MainAbout the LibraryHistoryNational Library of Belarus (1992-2006)

National Library of Belarus (1992–2006)

The independence of the Republic of Belarus was proclaimed in 1991. The Library became the center of Belarusian national library system. In 1992 the BSSR State Library named after V.I. Lenin was renamed into the National Library of Belarus (NLB), that reflected the status change of the Library, increase of its importance in the cultural and social development of not only the state, but also the nation as a whole. New prospects were opened up for it, new tasks were set.

The National Library has taken a prominent place in the information infrastructure of the republic. According to the Republic of Belarus law "On Library Science in the Republic of Belarus" the National Library is a "unique and multifunctional Belarusian library center, the major universal scientific library, the keeper of universal spiritual values, and the treasury of Belarusian people’s cultural heritage and national memory". The Library had to face new challenges: new views on the national library and requirements for it, new forms of interaction both with libraries and other organizations and institutions. The library lived not only in conditions of the reorganization of political system, new economic circumstances, and global technological progress.

Users working with the electronic catalog

The Library catalogs

Development of the information society and modern technologies, and provided the National Library with new opportunities. The informatization of the Library was one of the priority tasks. As far back as in 1989 the Library started developing and implementing the republican automated information library system. As a result, acquisition, cataloguing, user service, and other library activities were automated. In 1993 the Library launched the development of its own electronic information resources including electronic catalogue and bibliographic, factual, graphic, and full text databases (“History of Belarus”, “Culture and Art of Belarus”,“Chernobyl”, “Belarus in Persons and Events", “Bibliology”).

Although for the implementation of these tasks it was necessary to put into service a new building. Like many big libraries of the world, the NLB lacked free spaces. The Library old premises couldn’t satisfy the Library and users needs. The complex of buildings built in the 30’s, which was further developed in the 60’s, and also reequipped for the needs of the library in the late 80’s and early 90’s, was unable to meet the increasing needs of society in the field of library and information services. During the 90’s, the work of the library was carried out against the background of limited facilities in old buildings for storing funds, serving readers, and supporting services. In a situation when the library was scattered throughout many buildings in the city, it became apparent that it was impossible to accomplish the entire range of diverse tasks facing the country's main library. They had to go to such unpopular measures, such as, for example, limiting service to students of I – II courses of higher educational institutions. The library urgently needed government assistance. In these circumstances the Library couldn't perform its duties. Thus the Library needed the urgent help from the State.

General reading room

The NLB urgent issues were discussed by the Republic of Belarus Supreme Council and widely covered by Belarusian mass media. The Belarusian Government made the decision to continue works on the Library new building. At the beginning of the 21st century (March 7th, 2002), the President of the Republic of Belarus issued a Resolution “On the construction of new premises of the National Library of Belarus”. The Belarusian people should have not only a unique and beautiful building, but also a modern library which would be the Belarusian national information portal providingaccess to the world information resources.

In summer 2004 the Belarusian Government made the decision to organize a national information center in the National Library of Belarus. In May 2005 the “Conception of the Belarusian national information, social and cultural centre in the new building of the National Library of Belarus” was adopted. The document defined new activities and duties of the Library.

Opening ceremony. June 16th, 2006.

Construction of the new building of the National Library of Belarus was a significant event of Belarusian cultural and social life and the new stage of the Library development. Since then both the Belarusian society and the Government have paid a particular attention to the Library. At the opening ceremony on June 16th, 2006, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said: "National Library of Belarus is the embodiment of the power and prosperity of our homeland, creativity and energy of Belarusian people". With the governmental support the Library performs its main task – safekeeping of Belarusian national memory.