Collections

The Russian State Library comprises the unique domestic and foreign collections in 367 languages of the world. The size of all holdings exceeds 46 million items, and about three million of them are particularly valuable editions and other documents.

Collections are divided by categories of publications and are available in the respective reading rooms. In addition, more than 1.3 million documents have been digitized and made part of the E-library of the Russian State Library. Hundreds of thousands of network remote resources purchased by the Library for readers are also available.

You can work with electronic library documents and network remote resources on computers in the RSL reading rooms, and some of them are available from any computer connected to the Internet.

 

 

E-Library of the RSL

Collection size: about 1.2 million units

Period of coverage: from the 18th century to the present

The E-library of the RSL is the collection of digital copies of valuable and the most frequently requested publications from the collections of the RSL and external sources, as well as born-digital documents.

Available from computers in the reading rooms of the Russian State Library; part of the publications — from any computer connected to the Internet.

 

Central Main Collection

Collection size: more than 29 million units

Period of coverage: From the 18th century to the present

The Central Main Collection comprises printed publications in Russian, in the languages of the peoples of Russia and foreign languages (except Oriental languages). Of particular value there are more than 200 private book collections of the domestic outstanding figures of science, culture, education, prominent bibliophiles and collectors of Russia.

Available in the reading rooms № 1, № 2 and № 3 of the Department of Library and Information Service.

 

Central Reference and Bibliographic Collection

Collection size: more than 300 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 19th century to the present

The Collection contains bibliographic indexes in Russian, in languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation and foreign languages, except Oriental languages. It also includes modern abstracts publications, domestic and foreign encyclopedias, dictionaries, reference books, guidebooks, calendars, presented on different media: printed editions, microfiches, electronic publications and databases.

Available in the Reading room of Bibliographic services and in the Reading room of the Central Reference library.
 


Central Subsidiary Collection

Collection size: more than 60 thousand units

Period of coverage: the last 10 years

The collection includes relevant printed publications of the central publishing houses in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Periodicals — magazines for the past three years, newspapers for the last three months — are widely represented.

Available in the Reading rooms № 1, № 2, № 3 of the Department of library and information services; in special areas in the 1st Entrance of the Main building of the RSL on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

 

Collection of Rare and Valuable Books

Collection size: more than 300 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 15th century to the present

In the Collection there are widely represented domestic early printed books of the 16th — the first quarter of the 19th century, foreign editions of the 15th —17th centuries, and selectively books of later periods. In addition to the books, there are brochures, leaflets, newspapers, magazines, printed music, maps, and albums. Generally, there are publications on traditional media, although there are also books printed on unusual materials — silk, cork and others.

Available in the Reading room of Book Museum.

Digital collection in open access
Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of Visual Art Publications

Collection size: about 1.5 million units

Period of coverage: from the 17th century to the present

The Collection presents domestic and foreign documents in the format of leaf editions, art albums, books, and CDs. Most part is occupied by albums — from mass reproduction publications to the collectors’ selections. They give insight into the variety of visual materials — engravings, photographs, reproductions, posters, and postcards.

Available in the Reading room of Visual Art Publications.

Digital collection in open access
Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of Public State and Regulatory Publications

Collection size: about 2 million domestic and 450 thousand foreign documents

Period of coverage: from 1830 to the present time

The Collection comprises the official publications on legislation and law, official regulatory and practical editions. The Collection also includes the most important systematized editions of legislative acts of pre-revolutionary Russia.

Available in the Reading rooms of the Department of Official and Regulatory Publications.

 

Collection of Current Periodicals

Collection size: about 58 thousand units

Period of coverage: the current year (for newspapers) and the past 2–3 years (for magazines)

The collection of current periodicals includes domestic magazines and newspapers. Some of them are in open access, and some are in the storage and available on request.

Available in the Current Periodicals area.

Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of Russian Literature Abroad

Collection size: more than 700 thousand units

Period of coverage: from 1917 to the present

The main Collection includes books, magazines, and newspapers of the Russian abroad, foreign books and magazines about Russia, Russian publications about Russian emigration, Rossica microforms, and publications on Russian abroad on electronic media.

Available in the Reading room of the Russian Literature Abroad and in the Reading rooms № 1, № 2 and № 3 of the Library Service Department.

 

Military Literature Collection

Collection size: over 614 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 16th century to the present

The main Collection, based on the book collections of the library of the General Staff of the Russian Army (1811-1917), consists of publications on military management, regimental historiography, Russian military apparel, etc. The Collection stores rare reference documents; of enduring value is the specialized closed owner’s collection of the famous Moscow bibliophile A.M. Makarov.

Available in the Reading rooms № 1, № 2 and № 3 of the Library Service Department.

 

Collection of Network Remote Resources

Collection size: more than 308 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the late 19th century to the present

Comprises e-books, magazines and newspapers in Russian and foreign languages, images and other types of documents.

Available from all computers in the RSL Reading rooms connected to the Internet; some resources are available from computers outside the Library with the RSL Library card.

 

Collection of Publications on Optical Compact Discs

Collection size: more than 40 thousand items

Period of coverage: from 1991 to the present

Collection includes e-books, audiobooks, audio performances, guides to museums and architectural monuments, courses in foreign languages, textbooks, educational materials, self-training systems, simulators, workshops on various university disciplines and school subjects, practical guidebooks, manuals for specialists in various fields of knowledge, conference materials, application systems of computer-aided design, construction and modelling.

Available in the Reading rooms of Electronic Resources.

 

Collection of Microforms

Collection size: about 3 million units

Period of coverage: microforms of the documents from the 15th century to the present

Collection totals about 3 million items in Russian and foreign languages. Some of them do not have paper equivalents, but correspond to such criteria as high value, uniqueness and high demand.

Available in the Reading room of New Acquisitions of domestic, foreign books, continuing publications and microforms.

 

Collection of Manuscripts

Collection size: 610 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 6th century AD to the present

This is the collection of manuscripts in Old Russian, Ancient Greek, Latin, Slavic, Western European and Oriental languages. There are manuscript books of secular and spiritual content, archival collections, private, family, ancestral archives, archival collections of state, clerical, private institutions and public organizations. The unique part of Collection are the monuments of Slavic and Old Russian book culture.

Available in the Reading room of the Manuscript Department.

Digital collection in open access
Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Cartographic Collection

Collection size: about 250 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 16th century to the present

Contains atlases, maps, plans, schematic maps, globes, cartographic products on micro-carriers and optical disks. There is a large array of plans of settlements, land holdings, estates, as well as maps showing the administrative- territorial division of regions and districts. There are special maps for the blind. Collection includes text, graphics and illustrative applications to the cartographic documents.

Available in the Reading room of the Department of Cartography.

Digital collection in open access
Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of Printed Music and Sound Recordings

Collection size: more than 480 thousand units

Period of coverage: Printed music — from the middle of the 16th century to the present; sound recordings — from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

Domestic and foreign printed music, sound recordings (gramophone records, magnetic tapes, audio and video cassettes, CD, mp3), literature on music (monographs, reference-bibliographic publications). Collection is replenished with publications in Russian, other languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation and foreign languages. Music Collection includes original documents, copies, documents on micro- and electronic media, including appendixes to the printed editions.

Available in the Reading room of the Department of Printed Music and Sound Recordings.

Digital collection in open access
Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of Literature on Library Science, Bibliography Science and Bibliology

Collection size: 170 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 18th century to the present

Collection includes literature on library science and bibliology, as well as on the related areas of knowledge, encyclopedias, reference books, and language dictionaries. There are presented book editions in Russian and foreign European languages, and in the languages of the peoples of Russia, CIS countries and Baltic States. Collection includes journals, continued and leaf editions, specialized newspapers, databases and electronic documents. Access to network resources is provided. Publications of the Russian State Library are allocated to the separate collection.

Available in the Reading room of the Department of Literature on Library Science, Bibliography Science and Bibliology.

 

Collection of Domestic Book Exchange

Collection size: more than 300 thousand units

Period of coverage: from 1830 to the present time

Collection is formed by doublet and non-core documents excluded from the main collections of the Russian State Library. These are the books and brochures in Russian and foreign languages, periodicals in Russian, and CD-ROM documents. Collection is intended for redistribution among libraries and other non-profit organizations, as well as for sale to organizations and individuals.

 

Collection of Oriental Literature

Collection size: more than 900 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 16th century to the present

Collection includes domestic and the most important foreign publications in 230 languages of the peoples of Asia and Africa. These are the books, magazines, newspapers, continued editions, certain categories of cartographic, printed music, art editions and speech recordings.

Available in the Reading rooms of the Center of Oriental literature.

 

Newspaper Collection

Collection size: around 697 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 18th century to the present

Collection consists of domestic newspapers in Russian, newspapers in the languages of the peoples of Russia and neighboring countries, and in the foreign languages of European countries.

The most valuable part of the Collection are the Russian Newspapers of Czarist-era of 1801–1918 and of the early years of Soviet power of 1917–1922.

Available in the Reading room of Newspaper Department.

Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of Dissertations

Collection size: 1.1 million titles

Period of coverage: from 1944 — to the present

The main collection contains domestic Doctoral and Candidate’s dissertations in all fields of knowledge, except medical science and pharmaceutical science, and abstracts.

Available in the Reading room of the Department of Dissertations.

Digital collection in open access
Digital collection in limited access (in RSL's reading rooms only)

 

Collection of the Branch of the Russian State Library in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center

Collection size: 4.6 thousand units

Period of coverage: from the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th century

The Branch of the Russian State Library in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center was created to preserve the Schneerson collection — the book collection of the family of leaders of the library of the Lubavitcher Rebbes. After the Revolution of 1917 the collection was nationalized and deposited to the V.I. Lenin State Library of the USSR (now — the Russian State Library).

Available in the Reading room of the Russian State Library in the Jewish Museum.