National and University Library in Zagreb

Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica u Zagrebu
(National and University Library in Zagreb)

National and University Library building
Country Croatia
Established 1607 (1607)
Location Zagreb
Size 3 million items
Legal deposit Yes, since 1816
Access and use
Population served 357,291 (2011)
718,850 online (2011)
Members 19,360
Other information
Director Tatijana Petrić

National and University Library in Zagreb (NUL) (Croatian: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica u Zagrebu, NSK; formerly Nacionalna i sveučilišna biblioteka u Zagrebu, NSB) is the national library of Croatia and central library of the University of Zagreb.

The Library was established in 1607. Its primary mission is the development and preservation of Croatian national written heritage. It holds around 3 million items.

Since 1995 the NUL has been located in an impressive glass cube in central Zagreb. This modern edifice was designed by renowned Croatian architects Velimir Neidhardt, Marijan Hržić, Zvonimir Krznarić and Davor Mance, and it took seven years to build (1988–1995).


The Library in numbers

The Library’s tasks

Some of the principal tasks of the Library are:

1. the assembling and organizing of the Croatian national collection of library materials and the coordination of the acquisition of international scientific works at both the national and the University level,

2. the preservation and restoration of library materials in the context of the international Preservation and Conservation programme (PAC),

3. the promotion of Croatian printed and electronic publications,

4. the integration of the Library’s bibliographic activities and information services into international programmes,

5. the organization of the Library as the centre of the library system of the Republic of Croatia and the University of Zagreb,

6. scientific research in the field of library and information sciences,

7. publishing and various promotional activities and the organization of exhibitions.


Digital collections

Special collections

Reading rooms collections

Historical overview

1607 Arrival of the Jesuit order in Zagreb and the establishment of the Jesuit grammar school

1611 Founding of the Jesuit College with an accompanying library

1645 The library is housed in a special hall, it has a librarian and the rules are established regarding the preservation and lending of books

1669 The Jesuit College acquires the status of the Academy by the Charter of King Leopold I and becomes Academia Zagrabiensis The library and its holdings are moved into an old building of the abandoned Dominican monastery in today’s 5 St. Catherine’s Square in the Old Town of Zagreb

1773 After the disbanding of the Jesuit order, the College continues with its provisional activities until 1776, when the library becomes part of the Royal Zagreb Academy of Sciences (Regia Academia Zagrabiensis) as an academy of law, philosophy and theology

1777 The library receives a generous bequest containing historical material from the clergyman Adam Baltazar Krčelić, whose written deed of donation includes his personal stipulation that this material be made available to the wider public

1816 The library officially starts gaining in national importance through newly introduced legal deposit regulations bearing on the University of Pest

1837 Legal deposit regulations are extended to the whole territory of Croatia and Slavonia Antun Kukuljević, politician and the founder of the Croatian educational system, changes the name of the library into the Latin name, Nationalis Academica Bibliotheca, highlighting the dual nature of the library’s educational and national functions, which it has jointly developed since then and symbolically preserved in its name to this very day

1874 The founding of the Franz Josef I Royal University in Zagreb Academy library (Bibliotheca Regiae Academiae Zagrabiensis) becomes part of the University and changes its name into University Library, which increases its significance and role in higher education

1913 With approximately 110,000 volumes, the library moves from the building of the present-day Rector’s Office into an impressive Art Nouveau edifice located in 21 Marko Marulić Square, the first building built specifically for the purposes of the library; designed to house 500,000 volumes, its premises soon become inadequate for the library’s 2,500,000 volumes – books, journals, newspapers and the particularly valuable items of the library’s special collections

1988 The laying of the foundation stone of the new library building

1995 The opening of the new library building, the Pantheon of the Croatian book, on 28 May as part of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of Croatia’s independence

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Coordinates: 45°47′48″N 15°58′39″E / 45.79667°N 15.97750°E / 45.79667; 15.97750

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