National Library of Latvia

The core functions of the National Library of Latvia (NLL) are the collection of national literature, its perpetual storage and the long-term provision of access to it.

The NLL collection consists of 4.5 million units and it embraces all branches of knowledge, the fundamental profile being Social Science and the Humanities. Library readers also have access to special collections – rare books, manuscripts, the Lettonica (Latvian) and Baltic Central Library collections, maps, sheet music, sound recordings, graphic publications, ephemera and periodicals.

The NLL is a centre of theoretical research into and practical analyses of the activities of Latvian libraries. Also, the Library is implementing library-sector standardisation. From its very beginning, the NLL has been responsible for Latvia’s national bibliography.

While books and the promotion of reading remain fundamental activities, today’s libraries have moved far beyond this. The NLL is no exception and has established itself as a prime cultural centre, with permanent exhibitions, a never-ending stream of temporary expositions utilising the Library’s collections, and innumerable events and conferences.

On 10 April during the London Book Fair 2018 the National Library of Latvia won the International Excellence Award in category Library of the Year Award 2018.

The National Library of Latvia. Photo: Reinis Hofmanis

The building

Since 2014, the National Library of Latvia is located in a building on Mūkusalas Street 3 (Castle of Light). The library building was designed by the internationally acclaimed Latvian-born architect Gunnar Birkerts (USA), and it is among the greatest cultural projects of the 21st century in Latvia. Besides the standard services and routine operations, the Castle of Light and its infrastructure serves as a platform for activities of various cooperation partners and a place of unique creative synergies.

Library audio guide available here: