Russian State Library
The first and largest public library in Russia
Moscow is rightfully considered the city of libraries. The city is enveloped by a library network of different levels and subordination. It is here we find the largest library in the country - the Russian State Library (formerly the V.I. Lenin State Library of the USSR, nicknamed the “Leninka”).
the primary library
44 800 000
Size of the
The RSL collection traces its roots to the Rumyantsev family collection. Over the years the family worked towards the creation and development of a publically accessible museum and library.
The archive is equal
to 9 football fields
The overall length
of RSL bookshelves
is about 275 kilometers
It would take a person 79 years
without sleep to have a quick, one minute look at each item in storage
In the beginning of XIX century the building which was the predecessor to the St. Petersburg RSL belonged to Sergei Petrovich Rumyantsev. On January 3, 1828 he received a letter from Emperor Nicholas I containing the following:
“Count Sergei Petrovich! I was particularly pleased to learn that following the promptings of your zeal for the welfare of the public, you intend to transfer the Museum, belonging to you and famous for its precious collections, to the Government in order to make it accessible to all and thus contribute to the enlightenment of the public. To express my goodwill and appreciation for this gift, offered by you to science and the Fatherland, and wanting to preserve the memory of the founders of this beneficial institution, I have ordered it be named the Rumyantsev Museum.”
In 1861 the museum was transferred to Moscow. The museum was founded on July 1, 1862 when Emperor Alexander II approved the ‘Policy on the Moscow Public Museum and Rumyantsev Muzeum’. It was the first public museum in the country containing the first free public library in Moscow.
visited the reading
hall in 1870
107 058 readers1915
visited the reading
hall in 1915
The museum is located in the most beautiful architectural ensemble in Moscow, the original capital of the Russian State, in the Pashkov house. J. Richter, a German traveler of the XVII century, called this building a magical castle.
All literature published within the nation made its way to the library. Gifts and donations also became an important source in expanding the collection. Muscovites brought their valuable collections to the first public library in the capital. Within a year and a half of its creation the library collection already consisted of 100 thousand items.
Lev N. Tolstoy
Fyodor M. Dostoevsky
Anton P. Chekhov
Vladimir G. Korolenko
Kliment A. Timiryazev
Dmitry I. Mendeleev
Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky
Today, the library maintains permanent relations with international professional organizations. The Library Assembly of Eurasia (BAE), which makes it possible to exchange information with the other libraries in CIS countries to promote mutual informational and cultural exchange, was created and successfully operates on initiative of the RSL. Moscow’s "Leninka" is the headquarters of the Library Assembly of Eurasia.
of Eurasia (BAE)
All citizens of Russia or any other country, provided they are a student of a university or at least 18 years of age, can register with the Russian State Library.
200 new readers
About 200 new readers
register with the RSL daily
Almost 4,000 people
visit the library every day
Count Sergey Petrovich, brother of State Chancellor Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev, was famous among his contemporaries for his extensive knowledge and unusual erudition. Sergey Petrovich, who was friends with Nikolai M. Karamzin, was a poet, journalist, diplomat and historian. He attended Vasily A. Zhukovsky’s ‘Saturdays’ with Alexander S. Puchkin from 1817 to 1820.
Sergey Rumyantsev donated his personal collection to the state "for the benefit of the Fatherland and the good Enlightenment." He also established circles of the greatest Russian thinkers of his time, working to develop the library.
He graduated from Moscow State University with Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics.
Alexander is one of the founders of Russian MARS format, created to transfer information from paper to electronic format.
Alexander has held in various positions in RSL since 1998. From 1999 to 2001 he served as Chief of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation MICC, while working in the Russian State Library.
By order of the Prime Minister, Alexander I. Visly was appointed general director of the Russian State Library in October 2009.
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