National Library of Latvia

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National Library of Latvia
Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka
National Library of Latvia.jpg
The main building of the National Library of Latvia in Riga
Country Latvia
Type National library
Established29 August 1919(99 years ago) (1919-08-29)
Location8 buildings in Riga, Latvia
Collection
Size4.1 million books and other publications
Other information
DirectorAndris Vilks
Staff480
Websitewww.lnb.lv

The National Library of Latvia (Latvian : Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka) also known as Castle of Light (Gaismas pils) is a national cultural institution under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture of Latvia. The National Library of Latvia was formed in 1919 after the independent Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in 1918. The first supervisor of the Library was Jānis Misiņš, a librarian and the founder of the Latvian scientific bibliography (1862–1945).

Latvian language Baltic language, official in Latvia and the European Union

Latvian is a Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Latvians and the official language of Latvia as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. It is sometimes known in English as Lettish, and cognates of the word remain the most commonly used name for the Latvian language in Germanic languages other than English and Norwegian. There are about 1.3 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and 100,000 abroad. Altogether, 2 million, or 80% of the population of Latvia, speak Latvian. Of those, 1.16 million or 56% use it as their primary language at home. The use of the Latvian language in various areas of social life in Latvia is increasing.

Contents

Today the Library plays an important role in the development of Latvia's information society, providing Internet access to residents and supporting research and lifelong education.

The historical main building, Krisjana Barona iela 14 National Library of Latvia01.JPG
The historical main building, Krišjāņa Barona iela 14

History

Interwar period

The National Library was founded on 29 August 1919, one year after independence, as the State Library (Valsts Bibliotēka). [1] Its first chief librarian and bibliographer was Jānis Misiņš (1862-1944) who made his immense private collection the basis of the new library. [2] Within a year, until 1920, the stocks had grown to 250,000 volumes. [3] Starting in the same year, all publishers were obliged to hand in a deposit copy of their works. Since 1927, the Library has published the National Bibliography of Latvia.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union Process leading to the late-1991 breakup of the USSR

The dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred on 26 December 1991, officially granting self-governing independence to the Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was a result of the declaration number 142-Н of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), although five of the signatories ratified it much later or did not do so at all. On the previous day, 25 December, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the USSR, resigned, declared his office extinct and handed over its powers—including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes—to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. That evening at 7:32 p.m., the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag.

There were significant additions in 1939 and 1940, when the State Library took over many of the libraries and collections of the Baltic Germans, most of whom resettled to the Reich. Among these was a large part of the collection of the Society for History and Archaeology of Russia's Baltic Provinces, est. 1834, the primary historical society of the Baltic Germans. [1] In 1940, holdings encompassed 1.7 million volumes, [3] so that they had to be stored in two different locations in the Old Town (Jēkaba iela 6/8 and Anglikāņu iela 5).

Baltic Germans ethnic Germans inhabitants of the eastern Baltic Sea

The Baltic Germans are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia. Since their expulsion from Estonia and Latvia and resettlement during the upheavals and aftermath of the Second World War, Baltic Germans have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group. The largest groups of present-day descendants of the Baltic Germans are found in Germany and Canada. It is estimated that several thousand still reside in Latvia and Estonia.

German and Soviet occupation

During the German occupation of Riga (1941-1944), the State Library was renamed Country Library (Zemes bibliotēka), eliminating reference to a sovereign Latvian state). Under Soviet rule, it was known as State Library of the Latvian SSR (Latvijas PSR Valsts bibliotēka). [1] According to Soviet customs, in 1966 it received an honorary name, commemorating Vilis Lācis, a writer and the late prime minister of Soviet Latvia. From 1946, literature deemed 'dangerous' from the Soviet perspective was withdrawn from the shelves and could be accessed only with a special permit until 1988. [4] In 1956, the State Library moved into its new building at Krišjāņa Barona iela.

German occupation of Latvia during World War II

The occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany was completed on July 10, 1941 by Germany's armed forces. Latvia became a part of Nazi Germany's Reichskommissariat Ostland—the Province General of Latvia. Anyone not racially acceptable or who opposed the German occupation, as well as those who had cooperated with the Soviet Union, were killed or sent to concentration camps in accordance with the Nazi Generalplan Ost.

Vilis Lācis Latvian writer, politician

Vilis Lācis was a Latvian writer and communist politician.

Renewed independence

Since the reestablishment of national independence 1991, the institution has been called National Library of Latvia. In 1995, it received as a permanent loan the Baltic Central Library of Otto Bong (1918-2006), a collection pertaining to the history, regional studies and languages of the Baltic countries. [5] In 2006, the National Library joined the European Library online service.

Collections

The Library's holdings today encompass more than 5 million titles, incl. about 18,000 manuscripts from the 14th century up to modern times. [6] One of the characteristic cornerstones of the NLL, which characterizes every national library, is the formation of the collection of national literature, its eternal storage and long-term access.

The NLL is a centre of theoretical research and practical analyses of the activities of Latvian libraries. The Library carries out the functions of the centre of Latvia Interlibrary Loan, ensures the library and information service to the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia – the Saeima, implements the standardisation of the branch. Since the very outset, its main concern has been the national bibliography. The massive union catalogue Seniespiedumi latviešu valodā (Ancient Prints in Latvian 1525-1855, published in Riga, 1999) [7] received the Spīdola Prize in 2000 and was awarded The Beautiful Book of the Year 99. [8] In 2005, the Letonikas grāmatu autoru rādītājs (1523-1919) (Index of the Authors of Lettonica Books (1523–1919)) was published, [9] providing information about versatile branches of science and representatives of various nations, Latvia being the main focus of their publications.

The NLL includes several collections of posters (artists Oskars Šteinbergs (1882–1937), Sigismunds Vidbergs (1890–1970), Raoul Dufy (1877–1953), Bernhard Borchert (1863–1945), Niklāvs Strunke (1894–1966) and others). [10]

Lettonica

Digitising collections at the NLL started in 1999. At present the Latvian National Digital Library Letonica, which was formed in 2006, holds digitized collections of newspapers, pictures, maps, books, sheet-music and audio recordings. In 2008 NLL launched two major digital projects. Periodika.lv is the NLL's collection of digitized historical periodicals in Latvian with the possibility to read full texts and search page by page. [11] Latvia has a tradition of Song and Dance Festivals organized every four years. The historical materials from the first Song Festival in 1864 till the Latgale Song Festival in 1940 can be explored in another digital collection of the National Library of Latvia. [12]

New building

Interior of the library Letlands Nationalbibliotek niveau 1.JPG
Interior of the library
Conference hall Ziedonis Ziedonis koncertsal (Letlands Nationalbibliotek).JPG
Conference hall Ziedonis
From the tower of St. Peter's Church Riga Petrikirche Blick vom Turm zur Nationalbibliothek.JPG
From the tower of St. Peter's Church

The first discussions about the need for a new National Library had already started in 1928, and the significance of the project of this century was further confirmed by the high-level international recognition. In 1999 almost all 170 UNESCO member states during its General Conference adopted a resolution, [13] calling the member states and the international community to ensure all possible support for the implementation of the NLL project. The continuous growth of the Library had made it necessary to transfer parts of the stocks into other buildings. Thus, in 2013, NLL was distributed between five locations in Riga. [14] Furthermore, some stocks were being stored since 1998 in a depot in Silakrogs outside the capital. [4]

These inconveniences finally convinced the Parliament to approve a new building on the left bank of the Daugava. On 15 May 2008, after discussions lasting for many years, the state agency Three New Brothers and the Union of National Construction Companies signed the contract on the construction of the new National Library of Latvia. On 18 May 2014, the main facility of the Library at Krišjāņa Barona iela was closed for the move. [15] In 2008, construction started according to the design of the Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts [16] who has been tasked with the project already in 1989. [17] The new building has 13 floors [18] and is 68 m high. [19] Construction costs were given as 193 million euros. [20] 480 people work there.

As part of Riga's programme for its title as European Capital of Culture, selected holdings were symbolically carried from the old to the new building by a human chain on 18 January 2014. The new building was finally opened on 29 August that year, the Library's 95th anniversary. [21]

Today the NLL building is a dominant landmark on the Riga cityscape. It is used for a variety of purposes, regularly used for conferences and conventions. Among others, it hosted the 4th summit of the EU's Eastern Partnership programme in May 2015, [22] and a debate chaired by the BBC's Jonathan Dimbleby on 14 March 2016. [23]

Current projects

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Klöker, Martin (2004). "Bibliotheksgeschichtliche Einleitung". In Garber, Klaus (ed.). Handbuch des personalen Gelegenheitsschrifttums in europäischen Bibliotheken und Archiven. Vol. 7: Riga - Tallinn. Part 3: Riga (in German). Hildesheim: Olms. p. 41. ISBN   3-487-11405-4.
  2. Zanders, Viesturs (1997). "Bibliotheken in Lettland". In Fabian, Bernhard (ed.). Handbuch deutscher historischer Buchbestände in Europa. Eine Übersicht über Sammlungen in ausgewählten Bibliotheken. Bd. 7, Teil 2: Finnland, Estland, Lettland, Litauen (in German). Hildesheim: Olms. p. 145. ISBN   3-487-10361-3.
  3. 1 2 Zanders, Viesturs (1997). "Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka – Lettische Nationalbibliothek". In Fabian, Bernhard (ed.). Handbuch deutscher historischer Buchbestände in Europa. Eine Übersicht über Sammlungen in ausgewählten Bibliotheken. Bd. 7, Teil 2: Finnland, Estland, Lettland, Litauen. Hildesheim: Olms. p. 151.
  4. 1 2 "LNB vēstures fakti" (in Latvian). Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  5. Zanders, Viesturs (1997). "Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka – Lettische Nationalbibliothek". In Fabian, Bernhard (ed.). Handbuch deutscher historischer Buchbestände in Europa. Eine Übersicht über Sammlungen in ausgewählten Bibliotheken. Bd. 7, Teil 2: Finnland, Estland, Lettland, Litauen. Hildesheim: Olms. p. 152.
  6. Klöker, Martin (2004). "Bibliotheksgeschichtliche Einleitung". In Garber, Klaus (ed.). Handbuch des personalen Gelegenheitsschrifttums in europäischen Bibliotheken und Archiven. Vol. 7: Riga - Tallinn. Part 3: Riga (in German). Hildesheim: Olms. p. 42. ISBN   3-487-11405-4.
  7. Šiško, Silvija, ed. (1999). Seniespiedumi latviešu valodā 1525–1855. Kopkatalogs / Die älteren Drucke in lettischer Sprache 1525–1855 (in Latvian and German). Riga: Latvijas Nacionālā Bibliotēka. ISBN   9984-607-19-4.
  8. "About collection of NLL". lnb.lv. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  9. Bočarova, Rita, ed. (2005). Letonikas grāmatu autoru rādītājs (1523–1919) / Autoren-Verzeichnis der Lettonika-Bücher (in Latvian and German). Riga: Latvijas Nacionālā Bibliotēka. ISBN   9984-607-68-2.
  10. "Treasures of the National Library of Latvia". theeuropeanlibrary.org. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  11. "Latvijas Nacionālā digitālā bibliotēka" (in Latvian). periodika.lv. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  12. "Latviešu Dziesmu svētki (1864–1940)" (in Latvian). lndb.lv. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  13. "Resolution 38 adopted at the 30th session of the UNESCO General Conference" (PDF).
  14. "[Adresses of NLL's branches]" (in Latvian). Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  15. "[Press release]" (in Latvian). 15 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  16. Berndsen, Silke (2010). "'Gut zehn Jahre haben wir über unsere Bibliothek diskutiert, aber gebaut haben wir sie nicht.' Die lettische Nationalbibliothek und ihr Neubau". Bibliotheksdienst (in German). 44: 930–940.
  17. "Architekt: Nationalbibliothek ist Symbol für freies Lettland" (in German). 14 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  18. Brill, Klaus (2 January 2014). "Die singende Schöne. Riga putzt sich für seine Rolle als Kulturhauptstadt Europas 2014 heraus". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German).
  19. "National Library of Latvia" . Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  20. "Jaunumi". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  21. "Jaunā LNB ēka" (in Latvian). Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  22. Brössler, Daniel (21 May 2015). "Geschichte schrreiben. Beim Gipfel in Riga wollen die Staats- und Regierungschefs der EU unter Beweis stellen, dass ihre Ostpolitik nicht gescheitert ist". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). p. 7.
  23. BBC World Service report, 14 March 2016

Coordinates: 56°57′03″N24°07′15″E / 56.950882°N 24.120897°E / 56.950882; 24.120897