The Russian State Library

The Russian State Library (up to 1992 – the State Lenin Library of the USSR) has many times been mentioned by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest European library and the second biggest library in the world after the USA Congress Library.

It’s considered to be founded in 1828, when the order of emperor Nikolay I gave it a status of a national institution as a component part of Roumiantsevsky Museum. Afterwards (namely, in 1862) it moved their premises to Moscow and with years the establishment became one of the greatest libraries of Russia.

Beginning with 1918, the main library of the nation has been serving the State authorities under efficient collaboration with other informational institutions. 
The mission of the RSL is to collect, preserve and give access to the unique collections of documents manifestimng the cumulative knowledge of all mankind, with its primary concern on Russia and its national interests. 
The nation-important character of the activities developed by the RSL is conditioned on its statuses:
  • The RSL belongs to the National Archives Collection as for its manuscript heritage (since the year of 1918);
  • The RSL is a National Document Depository (since 1921);
  • It has been appointed the main library of the USSR (from 1922 on);
  • It performs the functions of the Central State Library of the Armed Forces (since 1929);
  • The Russian State Library possesses a status of an educational establishment (since 1932);
  • It is the All – Russian (before 1992 – the All – Union) Centre of Dissertations on all subjects except for Medicine and Pharmacy (since 1944);
  • It is the Central branch body of research information for culture and art (from 1972 on);
  • It has a status of the National centre of  the  system of inter – library  loans and document delievery (obtained in 2001);
  • It is a depository. The Russian State Library stores national publications as well as documents of lots of international organizations, among which there can be named the UN, UNESCO, the European Council, the World Bank alongside other centres of international cooperation. From the mid-twentieth century, over forty international organizations have been submitting to the RSL their documents free of charge.
Being a national library which possesses the status of a research library, the RSL guarantees informational security of the state for it's been keeping and providing access to authentic trustworthy sources. It was the first among Russia’s federal libraries to create the centre of legal information in 1998, making accessible the latest law software products of the leading state and commercial structures, with the latter being updated weekly.
In the 21st century the library focused its attention on:
— enhancing work of the All – Russian Network of Public Centres of Legal Information (PTPI/ARNPCLI) while being itself a federal methodological centre in this sphere;
— developing the National Digital Library which had been conceptually adopted in 2004. To promote the project, in 2005 the RSL initiated the Russian Association of Digital Libraries (ELBY/RADL);
— advancing its electronic resources within the framework of which last decade saw the RSL opening its virtual reading rooms in almost all regions of the Russian Federation, in CIS states and abroad. Thus, the Russian State Library made a certain contribution into national information economics development and a firm step towards decreasing information inequality. Besides, that attention towards the information needs of the citizens of remote regions of Russia witnesses the fact of the library achieving the targets of its mission.