The universal collections of the National Library of Belarus (NLB) comprise today 9,8 million items. They include printed publications, manuscripts, micro items of documents, electronic and other materials, issued both in Belarus and other countries in more than 80 languages. The most valuable is the collection of national documents which holds more than half a million items: publications issued in Belarus and abroad in the Belarusian language, concerning Belarus, and written by Belarusian authors. The NLB’s collections include the first publications by V. Dunin-Martsinkevich, F. Bogushevich, Y. Kupala, Y. Kolas, M. Bogdanovich, and others.
The National Library of Belarus has been developing its information resources since 1921. Valuable book collections of monastery and church libraries, gymnasium libraries, private collections of academician E.F. Karski and professor N.A. Yanchuk on Belarusian studies, ethnography and literature; private collections of professor K.Y. Grot on Slavonic studies; private collections of professor K.K. Slichevski on law; private collections of I.P. Kornilov on history and Belarusian studies; private collections of S.M.Golgstein on the history of Lithuania and Poland, as well as the gifts of the main libraries of Moscow and Leningrad provided the basis of the National Library’s collection.
From the year of its foundation, the Library has obtained two free legal deposit items of printed publications issued in Belarus and one free legal deposit copy of printed publications issued in the USSR (the Russian Federation) before March 1995.
The NLB is also a depository of materials of UNO, UNESCO and other international organizations.
Besides the legal deposit items of all the printed materials issued in Belarus, the NLB supplements its collections through purchasing, subscribing, international exchange of documents and gifts. The National Library acquires around 250 thousand new documents annually.
The collection is mainly located in the ten-storey book depository. More than half a million items are located on the open-access shelving and in the deposit collections of the reading rooms. The NLB’s electronic resources are available at user workbenches and, partly, on the Internet.