The National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan (NLRT) has a rich history. The beginning of the library was started with the collection of Ivan Vtorov, a local bibliophile and connoisseur of our region, consisting of 903 titles and 1908 volumes of books and periodicals. In 1844, the collection was donated to the city by his son N.I. Vtorov, who was a writer, archaeologist and ethnographer, with the purpose of opening a public library. However, the opening of the city public library did not take place until the 10th of January (or the 24th of January according to the Gregorian calendar), 1865.

Ivan Alexeyevich Vtorov

In 1906, a branch of the public library for the Moslem population was opened in Kazan which became one of the primary centres for Tatar enlightenment in Russia at that time. The initial inventory of the branch included editions in Russian and oriental languages, and consisted of 915 titles and 1277 volumes donated by the people.

The revolution of 1917 brought about further change to the history of the library. First it was named The Central Library of the Province (then in 1923, The Central City Library). In 1920, it was named after V.I. Lenin. In 1919, the branch for Moslems was reorganised into the City Library No. 5, and in 1922, into The Central Oriental Library, named after M. Vakhitov. In 1929, it was combined with The Central City Library.


In 1934, The Central Library was reorganised into The Regional Library, and in 1944 into The Library of the Republic and began to function as the centre for the methodical management of librarianship in the republic. In 1965, the new Charter of the Library was attained the status of the National Library. Today, the National Library is the main state book depository of the national, republican, Russian and foreign press, a multifunctional library and an information and research institution. It is also a cultural, bibliographic and methodical centre. The Library is the centre of the propagation of the culture of the Tatar people, a unique public library performing the functions of acquisition, preservation and distribution of Tatar books and literature of the republic. The library's inventory totals over 3,000,200 copies of documents, including 85,000 documents in the Tatar language.

The activity of the library is conducted according to laws of the Republic of Tatarstan concerning culture, libraries and librarianship, and the federal laws concerning copyrights of documents. Special articles of the law of the Republic of Tatarstan concern libraries anadopted and the library's status as a scientific library.

The year 1991 was very important for the history of the library. The legal status and fields of activity of the National Library were determined. Under the law, the library is considered an object of cultural heritage and of special value for the people of the Republic of Tatarstan. Its inventory has historical importance and the safe-keeping of documents is a priority for they constitute the cultural and scientific property of the republic for future generations.

In 1997, the Scientific Council was established. Its main objective is to assist the functioning and development of the library as a research institution. The council is composed of representatives from institutions of higher education, including Kazan State University, Kazan State Academy of Culture and Arts, Kazan State Teachers' Training University, the leading experts of the Institute for Language, Literature and Art of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Book Chamber of the Republic of Tatarstan, and The Scientific Library of Kazan State University, named after Lobachevsky.

The fields of activity of the Scientific Council include the review of legislative acts, management directives, research plans in the field of librarianship and book science, bibliography, programs of scientific research, and documents regulating activities of the library. The development of the editing/publishing policy and preparation and review of editions planned for publication constitute a separate trend of the council's activities.

The new wording of the Charter of the National Library has been adopted to reflect a wide range of activities, including information services, the automation of library and bibliographic business, scientific and methodical management of the activities of the state libraries of the republic, etc. The staff of the library numbers over 200 employees, of which 170 have higher and specialised secondary education.

When the National Library was celebrating its 135th year anniversary, an important event occurred. A board of trustees was established for the library by a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan (No. 247 of 06/04/2000). Its purpose is to render assistance for the development of information resources and the efficient functioning and management of the activities of the National Library, as well as to increase its role in the political, cultural/aesthetic and spiritual/moral life of the republic.

The board consists of the leading scientists of various scientific organisations, educational institutions, state officials, enterprises, organisations and commercial entities. The board is headed by Razil Valeyev, chairman of the Standing Committee for Science, Education, Culture and National Issues, member of Presidium of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Building of the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan

Books on the History of the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan

The National Library of Tatarstan: A Booklet

Dates in History of the Library

The 150th Anniversary of the Library

Directors of the Library

Outstanding People of the Library

The Tatar PEN Center: The Association of Writers of the Republic of Tatarstan

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Last updated: 10 April 2022, 11:07

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