.1 million books and other publications in more than 50 languages, covering all branches of knowledge and including special collections of rare books, manuscripts, periodicals, and more. The Director of the NLL is Andris Vilks.


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, the outstanding 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 life-long education.


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” .

In 2005 “The Index of the Authors of Letonica Books (1523-1919)” was published, supplying with the information about versatile branches of science and representatives of various nations, Latvia being in the limelight of their publications.

Among the treasures of the NLL can be mentioned the collection of posters (artists Oskars Šteinbergs (1882–1937), Sigismuds Vidbergs (1890–1970), Raoul Dufy (1877–1953), Bernhard Borchert (1863–1945), Niklavs Strunke (1894–1966) and others).


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 NLL collection of digitized historical periodicals in Latvian with the possibility to read full texts and search page by page. Latvia has unique and strong 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.

New building

On May 15, 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 will open its doors to the visitors in 2012. The first discussions about the need of a new National Library started already 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, calling the member states and the international community to ensure all possible support for the implementation of NLL project.

Building Activity

  • Radil Radenkov
    Radil Radenkov updated 3 digital references and updated
    about 6 years ago via