Those interested in visiting Bucharest, and especially the National Library, should know that this building has a unique history. In 1831, the Library of the College of St. Sava in Bucharest was founded, one of the first public libraries in the country, with a collection of around 1,000 books. Almost two hundred years later, the capital’s public libraries began reinventing themselves in line with the wider European trend.
After opening the doors of its new building in 2012, the National Library of Romania holds a collection of foreign-language materials belonging to the Omnia branch, constantly expanding with various additions from books and manuals to magazines and newspapers. To obtain a pass for the National Library, you must present your identity card, passport, or residence permit at the library’s premises or register online. Registration is free, as is Internet use in the public areas on the ground floor, mezzanine, and first floor.
The new library building, seven floors above ground, two below, and a 30-meter atrium, began construction during the communist era, but work stopped after the 1989 revolution. The building, near Unirii Square, was half finished until 2009, when Aedificia Carpați won the tender to complete it. Free guided tours of the National Library are also available, allowing those interested to learn more about the building, the library collections, and the reading rooms.
The philology and legal science disciplines are on the first floor, the American Corner, which covers publications on American culture and civilization, and the Ludoteca, a space for children. The second floor houses the periodicals collection, the complete collection of major newspapers from 1990 to the present, and groups of publications from the past four years.
A place for kindergarten-age children, the Apolodor’s Toy Library in Labrador hosts educational activities. It offers numerous storybooks in various languages, coloring books, pop-ups, 3D and 4D. Its name invokes a well-known children’s poetry book by Gellu Naum, a Romanian representative of the surrealist movement, and the main character, Apolodor, the penguin.
The National Library is open from 10:00 to 18:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and from 12:00 to 20:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Access to the reading rooms starts at 08:00.
With a network of more than 30 branches in Bucharest, Biblioteca Metropolitană (Str. Tache Ionescu 4) is another public library that foreigners living in Bucharest can access. Entrance to its reading rooms and Internet areas is based on a permit obtained with an ID card or passport.