Sweden’s National Library
Kungliga biblioteket (KB) is Sweden’s national library. Our collections go back more than a thousand years and grow by the day. We collect, preserve and make available almost everything that is published in Sweden – from manuscripts, books and newspapers to music, television shows and photographs.
KB is a government authority under the Ministry of Education and Research.
From censorship to a cultural repository
In 1661, an act on the ‘duty to deliver’ was passed in Sweden. Under this act, printers are required to deliver a copy of their material to KB. From the outset, the law was conceived as a tool of censorship, a means for the government to control the citizenry. Today it helps to preserve Sweden’s cultural treasures.
In the late 1900s, the law was expanded to encompass audio and video recordings and computer games. In 2012, an act was passed obliging publishers to deliver electronic material as well.
Our collections currently contain some 18 million items. Most of these are stored in underground storerooms.
More than just Swedish
KB is a research library for the social sciences and humanities. That’s why our collections also feature literature in a number of languages on subjects like history, sociology and art.
We also collect foreign material with a link to Sweden. Books in translation fall under this category, but so do games by Swedish designers and films that deal with Sweden.
A source for independent research
We neither evaluate nor screen the material we collect. Everything is saved as-is, regardless of form and content. This makes KB a source consulted by independent researchers, for your sake and for that of future generations. Ultimately our mission has to do with democracy, equality and freedom of opinion.
We help Sweden evolve as a library society
KB has also been tasked with developing and promoting collaboration in the Swedish library sector.
Among other things, we produce Sweden’s official library statistics, which include data from libraries across the country. We also serve in a coordinating role in the effort to secure open access to scientific publications. The objective is for the results of taxpayer-funded research to be free to read, download and disseminate.
KB also manages and develops Sweden’s national library catalogue, Libris. Libris holds 10 million titles – books, newspapers, periodicals and photographs – from approximately 500 Swedish libraries.
Everyone is welcome at KB
Most of KB’s visitors are students and researchers, but everyone is welcome here. You must be over 18 years old to obtain a library card. Most of our material has to be ordered in advance and studied on-site in the library. Many of our foreign titles can be checked out from the library and read at home. If you are not a registered resident of Sweden, special rules apply to books out on loan for home reading. Our staff will be happy to assist you.
Telephone: +46 (0)10-709 30 00
Humlegårdsgatan 26, Humlegården, Stockholm
Mon–Thu: 9 am – 7 pm
Fri: 9 am – 6 pm
Sat: 11 am – 3 pm
For a complete list of our opening hours, please visit our English website.