Russian State Library

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Russian State Library

Russian State Library (RSL), Russia's national library, located in Moscow; one of the world's largest libraries. Moscow's first public library, the RSL was founded in 1862 as the library portion of the Moscow Public Museum and Rumyantsev Museum. In 1925 it was renamed for V. I. Lenin, who, after the Russian Revolution, played an important role in its reorganization, supplementing its original collection with the contents of many confiscated private collections. The following year it became the country's national library. Renamed the Russian State Library in 1992, it has its main headquarters in a grand collonaded building constructed from the 1930s through the 50s. Russia's national book depository, the RSL now has a collection of more than 42 million items in Russian and 247 other languages. It includes some 17 million books and serials, 13 million journals, and 650,000 newspapers. Among its specialized collections are maps, printed music and recordings, manuscripts, rare and precious books, and art publications. Among its other buildings is Pashkov House, a reconstructed and restored late-18th-century neo-Palladian mansion that originally housed the museum and library and now contains the manuscript and map collections as well as exhibition space.

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