National Library of Kosovo

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National Library of Kosovo
National Public Library Pristina Qiv Owned Image 30 August 2008.jpg
Reference to legal mandate The Government Approval Document for The National Library of Kosovo
Location Pristina, Kosovo [lower-alpha 1]
Coordinates 42°39′26″N21°9′44″E / 42.65722°N 21.16222°E / 42.65722; 21.16222 Coordinates: 42°39′26″N21°9′44″E / 42.65722°N 21.16222°E / 42.65722; 21.16222
Items collected books, journals, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts, maps, pictures and digital resources
Access and use
Other information
DirectorFazli Gajraku

The National Library of Kosovo (Albanian : Biblioteka Kombëtare e Kosovës; Serbian : Народна библиотека Косова, romanized: Narodna biblioteka Kosova) is the highest library institution in Kosovo [lower-alpha 1] established by the Assembly and is located in Pristina.

Albanian language Indo-European language

Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. With about 7.5 million speakers, it comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language in Europe.

Serbian language South Slavic language

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, co-official in the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro, where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Romanization of Serbian

The romanization of Serbian or latinization of Serbian is the representation of Serbian language using Latin letters. Serbian is written in two alphabets, the Serbian Cyrillic, a variation of Cyrillic alphabet, and Gaj's Latin, a variation of the Latin alphabet. Serbian language is an example of digraphia.


The mission of the library is to collect, preserve, promote and make accessible the documentary and intellectual heritage of Kosovo. It holds exhibitions and holds an archive of national newspapers. The library also provides a number of other services. It is known for its unique history, and the style of the building designed by Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjaković, followed by controversies about the outside appearance of it.

Art exhibition organized presentation and display of works of art

An art exhibition is traditionally the space in which art objects meet an audience. The exhibit is universally understood to be for some temporary period unless, as is rarely true, it is stated to be a "permanent exhibition". In American English, they may be called "exhibit", "exposition" or "show". In UK English, they are always called "exhibitions" or "shows", and an individual item in the show is an "exhibit".

Croatia sovereign republic in Southeast Europe

Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy. Its capital, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres and a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics.

Bird's-eye-view of the building National Library of Kosovo photo Arben Llapashtica.jpg
Bird's-eye-view of the building



The history of libraries in Kosovo dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. [1] Collections of the Christian and Muslim religious communities are considered as the oldest archives libraries in Kosovo. [2]

Kosovo's institutional library was officially founded in December 1944 in the city of Prizren, which at the time was the capital of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo. [3]

Prizren City and municipality in Prizren District, Kosovo

Prizren is a city and municipality located in the Prizren District of Kosovo. According to the 2011 census, the city of Prizren has 85,119 inhabitants, while the municipality has 177,781 inhabitants.

In 1982 the library was moved to the current building which was built in Pristina, the current capital of Kosovo.

Pristina Capital of Kosovo

Pristina or Prishtina is the capital and largest city of Kosovo. The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities. With a municipal population of 204,721 inhabitants (2016), Pristina is the second-largest city in the world with a predominantly Albanian-speaking population, after Albania's capital, Tirana. Within Serbia, it would be the 4th largest. Geographically, it is located in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains.

Over the years the National Library's name has changed depending on the political position of Kosovo. [4]

1944–1952Regional Library of Autonomous Province of Kosovo
1956–1961The Library Center of the Autonomous Province of Kosova and Metohija
1961–1970The National Provincial Library
1970–1990The National and University Library of Kosovo
1990–1999The National and University Library of Kosovo and Metohija
1999–2014The National and University Library of Kosovo
2014- currentThe National Library of Kosovo

Note that the former official names of the National Library of Kosovo are originally in Albanian and can be found in the library's journal Bibloletra


In 1989, Kosovo's status as an autonomous region of Serbia was revoked, tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanians working in the public sector lost their jobs, and Albanian students were prohibited from taking courses in the Albanian language. For public and private libraries in Kosovo, this was a time when many library collections were burned and destroyed.

The library was subsequently used to house a large number of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia who had fled their countries due to the Yugoslav Wars. After NATO's occupation of Kosovo in June 1999, it was revealed that the Yugoslav Army had used the library as a command-and-control centre. The materials inside had been stolen, reading room furniture smashed, and the card catalogue had been dumped in the basement. The library workers were kept out for a week while Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping troops checked the building for any hidden explosives. [5]

According to national and international organizations, about 100,000 Albanian-language books have been sent to the paper mill in Lipjan for pulping. Among those books were collections of national heritage, which explained the nation's origins and history. [6]


After the war in Kosovo there was a great will and desire to reconstruct the library buildings and re-establish library services at all levels. This was done with the assistance of a special group of experts from UNESCO, the Council of Europe (CoE) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). [7]

This special group of experts created different training programs like: Legislation and Administration, Mobile Library, Reconstruction, Book and Reading, Information Technology Professional Training and Development, Cultural Heritage, Children and Youth, Open Access Programme, Initiative Support, Twinning. [8] During the years of reorganization the National Library of Kosovo has been aided by many institutions such as the US Embassy, OSCE, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, German Artist Initiatives, Raiffeisen Bank. [9]



Another outside look of the Library focusing on the domes. National University Library of Kosovo.jpg
Another outside look of the Library focusing on the domes.

The most significant part of the current library is its building. There are contradictory opinions about its style, which have resulted in different versions regarding the building. The current building of the National Library of Kosovo was inaugurated on 25 November 1982. It was designed by the Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjaković. Its space consists of 16,500 square meters. It is made with zenith windows, with a total 99 domes of different sizes and is entirely covered in a metal fishing net, which have their own particular architectural symbolism. [10]

It houses two reading rooms with 300 and 100 seats respectively, a reading room for periodicals, rooms for special collections, cataloguing and research, a 150-seat amphitheatre and a 75-seat meeting hall. It has the capacity to accommodate about two million volumes. The materials are located on two levels below grade and are closed to the public. [11]

The lobby of the library is used for various cultural events. The floor of the hall is a unique work of diverse mosaic marble stone. The largest dome of the library is the main ornament of the hall's high ceiling, thus providing ample natural lighting. [12]

Style and controversy

Inside view of one of the domes. Dome, National Library Of Kosovo.JPG
Inside view of one of the domes.

According to the architect of the National Library of Kosovo the building is meant to represent a style blending Byzantine and Islamic architectural forms. [13] In other sources there are statements from the actual architect that “this project which is linked to the tradition of pre-Romanesque architecture of the Balkans, was being considered among other project for the Sarajevo National Library building”. [14]

By others this building is seen as a reaction to the impersonality of International Style and an attempt to combine modern means with regional traditions and rural architecture, [15] but also as a Modern-Metabolist style. [16]

Despite the official statements of the architect about the style of the National Library of Kosovo there are many other controversies when it comes to the appearance of the building and its meaning. One of the most famous versions is the one that connects the domes of the building with the national Albanian hat “plisi”. [17] This was the reason why Serbian politicians reacted very strongly about the appearance of the building. [18]

Another version is that this project was meant to reconcile the relations between Serbians and Albanians. Its domes are a combination of existing Turkish baths in Prizren and Patriarchate of Peć. [19]

Library cooperation

The National Library of Kosovo is responsible for coordinating all Kosovo libraries within the country. Also, it is responsible for supplying information for higher education and research, and access to various databases.


The National Library of Kosovo has 1,890,194 library units, with 475,324 titles, which 382,806 of them are books, 281,591 are magazines, 984,022 newspapers and 241,775 other units. Between 2004 and 2009 the library was enriched with 30,000 new titles. [20]

In 2013 the number of the library's collections reached 2 million units. [21]

Collections of rare old books, old newspapers and magazines, Albanian manuscripts with Latin, Greek and Arabic graphics are a precious treasure of cultural heritage stored in this institution. Also, maps, photo documents and other valuable documents present a great cultural heritage. [22]

The oldest book found in the National Library is Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis by Marin Barleti, written in Latin. [23]

Cataloging and classification

National Library of Kosovo uses three international cataloging standards. AACR2 which is ISNC standard, ISBD which is IFLA standard and MARC 21 standard. The National Library of Kosovo uses two standard classification of materials, Universal Decimal Classification and Subject Classification. [24]


Anyone may use National Library services, but people must be at least 18 to request and order materials from the collections. Items of the Library cannot be borrowed for home use and must be read in one of the reading rooms. About 5000 users are registered every year, making it the most frequented library in Kosovo. [25]

Although considered as one of the ugliest buildings in the world, [26] this doesn't stop it from being one of the most visited attractions in Kosovo. [27]


The National Library is a state institution which reports to the Ministry of Culture and it is regulated by law. [28] There are several mini libraries inside the National Library like the American Corner, Library of Contemporary Art, NATO Library, Music Library, Library for the Blind, Fehmi Agani Library, Library of Krist Maloki, Authors Archive Library, etc. [29]

Digital library

An analog catalog found in the National Library of Kosovo Analog Catalog, National Library of Kosovo.JPG
An analog catalog found in the National Library of Kosovo

Digitization for the National Library of Kosovo is a project of great importance. During this process, the National Library of Kosovo aims to put online the national heritage and other materials dealing with Kosovo to promote them and to make it easier for natives and individuals from other countries to have access to it. In 2008, with a view to developing a portal resembling the American Memory, Memory (Albanian : Kujtesa), the Documentary Centre of Kosovo was established.

Due to the very large number of documents that must digitized, a process that takes a lot of time, the Library has established a sequence of criteria for documents that must be digitized before others and one of the basic criteria is the cultural and historical value of that material. Based on those criteria, these are the documents that have priority in digitization : most requested material which is in poor physical condition, historical books and manuscripts, microfilms and other very required materials.

In general, materials that are most commonly digitized are rare books (49%), photographs (44%), manuscripts (39%), monographs (35%), music (30%), newspapers (9%), maps (1%).

Besides digitizing its own material the National Library of Kosovo provides access to some of the most popular electronic resources in the world and that made possible through the Electronic Library Consortium of Kosovo. For services for electronic resources in different libraries of the world the National Library of Kosovo was supported by Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, and by companies like EBSCO and GALE with financial support from the U.S. Embassy in Pristina. While Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo supported the Oxford Music Online and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo supported OXFORD Scholarship Online and Oxford Journal. [30]

Other libraries in Pristina

There are many other libraries in Kosovo, such as the Library of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo, Albanology Institute Library Pristina, Hivzi Sulejmani Public Library, and other school and faculty libraries, which are developed in scientific and educational institutions.

One of the main goals of the National Library of Kosovo is the establishment and reactivation of many new libraries in order to develop the librarianship of Kosovo.


  1. 1 2 Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognized as an independent state by 112 out of 193 United Nations member states, while 12 states have recognized Kosovo only to later withdraw their recognition.

Related Research Articles

The National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo was a radical left-wing nationalist political movement in Kosovo during the 90s, as well as a political party after the Kosovo war.

Peoples Movement of Kosovo

The People's Movement of Kosovo was a political party in Kosovo active after the Kosovo War, having originally been founded as a political movement of Albanian nationalists in 1981. Despite participating in several elections in autonomous Kosovo, its pre-war existence was its most historically significant period. Historically, its support and membership came from Albanian diaspora, especially within Switzerland and Germany, originating mainly from former Yugoslav republics.

Fadil Vokrri Albanian footballer from Kosovo

Fadil Avdullah Vokrri was a football administrator and player. He was president of the Football Federation of Kosovo from 16 February 2008 until his death on 9 June 2018.

The Kosovo national football team represents Kosovo in international men's football. It is controlled by the Football Federation of Kosovo, the governing body for football in Kosovo.

Islam in Kosovo

Islam in Kosovo has a long-standing tradition dating back to the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, including Kosovo. Before the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, the entire Balkan region had been Christianized by both the Western and Eastern Roman Empire. From 1389 until 1912, Kosovo was officially governed by the Muslim Ottoman Empire and, as such, a high level of Islamization occurred. During the time period after World War II, Kosovo was ruled by secular socialist authorities in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). During that period, Kosovars became increasingly secularized.After the end of Communist period religion had a revival in Kosovo. Today, 90-92% of Kosovo's population are Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Albanians. There are also Slavic speaking Muslims, who define themselves as Bosniaks and Gorani, and Turks.

Foreign relations of Kosovo are accomplished by efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo. Kosovo operates 24 embassies abroad and is host to 21 Embassies in Pristina. Kosovo has membership in several International Organisations.

Movement for Unification

The Movement for Unification is a political party in Kosovo. Its main goal is unification of Kosovo and all other former Yugoslavian territories populated by Albanians to Albania. Its leader is Avni Klinaku, known as co-founder of former National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo, a nationalist organization of the 1980s promoting active resistance and separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia, having some connections to People's Movement of Kosovo (PMK).

Classical music in Kosovo refers to the art music cultivated in Kosovo. The roots of classical music in Kosovo are found in the 1940s and include the time period from the times when Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia to this day. It can be said that there is a tradition of classical music in Kosovo, however, compared to other Balkan countries and especially European countries this tradition is younger. Classical music in Kosovo reaches back about 70 years. Even though in a short period of time, this music has evolved, passing through generations of composers and artists. In his book Zhvillimi i stileve në veprat e kompozitorëve shqiptarë të Kosovës, Engjëll Berisha comments:

The diversity of styles in Albanian music [of Kosovo], its national patterns with sound idea-aesthetic foundations are a characteristic of the European musical reality, so many many works are of interest abroad, too, because during this relatively short period Albanian classical music in Kosovo has compensated for the delay in its development.

Forests of Kosovo

The forests of Kosovo make up about 41% of the entire surface of the territory. Most of the forests are located in southwestern Kosovo, including the outskirts of Peje, Deçan, Istok, Junik and Gjakova and are protected by particular laws of the Kosovan Constitution. There are several types of forests in Kosovo and they are mostly represented by pinnate ones.

Bazaar of Pristina

The Bazaar of Pristina, Kosovo, was the core merchandising center of the Old Pristina since the 15th century, when it was built. It played a significant role in the physical, economic, and social development of Pristina. The Old Bazaar was destroyed during the 1950s and 1960s, following the modernization slogan of "Destroy the old, build the new". In its place, buildings of Kosovo Assembly, Municipality of Prishtina, PTT, and Brotherhood and Unity socialist square were built. Nowadays, instead of PTT building resides the Government of Kosovo building. Only few historical buildings, such as the Bazaar Mosque and ruins of the Bazaar Hammam have remained from the Bazaar complex. Since then, Pristina has lost part of its identity, and its cultural heritage has been scattered.

Media in Pristina

The media in Prishtina include some of the most important newspapers, largest publishing houses and most prolific television studio. Pristina is the largest communications center of media in Kosova. Almost all of the major media organizations in Kosova are based in Pristina.

Culture in Pristina

As the capital city of Kosovo, Pristina is the heart of the cultural and artistic development of all Albanians that live in Kosovo. The department of cultural affairs is just one of the segments that arranges the cultural events, which make Pristina one of the cities with the most emphasized cultural and artistic traditions.

Demographics of Pristina

As of December 2012 Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo, had a population of 205,133 registered inhabitants

Historical monuments in Pristina

Historical monuments in Pristina are made up of 21 monuments out of a total of 426 protected monuments all over Kosovo. A large number of these monuments date back to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Since 1945, the Yugoslav authorities followed the idea of constructing a modern Pristina by relying in the urban development motto “destroy the old, build the new” and this resulted with major changes in the structure of the buildings, their function and their surrounding environment. However, numerous types of monuments have been preserved, including four mosques, a restored orthodox church, an Ottoman bath, a public fountain, a clock tower, several traditional houses as well as European-influenced architecture buildings such as the Museum of Kosovo. These symbolize the historical and cultural character of Pristina as it was developed throughout centuries in the spirit of conquering empires.

Education in Pristina

Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, houses a great number of public and private institutions that have withstood the different periods that this country has experienced, fulfilling the academic aspirations of many generations.

Architecture of Kosovo

The Architecture of Kosovo dates back to the Neolithic Period and includes the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages, Antiquity and the Medieval period. It has been influenced by the presence of different civilizations and religions as evidenced by the structures which have survived to this day. Local builders have combined building techniques of conquering empires with the materials at hand and the existing conditions to develop their own varieties of dwellings.

The Islamic Community of Kosovo, is an independent religious organization of Muslims in Kosovo and the Preshevo Valley. The community's headquarters are located in Pristina and their current leader, the Grand Mufti, is Naim Tërnava.

This is a list of Kosovo national football team results from 1993 to 2019.

Albania's Golgotha: Indictment of the Exterminators of the Albanian People,, is a German published document of 1913 which was written by the Austrian publicist and politician Leo Freundlich (1875-1953). The document is a compilation of news which he gathered when traveling in the Vilayet of Kosovo during the Serbian invasion of 1912-1913, explaining in detail the full-scale massacres, rape, expulsions, torture and abuse which Albanian civilians suffered under Serb rule by the army and Chetnik paramilitaries. According to the documents of Freundlich, 25,000 Albanians were massacred in total. The document describes the methods of ethnic cleansing which was used to remove the Albanian population of Macedonia, Northern Albania, and Kosovo. The document was re-translated by Robert Elsie. The reports were confirmed by the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan War.


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  2. Riedlmayer, Andras. "Libraries and archives in Kosova: a postwar report". Fine Arts Library, Harvard University. Bosnian Institute.
  3. BKUK (2004). "60 vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 3: 1.
  4. BKUK (2009). "65-vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 2: 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. Riedlmayer, Andras. "Libraries and archives in Kosova: a postwar report". Fine Arts Library, Harvard University. Bosnian Institute.
  6. Carsten Frederiksen, Frode Bakken (April 2000), Libraries in Kosovo, IFLA/FAIFE Report
  7. Carsten Frederiksen, Frode Bakken (April 2000), Libraries in Kosovo, IFLA/FAIFE Report, p. 4
  8. Carsten Frederiksen, Frode Bakken (April 2000), Libraries in Kosovo, IFLA/FAIFE Report, p. 10
  9. BKUK (2009). "65-vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 2: 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. BKUK (2009). "65-vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 2: 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. Carsten Frederiksen, Frode Bakken (April 2000), Libraries in Kosovo, IFLA/FAIFE Report, p. 23
  12. "Kosovo National Library, Prishtina, Kosovo". Strange, Weird, Wonderful and Cool Buildings.
  13. Carsten Frederiksen, Frode Bakken (April 2000), Libraries in Kosovo, IFLA/FAIFE Report, p. 23
  14. Patricia Kiš. "Andrija Mutnjaković: Mislili su da se rugam, a ja nisam želio biti prosječan".
  15. Onup Magazine. "National Library".
  16. World Architecture Map. "Kosovo National Library".
  17. Qeveria e Kosoves. "Biblotekat".
  18. Dnevno. "The strangest library in the world?".
  19. Dnevno. "The strangest library in the world?".
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  21. kultplus (2013). "BKUK shënoi 69-të vjetorin e themelimit".
  22. BKUK (2009). "65-vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 2: 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. BKUK (2004). "60 vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 3: 14.
  24. The National Library of Kosova. "Standarde Bibliotekare".
  25. Bibloteka Kombetare e Kosoves. "Bibloteka Kombetare e Kosoves".
  26. Telegraph UK. "Are these the ugliest buildings in the world?".
  27. Kosovo Tourism. "Kosovo Tourism" (PDF).
  29. BKUK (2009). "65-vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 2: 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  30. BKUK (2009). "65-vjet të Biblotekës Kombëtare dhe Universitare të Kosovës" (PDF). Bibloletra. 2: 13–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)