About the RSL

Russian State Library
 

Russian state library

It was founded in 1862. It took over 140 years of everyday effort and devotion of hundreds of staff to become what we are now — the legendary ’Leninka’. Today the Library comprises a unique collection of Russian and foreign documents in 247 languages, stocking over 43 mln library items. It is also renowned for its specialised collections of maps, published and sheet music, audio records, rarities, dissertations, newspapers and other stock categories. Inspired by its history and backed up with today’s potential, the Library is emerging into the future along the four strategic vectors.
 


Going public

  • Anyone above the age of 18 (Russian legal age), whether a resident or not, is welcome to use any of its 34 reading rooms
  • About 200 new readers come to register with RSL every day. The overall number of daily RSL visitors mounts to 4000. The RSL Virtual Reading Halls are available in 80 Russian and CIS cities and are attended by about 8000 visitors daily
  • For over 140 years the Library has been providing its resources to a widest variety of readers: world-reputed scholars as well as students, both practical specialists and fundamental theorists, residents and visitors from abroad
  • Though really immense, RLS stock is perfectly visible through the elaborate system of its catalogues and card-indexes. There is also free public access to RSL’s on-line digital catalogue, which has been launched recently and is continuously extending
  • To promote public interest for reading, RSL hosts regular educational and cultural events, bringing together scholars, writers, artists and actors and their audiences at book presentations, readers’ conferences, public talks and concerts

Going academic

  • RSL is a hub research institution in the system of library, bibliography and book trade studies
  • The Library consistently carries out preparatory works on cumulative Russian book catalogues and publishes fundamental researches and practical guides in bibliography
  • RSL researchers are leaders or major contributors into the relevant nation-wide projects, such as ’The Memory of Russia’, ’Identifying, cataloguing and safe-guarding book monuments of the Russian Federation’, ’Co-ordinated acquisition of ’Rossica’ heritage materials for Russian library stocks’, ’National stock of legal and public state documents’
  • As a part of its scholarly activities RSL runs unique research and applied projects for preservation and restoration of documents. Since 2007 RSL is a regular contributor into development of The President’s ’Boris Yeltsin’ Library

Going digital

Strategically driven by promoting a wider public access to its stocks, RSL has been running a range of digital projects aimed at preservation of its heritage — texts, data bases, audio and video records, films and images — in digital formats. Consequently a substantial proportion of RLS stock has been recently digitalised. In 2003 RSL also acted as an initiator of the ’National E-Library Project’ and set up a unique e-collection of dissertations for degrees.


Going international

Russian State Library boasts of long-term work connections with peer-libraries around the globe as well as with the relevant international bodies, such as International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and UNESCO. In 2003 the Library instigated founding of the Library Assembly of Eurasia, an effective mediator, binding major CIS libraries into common information space.