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. Continue reading