National Library of Brazil

The Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil (English: National Library of Brazil) is the depository of the bibliographic and documentary heritage of Brazil. It is located in Rio de Janeiro,the Capital of Brazil from 1822-1960, more specifically at Cinelândia square.

The largest library in Latin America and the 7th largest in the world, its collections include about 9 million items.[1] It organized the first library science courses in Latin America and its staff has led the modernization of library services, including the development of online databases.[2]

Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil
Biblioteca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro (logo 20160
Biblioteca nacional rio janeiro
Aerial view of the library
LocationRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Size9,000,000 Items
Access and use
Population servedopen to the public
Other information
DirectorHelena Severo (chief executive, since 2016)


Americana 1920 Libraries - Bibliotheca Nacional Rio de Janeiro
National Library, c. 1920

The history of the National Library began on 1 November 1755, when Lisbon suffered a violent earthquake. The Royal Library was considered one of the most important libraries in Europe at that time. This irreparable loss to the Portuguese was the impetus for moving many of its contents to Brazil. The collection was brought in three stages, the first being in 1810 and two in 1811. The library of 60,000 books was accommodated initially in the upstairs rooms of the Third Order of Carmel Hospital (in accordance with the charter of July 27, 1810), located in the old back street of Carmel close to the Imperial Palace. The facilities, however, were considered inadequate and could jeopardize valuable collection as well. Therefore, on 29 October 1810, a date that was assigned to the official founding of the National Library, Prince Regent John (later King John VI of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves) issued a decree which provided that a royal library should be established from the funds of the royal treasury.[3]


Main entrance to the Library

The works for the new building of the Library only took place in 1813, when the collection was transferred. While the process of setting up the books, which began in 1810, was taking place the consultation of the Library collection could already be carried out by scholars, by royal consent, and in 1814, after the collection of the collection was completed, the consultation was public.

Officially established, the library continued to have a significant expansion through purchases, donations, mainly, and "tips", that is, by the obligatory delivery of a copy of all printed material in the typographic offices of Portugal (By decree of 12 September 1805) and in the Royal Printing, installed in Rio de Janeiro. This legislation on tips was improved over the years and culminated in Decree No. 1,825 of 20 December 1907, commonly called the Legal Deposit Decree, still in force.

Transfer of sovereignity

After the death of Queen Maria I in March 1816, the reign of King John VI began, and it remained in Brazil until 1821, when political circumstances made him return to Lisbon with the Royal Family, except for his eldest son Prince Pedro de Alcântara of Braganza (future Emperor of Brazil), who came to proclaim the independence of Brazil in 1822. Here also remained the Royal Library. At that time it had grown a lot and, after Independence, in 1822, became property of the Empire of Brazil, because its purchase is included in the Additional Convention to the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance signed between Brazil and Portugal on 29 August 1825. For the goods left in Brazil the Royal Family was indemnified in two million pounds sterling, of that value, eight hundred contos de reis were destined to the payment of the Royal Library, which was then called the Imperial and Public Library of the Court.


0200 years Biblioteca Nacional in Rio de Janeiro city
Façade of the current building in 2010

In 1858, the Library was transferred to the Passeio street, number 60, in Lapa square, and installed in the building that had the purpose to better shelter its collection. As its collection continued to grow with donations, acquisitions and through legal contributions, purchase of rare art collections at auctions and in bookstores around the world, a new building was needed that best suited its needs.

The constant and permanent growth of the collection of the library was fundamental for the realization of a project of construction of a seat that would attend all the needs of the library, adequately accommodating its collections. Based on this, his current building was designed, which had its cornerstone launched on 15 August 1905, during the government of Rodrigues Alves. The inauguration took place on 29 October 1910, during the Nilo Peçanha government and in the first centenary of the Library.

The building of the National Library, whose project is signed by the military engineer Sousa Aguiar, has an eclectic style, in which neoclassical and art nouveau elements are mixed, and contains ornaments by artists such as Eliseu Visconti, Henrique and Rodolfo Bernardelli, Modesto Brocos and Rodolfo Amoedo. Eliseu Visconti, still in 1903, had already designed the ex-libris and the emblem of the National Library.

The library building is located at Rio Branco Avenue, number 219, Cinelândia Square, in the center of Rio de Janeiro, composing with the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Municipal Theater an architectural and cultural ensemble of great value.


In 1911, Manoel Cicero Peregrino da Silva started a national union catalog for all Brazilian libraries. He set up the first library science course in South America. Many librarians went on to study in European and North American universities.[4]

Legal deposit

In 1907, presidential Decree no. 1825[5] established the duty of all publishers to send one copy of each publication to then-called Bibliotheca Nacional. In 2004, this decree was revoked by congressional Law no. 10,994,[6] still in force, upholding the same mandate but updating its provisions.

Article 1st of Law no. 10,994 specifies that the legal deposit's aim is "to ensure the registration and custody of national intellectual production, to allow for the control, development and spreading of current Brazilian bibliography, and to defend and preserve national language and culture."

Significant collections

Among the significant collections of the National Library of Brazil is the Teresa Cristina Maria photograph collection, which includes 21,742 photographs dating from the nineteenth century. These photographs were left to the Library by Emperor Pedro II in 1891.[7] This collection has been inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme Register in 2003 in recognition of its world significance and outstanding universal value.[8] It features images related to Brazil's history and people from the 19th century, including photographs by Moritz Lamberg. There are also photographs from Africa, North America, and Europe.[7]


Americana 1920 Libraries - Bibliotheca Nacional Rio de Janeiro

Photograph of the National Library, c. 1920

Biblioteca Nacional 5

Entrance from the outside

Biblioteca Nacional 4

Left wing

Biblioteca Nacional (Brasil)

The Library as seen from the Municipal Theatre

Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil

The main staircase with a bust of King John VI

Biblioteca Nacional

Stained glass ceiling

Interior, Biblioteca Nacional do RJ

Entrance Hall

Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil, hall, 01

Entrance Hall

Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil, hall, 00

Entrance Hall: ceiling

Biblioteca Nacional (6738800857)

Entrance Hall

Detalhe com Fachada da Biblioteca Nacional II

Façade details

List of Former Directors

(incomplete list)

See also


  1. ^ Fundação Biblioteca Nacional
  2. ^ Murray, Stuart A. P. “The Library: An Illustrated History.” New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2012, p. 277.
  3. ^ Murray, S. (2009). The library : an illustrated history / Stuart A.P. Murray ; introduction by Donald G. Davis, Jr. ; foreword by Nicholas A. Basbanes. New York, NY : Skyhorse Pub. ; Chicago : ALA Editions, 2009.
  4. ^ Wayne A. Wiegand and Donald G Davis, Jr., eds, Encyclopedia of Library History (1994) pp 86=87
  5. ^ Decree 1825 of 20 December 1907
  6. ^ Law 10,994 of 14 December 2004
  7. ^ a b "Old Recife". World Digital Library. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  8. ^ "The Emperor's collection: foreign and Brazilian photography in the XIX century". UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
  9. ^ FONSECA, Edson Nery. A biblioteconomia brasileira no contexto mundial. Rio de Janeiro; INL. 1979. p. 26
  10. ^ Sítio Oficial da BN Digital
  11. ^ "Blog do Galeno" (Blog Oficial)
  12. ^ Nomeados novos presidentes da Biblioteca Nacional e da Funarte. Agência Brasil. Acesso em 5 de outubro de 2016.

External links

Coordinates: 22°54′35″S 43°10′32″W / 22.909723°S 43.175501°W

A Casa (play)

A Casa is a theatrical comedy in two acts, written by Miguel M. Abrahão in 1978 and published first in 1983 in Brazil.

Brazilian National Archives

The National Archives of Brazil (in Portuguese: Arquivo Nacional) were created in 1838 as the Imperial Public Archives. The Archives were renamed in 1911, and are located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The National Archives of Brazil is the Brazilian institution responsible for the management, preservation and dissemination of federal government documents. Since 2011 it is subordinated to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

The AN has the following competence, accordind to the Decree No. 9,360 of May 7, 2018, which grants it as the main body of Archival Documents Management System (in Portuguese: Sistema de Gestão de Documentos de Arquivo – SIGA) of the federal government: "to guide the main organizations and entities of the federal Executive Power in the implementation of document management programs; oversee the application of procedures and technical operations related to the production, registration, classification, control of the processing, use and evaluation of documents, to modernize government archival services; promote the collection of permanent guard documents for technical treatment, preservation and dissemination, to guarantee full access to information, in support of governmental decisions of a political–administrative nature and to the citizen in the defense of their rights, aiming to encourage the production of scientific and cultural knowledge; and supervise and apply the national policy archives, established by the National Council of Archives (Conselho Nacional de Arquivo – CONARQ)".The National Archives of Brazil thus fulfills a double and essential function for the Brazilian State and society – both in the management of archival documents that are produced in all federal institutions and in safeguarding and giving access to fundamental fonds for history.

Domínio Público

Domínio Público is a Digital library created by the Brazilian government, under the Secretaria de Educação à Distância do Ministério da Educação (the Secretariat for Distance Education of the Ministry of Education), with the goal of harnessing the diffusion of cultural works under public domain. It contains more than 10,000 works in text format and another 4,000 in other formats (music, video, images etc.), the majority in Portuguese. literary works are in PDF format, and include contributions from different Brazilian universities (and their respective virtual libraries), international organisms as UNESCO, and the work of volunteers and similar organizations (it contains many works in English contributed from Project Gutenberg, for example).

Although it focuses on works by Brazilian authors and in Portuguese, it accepts collaborations in all languages, provided that they are in the public domain. In order to facilitate the work of volunteers and prospective contributors, the Domínio Público web site maintains a list of Brazilian authors with works under public domain, prepared by the National Library of Brazil.

Education in Brazil

Education in Brazil has had many changes. It first began with Jesuit missions, that controlled education for a long time. Then, two hundred years after their arrival, their powers were limited by Marquis de Pombal. Shortly after the Jesuits' power was limited, the Brazilian government took over education and it is now is run by the Brazilian government through the Ministry of Education.Issues in education are now seen through PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment, and the Idep assessment now used by the Ministry. They have historically tested below average on all topics but are improving in mathematics.Brazil uses both public and private school systems. They have the traditional primary, secondary, tertiary and technical school levels.

Gonçalves Dias

Antônio Gonçalves Dias (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtonju ɡõˈsawvis ˈdʒiɐs]; August 10, 1823 – November 3, 1864) was a Brazilian Romantic poet, playwright, ethnographer, lawyer and linguist. A major exponent of Brazilian Romanticism and of the literary tradition known as "Indianism", he is famous for writing "Canção do exílio" (arguably the most well-known poem of Brazilian literature), the short narrative poem I-Juca-Pirama, the unfinished epic Os Timbiras, and many other nationalist and patriotic poems that would award him posthumously with the title of national poet of Brazil. He was also an avid researcher of Native Brazilian languages and folklore.

He is the patron of the 15th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

International Standard Book Number

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country.

The initial ISBN identification format was devised in 1967, based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108 (the SBN code can be converted to a ten-digit ISBN by prefixing it with a zero digit "0").

Privately published books sometimes appear without an ISBN. The International ISBN agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative.Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) covers musical scores.

Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z is the name given by Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British surveyor, to an indigenous city that he believed had existed in the jungle of the Mato Grosso state of Brazil. Based on early histories of South America and his own explorations of the Amazon River region, Fawcett theorized that a complex civilization once existed there, and that isolated ruins may have survived.

Mário de Andrade Library

The Mário de Andrade Library (in Portuguese: Biblioteca Mário de Andrade; BMA) is the largest public library in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Founded in 1925, with a donation of holdings by the library of the city's Câmara Municipal, it became one of the most important cultural institutions in Brazil, as well as one of the leading research libraries in the country. It is named in honor of Mário de Andrade, one of the founders of Brazilian modernism. It is housed in an Art Deco building in the historical downtown, considered one of the icons of this style in the city.

Mário de Andrade Library was the first Brazilian public institution interested in acquiring modern works of art of local and foreign artists (which are placed today in the Pinacoteca Municipal). It has been a member of United Nations depository libraries system since 1958, though it started receiving UN material nine years earlier, in 1949. During Sérgio Milliet's administration, the library would have a very large participation in São Paulo intellectual sets. Later, the library would be frequented by academics as Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Marilena Chaui.

Sheltering the second largest bibliographic and documental heritage of Brazil — only after the National Library in Rio de Janeiro — the Mário de Andrade Library is the depository of all artistic and cultural registers of the city of São Paulo. Its collection includes about 3.2 million items, covering all areas of the knowledge — amongst which a distinct assemblage of over 60,000 rare books, manuscripts, incunabula, maps, prints, brasiliana and others, produced between 15th and 19th centuries.The Mário Andrade Municipal Library has branches throughout the city, providing circulating materials to general public.

National Historical Museum (Brazil)

The National Historical Museum of Brazil (Portuguese: Museu Histórico Nacional), was created in 1922, and possesses over 287,000 items, including the largest numismatic collection of Latin America. The architectural complex that houses the museum was built in 1603 as the St. James of Mercy Fort; earlier structures date back to 1567, erected by order of King Sebastian I of Portugal. In 1693, the Calaboose Prison, for slaves, was built. In 1762, the Casa do Trem was added as a depot of weapons and ammunition. The last additions are the War Arsenal (1764) and the Barracks (1835).

National library

A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works. A National Library is that library which has the duty of collecting and preserving the literature of the nation within and outside the country. Thus, National Libraries are those libraries whose community is the nation at large. Examples include the British Library, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.There are wider definitions of a national library, putting less emphasis to the repository character.National libraries are usually notable for their size, compared to that of other libraries in the same country. Some states which are not independent, but who wish to preserve their particular culture, have established a national library with all the attributes of such institutions, such as legal deposit.

Many national libraries cooperate within the National Libraries Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to discuss their common tasks, define and promote common standards and carry out projects helping them to fulfill their duties. National libraries of Europe participate in The European Library. This is a service of The Conference of European National Librarians (CENL).

O Dinheiro

O Dinheiro is a theatrical comedy in two acts, written by Miguel M. Abrahão in 1976 and published first in 1983 in Brazil.

Portuguese language

Portuguese (português or, in full, língua portuguesa) is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal, and has kept some Celtic phonology and lexicon. With approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 250 million total speakers, Portuguese is usually listed as the sixth most natively spoken language in the world, the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers, and the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the most spoken language in South America and the second-most spoken in Latin America after Spanish, one of the 10 most spoken languages in Africa and is an official language of the European Union, Mercosur, OAS, ECOWAS and the African Union. The Community of Portuguese Language Countries is an international organization made up of all of the world's officially Lusophone nations.

Pássaro da Manhã

Pássaro da Manhã is a theatrical one-act drama, written by Miguel M. Abrahão in 1978 and staged several times in Brazil. It was published in book form in 2009.

Raul Pompeia

Raul d'Ávila Pompeia (April 12, 1863 – December 25, 1895) was a Brazilian novelist, short story writer and chronicler. He is famous for the Impressionist romance O Ateneu.

He is patron of the 33rd chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro (; Portuguese: [ˈʁi.u d(ʒi) ʒɐˈne(j)ɾu]; River of January), or simply Rio, is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area and the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape.Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, the city was initially the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a domain of the Portuguese Empire. Later, in 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, a state of the Portuguese Empire. In 1808, when the Portuguese Royal Court transferred itself from Portugal to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro became the chosen seat of the court of Queen Maria I of Portugal, who subsequently, in 1815, under the leadership of her son, the Prince Regent, and future King João VI of Portugal, raised Brazil to the dignity of a kingdom, within the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarves. Rio stayed the capital of the pluricontinental Lusitanian monarchy until 1822, when the War of Brazilian Independence began. This is one of the few instances in history that the capital of a colonising country officially shifted to a city in one of its colonies. Rio de Janeiro subsequently served as the capital of the independent monarchy, the Empire of Brazil, until 1889, and then the capital of a republican Brazil until 1960 when the capital was transferred to Brasília.

Rio de Janeiro has the second largest municipal GDP in the country, and 30th largest in the world in 2008, estimated at about R$343 billion (IBGE, 2008) (nearly US$201 billion). It is headquarters to Brazilian oil, mining, and telecommunications companies, including two of the country's major corporations – Petrobras and Vale – and Latin America's largest telemedia conglomerate, Grupo Globo. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the second-largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific output according to 2005 data. Despite the high perception of crime, the city has a lower incidence of crime than Northeast Brazil, but it is far more criminalized than the south region of Brazil, which is considered the safest in the country.Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, Carnival, samba, bossa nova, and balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. In addition to the beaches, some of the most famous landmarks include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable car; the Sambódromo (Sambadrome), a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums. Rio de Janeiro was the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics, making the city the first South American and Portuguese-speaking city to ever host the events, and the third time the Olympics were held in a Southern Hemisphere city. The Maracanã Stadium held the finals of the 1950 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the XV Pan American Games.

Teresa Cristina of the Two Sicilies

Dona Teresa Cristina (14 March 1822 – 28 December 1889), nicknamed "the Mother of the Brazilians", was the Empress consort of Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil, who reigned from 1831 to 1889. Born a Princess of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in present-day southern Italy, she was the daughter of King Don Francesco I (Francis I) of the Italian branch of the House of Bourbon and his wife Maria Isabel (Maria Isabella). It was long believed by historians that the Princess was raised in an ultra-conservative, intolerant atmosphere which resulted in a timid and unassertive character in public and an ability to be contented with very little materially or emotionally. Recent studies revealed a more complex character, who despite having respected the social norms of the era, was able to assert a limited independence due to her strongly opinionated personality as well as her interest in learning, sciences and culture.

The Princess was married by proxy to Pedro II in 1843. Her spouse's expectations had been raised when a portrait was presented that depicted Teresa Cristina as an idealized beauty, but he was displeased by his bride's plain looks upon their first meeting later that year. Despite a cold beginning, the couple's relationship improved as time passed, due primarily to Teresa Cristina's patience, kindness, generosity and simplicity. These traits also helped her win the hearts of the Brazilian people, and her distance from political controversies shielded her from criticism. She also sponsored archaeological studies in Italy and Italian immigration to Brazil.

The marriage between Teresa Cristina and Pedro II never became passionately romantic, although a bond based upon family, mutual respect and fondness did develop. The Empress was a dutiful spouse and unfailingly supported the Emperor's positions and never interposed with her own views in public. She remained silent on the topic of his suspected extra-marital relationships—including a liaison with her daughters' governess. In turn, she was treated with unfailing respect and her position at Court and home was always secure. Of the four children Teresa Cristina bore the emperor, two boys died in infancy and a daughter of typhoid fever at the age of 24.

Teresa Cristina, along with the remaining members of the Imperial Family, was sent into exile after a coup d'état staged by a clique of army officers in 1889. Being cast from her beloved adopted land had a devastating effect on Teresa Cristina's spirit and health. Grieving and ill, she died of respiratory failure leading to cardiac arrest little more than a month after the monarchy's collapse. She was greatly loved by her subjects, both during her lifetime and afterwards. She was even respected by the Republicans who overthrew the Empire. Despite having had no direct impact on Brazil's political history, Teresa Cristina is well regarded by historians not only for her character and irreproachable behavior, but also for her sponsorship of Brazilian culture.

Victor Civita Latin American Library

The Victor Civita Latin American Library (in Portuguese Biblioteca Latino-Americana Victor Civita) is a public library of the city of São Paulo, Brazil.

Virtual International Authority File

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL) is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.

The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. It aims to expand non-English and non-western content on the Internet, and contribute to scholarly research. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.The WDL opened with 1,236 items. As of early 2018, it lists more than 18,000 items from nearly 200 countries, dating back to 8,000 BCE.

Sovereign states
Dependencies and
other territories

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.