The history of the establishment of the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library is full of people and events that describe the building of the first cultural post Liberation institution in golden letters.
The knowledge stored behind these majestic walls is irrefutable. And all who serve the temple of the book – serve the knowledge. It is a mission that defies ignorance.
It has been 144 years since Mikhail Bubotinov’s proposal in April 1878 to establish “a public library necessary for the cultural and educational development of Sofia”. And in just a few months, from April to December 1878, the thirst for knowledge and the popular will gave a powerful charge to the birth of our Library.
Thus a work conceived with light became a mission for hundreds of Bulgarians – to have a Library, which through books to preserve the national memory.
Today, 144 years after its establishment, the National Library is a worthy successor to its founders. Today, the Library can rightly be proud of its achievements, although there are always challenges along the way.
But the library family will overcome them because the past points the way to a productive future.
For 144 years, library work in our country has been a matter of honour for many intellectuals, figures of enlightenment, men of honor, bibliographers and librarians. Since 1897, when the National Assembly adopted a law on the compulsory deposit of printed publications in the national libraries, the activity of preserving and bibliographic registration of the publishing production in Bulgaria was officially entrusted to the National Library in Sofia.
The individual types of documents issued in the territory of the country, which the publishers are obliged to provide free of charge to the libraries, began to form a collection that is untouchable and must be kept under special conditions in order to be preserved for future generations. On the basis of the law, registration in the current national bibliography of the country also takes place. During the bombing of World War II, most of the holdings already accumulated in the Bulgarian Book Archive were destroyed. Their recovery in the difficult post-war years proved to be a lengthy and not easy process. In 1954, the Council of Ministers issued a special decree regulating the acquisition of the missing documents in the National Library, published before 1944.
Today the Library’s collection contains nearly 8.5 million documents. Every year, it receives about 70 000 publications. The National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” is the largest book treasury in Bulgaria.
Meet our judging panel for 2024 Dublin Literary Award
VideoJune 2 2023
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Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich win the prize for Marzahn, Mon Amour.
VideoMay 26 2023
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Author, Katja Oskamp and translator, Jo Heinrich in conversation.
VideoMay 25 2023
Flowers Say it Better, Love – A poem by Sarah Creighton Keogh
Commissioned for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony.