Academic journal article Alexandria

The National Library of Serbia: Past, Present and Future

Academic journal article Alexandria

The National Library of Serbia: Past, Present and Future

Article excerpt


The National Eibrary of Serbia (NLS) was founded in 1832, and is the oldest cultural institution in Serbia. It was created as a special depository of books, then as a library within the Ministry of Education, and since then the Eibrary has gathered many libraries of public and state authorities and bought several private libraries which have grown over time into the National Eibrary

By order of the Prince in 1853, the post of State Eibrarian was introduced, with the rank of a high school professor. The name of the National Eibrary was established by Mr Djura Daniele, who defined the conception of the national purchasing policy and began compiling the current national bibliography. Mr Stojan Novakovic was the first legislator of the Eibrary. By his efforts, and through the Press Eaw of 1870, the privilege of legal deposit was established, and the Eibrary was separated from the Ministry of Education and the Church.

The First World War brought a lot of misfortunes to the Eibrary. The bombing destroyed a part of its holdings, and the remaining collections were moved for safety to several different places in Belgrade and other cities in Serbia. A lot of the library materials, manuscripts, books and newspapers disappeared.

The Press Law and the new National Library Act from 1919 provided the Eibrary with the status of the central state library and the right to acquire an obligatory copy from the entire territory of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The compilation of the current bibliography of the former Yugoslavia began in 1928. The international format of the catalogue card was adopted in the Eibrary in 1938. The professional review, The Herald of the NLS, began in 1940.

During the Second World War, on 6 April 1941. during the bombing of Belgrade, the complete Eibrary was burnt to the ground. A great part of the holdings, very precious collections of Medieval Cyrillic manuscripts, old and rare books, catalogues and inventories, were destroyed at that time. The reconstruction of the Eibrary collections began during the War, and was intensified after the War.

The Eibrary produced new catalogues, so that in 1947 the Author Catalogue and in 1948 the Subject Catalogue were developed. In 1953, the Library Centre was founded, which grew into the Department of Development and Research of Library and Information Science. The Bibliographical Department was founded in 1960, with the aim of compiling the Serbian retrospective bibliography, and in the same year the Archaeographical Department was founded with the purpose of describing and registering the South Slavic Cyrillic manuscripts. At that time, the Conservation laboratory was created for the preservation and restoration of the library's material as well as for scientific and experimental research on books and papers. By the Serbian Libraries Act from 1965, the NLS, as the central parent library in Serbia, was given a special position and many important functions.

On the anniversary of the bombing destruction, on 6 April 1973, the Library solemnly opened the doors of its new building, where it is still situated today. The following year, in 1974, the Specialized Catalogue was formed, according to the Universal Decimal Classification, and then the Central Catalogue of Serbia and the Centre for Scientific Information were established too. In 1976, the Library adopted the new rules for cataloguing and switched to a new International Standard Bibliographic Description - ISBD. Preparations were made for transition to automatic data processing.

The Library had started with the cataloguing of publications before printing in 1987, making catalogue records for monographs in publication, CIP - Cataloguing in Publication. The computerized catalogue of the NLS was established in 1989. Since the catalogue included all newly acquired material, in 1991 it suspended the making of the card catalogues.

In 1996, the Library obtained its local computer library network, when access to the Internet was facilitated and the first website presentation of the NLS was made. …

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