National Library of Spain

spain facade

One of the Largest Cool Libraries

This is the largest library in the country of Spain, and also one of the largest in the world. Don’t miss it when you visit Madrid.

The National Library of Spain was founded in 1712, and like the Trinity, in Dublin, it’s a patent library, which means every printer in Spain is required to donate a copy of every book they publish. Think about that for a minute . . . every single book since 1712. Needless to say, the library now has a  collection of over 26 million items, which includes 15 million books, 30,000 manuscripts, as well as music scores, newspapers, and maps. It’s the brick and mortar version of the internet!  

The National Library has been around through good times and bad. In the 1930s, during the dark days of the Spanish Civil war, the librarians were called upon to house and preserve over 500 thousand books that were confiscated from churches, palaces, and private residences. I can’t imagine this won them any popularity contests, but they didn’t have much choice.

In the year 2,000, the building was completely remodeled, to add a gorgeous reading room, and triple the library’s storage capacity.

Here’s what people have to say:

  • “The facade of three entrance archways and wrought-iron gates is fantastically beautiful. The building also hosts statues of Alfonso X (The Wise) and San Isidoro before the grand main staircase.”
  • “This is a superb place for the bibliophile or researcher to spend hours. For the tourist, the building’s beauty and the massive collection are well worth seeing.”

So if you’re ever in the neighborhood, stroll by this amazing place. Even better,  go inside, grab a book and sit down in the glorious reading room!

reading room spain

Monday thru Friday 9 -9

Opening hours and admission fees are subject to change, so please always check the official webpage before going. The Exhibition Rooms and the Library Museum, are open to all. Tours can be scheduled on the website.

2 thoughts on “National Library of Spain

  1. Thanks Kate, that’s one of the reasons for this blog, I don’t think people know about the beautiful libraries out there. They’re really fun to visit and mostly free.


  2. yea I so wanted to comment here … I have been to spain many times and never thought of going to the library. This is truly magnificent and the information with your lovely photos … these are great posts!


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