Biblioteca Nacional de Chile

Last updated
National Library of Chile
Biblioteca Nacional de Chile (Vista Frontal).JPG
Front view of the National Library of Chile building
Location Santiago
Coordinates 33°26′32″S70°38′45″W / 33.4421°S 70.6457°W / -33.4421; -70.6457 Coordinates: 33°26′32″S70°38′45″W / 33.4421°S 70.6457°W / -33.4421; -70.6457
Size1,100,000 registries [1]
Access and use
Population served66,167,182 members of the public
Other information
DirectorÁngel Cabeza Monteira

The Biblioteca Nacional de Chile is the national library of Chile. It is located on the Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins in Santiago, in a building completed in 1925, though its history reaches to the early nineteenth century before it was relocated to its current home.

National library Library specifically established by the government

A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works. A national library is that library which has the duty of collecting and preserving the literature of the nation within and outside the country. Thus, national libraries are those libraries whose community is the nation at large. Examples include the British Library, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.

Chile Republic in South America

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.



The Aurora de Chile, Chile's first newspaper, is kept at the Biblioteca Nacional. Auroradechile-01.jpg
The Aurora de Chile , Chile's first newspaper, is kept at the Biblioteca Nacional.

The Biblioteca Nacional is, together with the Instituto Nacional and a small number of institutions, one of the first institutions created by the newly formed Republic of Chile in the Patria Vieja period. In the newspaper El Monitor Araucano , a Proclama de Fundación ("Proclamation of Foundation") of the Biblioteca Nacional was published on August 19, 1813. With this vision, a call was made to all the citizens to submit their books for the formation of one great public library. As with other republican institutions, the library was closed after the Disaster of Rancagua, in which the national troops were defeated by the army of the realistas . With the victorious Battle of Chacabuco, it was reopened and supported by the government, and started to receive important collections. The Supreme Director of Chile, Bernardo O'Higgins, named professor Manuel de Salas as the first director of the Biblioteca Nacional. In 1822 Friar Camilo Henríquez (director of the Aurora de Chile newspaper) was named as the second head librarian.

Patria Vieja

Patria Vieja refers to a time period in the History of Chile occurring between the First Junta of the Government and the Disaster of Rancagua. In this period measures were taken for the imprisonment of Fernando VII by Napoleon and this started the governmental organization of the Kingdom of Chile.

Battle of Chacabuco battle of the Spanish American wars of independence

The Battle of Chacabuco, fought during the Chilean War of Independence, occurred on February 12, 1817. The Army of the Andes of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata led by General Captain José de San Martín defeated the Spanish force led by Rafael Maroto. It was a defeat for the Captaincy General of Chile, the royalist government established after the division of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The Supreme Director of Chile was the seat in charge of Chile's administration following the independence from Spain in 1810, until 1826. Several juntas also ruled the country during this period.

Since its creation, the library had been a dependency of the Universidad de San Felipe and its successor, the Universidad de Chile, until it gained autonomy in 1852. In 1913, upon its 100th anniversary, the Biblioteca Nacional acquired the Monasterio de Santa Clara, located on the Alameda de las Delicias on present-day Cerro Santa Lucía. At the creation in 1929, the library was made into a dependency of the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos .


Chilean Hallroom (Seccion Chilena) of the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile Sala Gabriela Mistral de la Biblioteca Nacional de Chile.jpg
Chilean Hallroom (Sección Chilena) of the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile

Since 1925, Biblioteca Nacional has been situated in the centre of Santiago, Chile. It was formerly located in the square where now stands the Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Municipal Theater of Santiago).

Construction of the present building began in 1913. It was commissioned as one of the commemorative public works in honour of the first centenary of the independence of Chile. The building boasts an imposing façade of columns and arches, of very pronounced French neoclassical influence. The library shares its building with the Archivo Nacional de Chile (the National Archive). Adjoining the building is the Santa Lucía metro station, and to the east is Cerro Santa Lucía.

Neoclassical architecture Architectural style

Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

Santa Lucía metro station metro station in Santiago, Chile

Santa Lucia, is a station on the Santiago Metro in Santiago, Chile. It is underground, between the stations Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica on the same line. It is located on Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, in the commune of Santiago.

The interior, spread out over two main levels and a basement, has been embellished and decorated with carved marble staircases, sculptures and paintings from some of the country’s classic artists, such as Alfredo Helsby and Arturo Gordon.

Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, Computers hall, details of the doors Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, sala computadores detalle puerta.JPG
Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, Computers hall, details of the doors


The Biblioteca Nacional has an extensive and valuable collection of books and manuscripts. Several of these were acquired from or donated by their owners, making up an important national historical treasure. [2] The most important collections include:

Mariano Egaña 1846
Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna 1861
Andrés Bello 1865
Claude Gay 1873
José Ignacio Eyzaguirre Portales 1878
Diego Portales 1878
Aníbal Pinto 1885
Diego Barros Arana 1920
José Toribio Medina 1925
Enrique Matta Vial 1940
Raúl Silva Castro 1970
Guillermo Feliú Cruz 1974
Antonio Doddis 1974

See also

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Further reading