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The Natio­nal Libra­ry of Sweden

The National Library, a great yellow house surrounded by trees in a park.

Kungliga biblioteket is the National Library of Sweden. Our collections extend more than a thousand years back in time and are growing daily.

We collect, preserve and give access to almost everything that is published in Sweden – from manuscripts, books and newspapers to music, TV programs and pictures. The National Library is a Government Authority under the ambit of the Ministry of Education, headed by the National Librarian, Karin Grönvall.

From censorship to cultural treasure

In 1661, Sweden introduced a law for legal deposit. It required all printers to deliver one copy of their material to the National Library. Initially, the law was an instrument of censorship, a way for the state to control its citizens. Today, it helps us preserve Sweden's cultural treasure.

In the late 1900s, the law was expanded to include sound, moving images and computer games. The law for legal deposit of electronic material was added in 2012.

Our ever-growing collections currently hold over 18 million items. Most of these are stored in underground storage rooms.

More than just Swedish

We are also a research library in the social sciences and humanities. Therefore, our literature spans a variety of languages on topics such as history, sociology and art.

In addition, we collect foreign material with a Swedish connection. These include translated books, games by Swedish producers and films about Sweden.

A source for independent research

We do not evaluate or screen the material we collect. Everything is saved as it is, regardless of form or content. Thereby, we support and stimulate independent research, for today and future generations. Our mission is ultimately to aid democracy, equality and the freedom to form one's own opinion.

We promote collaboration and development

The National Library is also tasked with promoting development and collaboration within the Swedish library sector.

Among other things, we collect Sweden's official library statistics, detailing the books, films, and activities at libraries throughout the country. We also coordinate work with open access to scientific publications. The aim is to make tax-funded research freely available to read, download and distribute.

In addition, the National Library administrates and develops the Swedish library’s national catalogue, Libris. It contains ten million titles - books, newspapers, magazines and pictures - from about 500 Swedish libraries.

Everyone is welcome to the National Library

Most of the National Library's visitors are students and researchers, but everyone is welcome here. However, you must be over 18 years of age to get a library card. For most of our Swedish material you need to order in advance and study on site in the library. Many of our foreign books can be borrowed for study at home. If you are not a resident of Sweden, special rules apply for home loans. Our staff will be happy to help you.

Contact us

E-mail: info@kb.se
Telephone: +46 (0)10-709 30 00

Visiting address

Humlegårdsgatan 26, Humlegården, Stockholm  

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