The National Library of Armenia (NLA) is the world’s largest repository of Armenian printed heritage and the center of the national bibliography. As a scientific, cultural, and information institute, the Library creates the necessary conditions for collecting, processing, preserving, and disseminating Armenian cultural heritage.
The Library’s collections were originally formed based on the personal libraries of prominent state, public and cultural figures, as well as the collections of educational institutions.
The Library currently possesses an abundant fund consisting of various collections (books, journals, periodicals, dissertations, abstracts, etc.), of which especially notable are the first Armenian printed book - Urbatagirk (The Book of Fridays), Venice, 1512; the first Armenian periodical - Azdarar (Bulletin), Madras, 1794-1796; as well as the first printed map in Armenian - Hamatarats Ashkharatsuyts (Universal World Map), Amsterdam, 1695. In 2012, in order to provide open access to the Library’s unique collections, digitalization of the collections began. Today, more than ten million pages of Armenian books and periodicals have been digitized and made available to people all over the world.
On July 4, 1919, during the council meeting of the ministers of Armenia, a law regarding “the national public book depository” was adopted. Since 1999, July 4th has been celebrated as National Library of Armenia Day. In 2019, the day of the law’s adoption celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The Library is located in four buildings. The oldest one – the main building – was constructed according to the project of Alexander Tamanyan in 1939. The building features a special architectural style; the uniqueness of this early and medieval Armenian architecture received a new interpretation and quality and was established as the “Tamanyan style.” The Library’s main building has the status of a historical and cultural architectural monument.
On September 25th, 2017, the Museum of Printing was opened within the National Library of Armenia to showcase the history of Armenian printing around the world. The museum is divided into six halls: Origins of the Book, the Armenian Alphabet, Early Adopters of Armenian Book Printing, Armenian Diaspora Book Publishing, and Typography and Immortality of Writing. The museum exhibits and displays rare books, antique printing machines, replicas, and more.
The Library cooperates with numerous national and leading libraries worldwide. Its collection is annually replenished with copies of world literature through international book-sharing partnerships. The Library also cooperates with embassies operating in Armenia, international organizations, and representatives of the Armenian diaspora, thereby contributing to the spread of Armenian cultural heritage throughout the world.