National libraries


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A brief overview of a few national libraries

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National libraries

  1. 1. Just a few National Libraries
  2. 2. The Biblioteca Nacional de España (circa 2005).One is not allowed to visit the collection withoutan appointment. They had a nice exhibit for the500th anniversary of Don Quixote de la Mancha,though.
  3. 3. St. Isidore and Alfonso the Wise greet visitors tothe Biblioteca Nacional de España.
  4. 4. The Honduran National Library (taken in 2010), bycontrast, is quite a bit smaller and less ornate.The graffiti appeared during the coup of 2009and, as you can see, painting out the word“golpista” (coup member) seemed to be ratherineffective.
  5. 5. The inside is quite lovely, though. The Biblioteca Nacionalde Honduras sits in the former home of the national heroFrancisco Morazán, right in the heart of Tegucigalpa.Excellent location for a national library, very accessible.
  6. 6. The library hosts special events (advertised on the bulletinboard here). I attended a reggae-rap music fest one night.The place was packed!
  7. 7. As with many national libraries, the Biblioteca Nacional deHonduras supports local artists by purchasing anddisplaying work. The architecture of the building has alsobeen designed to make it beautiful place to visit.
  8. 8. The Biblioteca Nacional de México (taken October 2008). The hugestained glass is of the eagle national symbol that is also found onthe Mexican flag and money. The tunnel at the bottom goes fromthe circulating stacks (seen a little on the right) to the nationalarchive.
  9. 9. Can you tell which cataloging system they use at the BibliotecaNacional de México?The lowermost sign says that one may consult a maximum of threebooks at a time in this room. Books and other materials are notcirculated outside the library, which is common for nationallibraries.
  10. 10. The Biblioteca Nacional de México is located in the Zona Cultural,or cultural zone of Mexico City and is considered a part of theNational Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). TheNational Library is surrounded by a very lovely sculpture park.
  11. 11. The Mexican National Library also hosts a virtual library portal: (Not all national libraries do digital.)
  12. 12. Here’s the Hungarian National Library (great full scale photo downloaded from
  13. 13. It is named the Országos Széchéneyi Könyvtár, or NationalSzéchényi Library, in honour of Count Ferenc Széchényi, a 17 thcentury aristocrat who travelled the world buying Hungarianbooks which he later donated to the nation.
  14. 14. This information pillar in the entryway offersinstructions (in English, for tourists like me whostop in for a look) for how to register, circulationpolicies, hours, etc.
  15. 15. Here’s my permission slip to get in to the National Library ofHungary in Budapest (in 2011). When I told them I wasn’t goingto use anything and that I’m an educator they let me in for free,which I really appreciated.
  16. 16. I then had to read carefully to figure out whichfloor was the main reading room. 5th floor.
  17. 17. I was greeted by the classic card catalog.
  18. 18. The reading room was a lovely room with goodlighting. The chairs all face the digital displaywhich shows ticket numbers. Folks can requestitems from the closed stacks and they areretrieved and sent to the 5th floor...
  19. 19. ...using a pretty nifty book mover.
  20. 20. Reference materials were on the shelves in themain reading room for general use...
  21. 21. we see the Australian reference collection.
  22. 22. I couldn’t quite figure out what their classificationsystem was. I think it is one particular to Hungary.