National Historical Library of Ukraine

Appreciate the past, create the future!

The National Historical Library of Ukraine was founded in 1939 on the base of the Anti-religious and the Historical museums’ holdings and the library of metropolitan Flavian. The Library was created in order to promote the development of historical science and education. The Library is located on the territory of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve. It had a name of the State Historical Library of Ukraine until 2009. Nowadays the Library has a national status according to the Presidential Decree of 30.09.09 № 780/2009 «About granting SHL of Ukraine the national status».

The National Historical Library was created in order to implement the citizens’ rights of knowledge, education, use of values of the national and the world culture, science and education, that are kept at the Library, ensuring collection, keeping, and providing with the information about Ukrainian statehood formation, economy, science and culture. The Library also gives access to the worldwide cultural heritage and promotes social and cultural self-realization of a personality.

The Library is unique because it is the only library in Ukraine that specializes in history, adjacent historical disciplines and historical regional ethnography.

During the Second World War the main part of the library's unique collection, alphabetic and systematic catalogues and a finished work called “Bibliography of the History of Ukraine” were lost. In the postwar years, due to the collective’s efforts to return the books from Germany, book exchanges with other libraries and gifts, the holdings of historical literature were created. The most expensive part of it is placed at the department of rare and valuable books at the moment.

The Library is Ukrainian depository of historical and regional ethnography literature: its collection numbers more than 700 000 copies in 52 foreign languages. Our library receives a free compulsory copy of all historical books. The holdings consist of palaeotypes, collection of Cyrillic type books of XVI – XVII centuries, civil type books of XVIII – XIX centuries, history of art literature. The oldest relic is a rare manuscript «Pomyanik» of the Kiev-Pechersk Monastery, which is about five hundred years. The books of I. Fedorov «The New Testament with the Psalter» (1580) and “The Bible” (1581) are belived to be unique. Among the other books of Lavra’s press there is «Anthologion» dated 1619. The Library has a great collection of books in foreign languages. One of the most remarkable books that will attract yours attention is Cicero’s «The Nature of the Gods» in Latin. It was published by a printer Aldus Manutius in 1523 in Venice. Other exquisite publications are «Eneyida» by Ivan Kotlyarevsky (1808), Mikhail Lomonosov’s «Russian grammar» (1755) and many others.

One of the priorities in the librarian work is the selection of rare and valuable books for the State register of national cultural heritage, that was created for UNESKO Programme called «Worlds memory».

In 1960-1970-s the Historical library led an activity of Ukrainian libraries to create of encyclopedic edition «History of cities and villages of the USSR» in 26 volumes. This work resulted in creation of «The combined card index of materials about history of Ukrainian cities and villages». It consists of bibliographic descriptions of all printed documents about certain settlement from its first mention till nowadays. The card index is systematically filled up. It is used as a background for scientific research work of historians and regional ethnographers. In 2011 The Card Index was scanned and presented for users on the web site of the NHLU.

In 1968 The Library started preparation and publishing of the current scientific auxiliary indices – annual “History of Ukraine”. They are the base for scientific research work of historians, teachers, ethnographers. The indices accumulate sources, which picture achievements and miscounts during overcoming soviet totalitarian regime, problems of “rewriting the history”, national culture preservation under conditions of globalization etc. Among retrospective scientific and auxiliary manuals there are well known “History of peasantry of the Ukrainian SSR 1917-1990” (1990), “History of intelligentsia of Ukrainian SSR 1917-1990” (1991), “Historical regional ethnography in Ukraine: issues of theory and practice” (1992), “Theory, methodology and practice of library regional ethnographic” (1997), (2007); “Materials to Kiev-Pechersk Lavra bibliography” (2006), “Regional ethnographic manuals of Ukrainian libraries: 2001-2005” (2007), “Political repressions of soviet epoch in Ukraine” (2008), “The State Historical Library of Ukraine (1939-2009)” (2009), “Bibliographical guides to the history of Ukraine and archive directories 1991-2010” (2011). These handbooks are being prepared in e-format at the moment.

The authority of the NHL of Ukraine as a scientific establishment is growing year after year. In 1990-s the library jointly with scientific institutions and public organizations carried out a number of Ukrainian scientific and practical conferences: “The role of libraries of monasteries, cathedrals and other establishments in development of Ukrainian culture” (1993), “Libraries in development of Ukrainian historical science” (1994), “Library regional ethnography in renovation of Ukrainian people’s historical memory” (1997), “History of scientific libraries in context of Ukrainian history, culture and education” (1999). The library is a co-arranger of a number of annual international and Ukrainian cultural and educational actions – Nestorovski, Mohylyanski scientific readings and cultural studies’ readings in memory of Volodymyr Podkopaiev. In 2011 the library jointly with the National Union of Ukrainian Regional Ethnographers and Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts founded Regional Ethnographic readings in memory of Peter Tronko. Within its framework Ukrainian scientific and practical conference “Library regional ethnography in cultural zone of Ukraine” took part.

Among the core functions of The National Historical Library of Ukraine there is scientific analysis and prognostication of regional ethnography in the library, informational support of scientific researches in field of domestic history, methodological help to regional libraries on questions of regional ethnographic work. Research and methodological work of NHL of Ukraine has been carried out through a monitoring study technology of conditions of regional ethnography in local scientific universal libraries of Ukraine. Due to this, methodological manual “Regional ethnographic library work” (2002) was published; electronic databases, such as “Regional ethnographic bibliographic resources of Ukrainian libraries”, “Theory, methodology and practice of library regional ethnographic” and others, were formed. At the library one can receive all necessary information about the state of regional ethnographic library work in all regions of Ukraine quickly and easily.

The National Historical Library of Ukraine cooperates successfully not only with domestic, but with foreign libraries, scientific organizations and educational institutions as well; it conducts different social and cultural events.

The NHL of Ukraine is well-known as a cultural centre. Along with carrying out the traditional mass library actions, the library initiates conduction of various creative events, book presentations, projects, master-classes that contribute to modern positive image of the NHL of Ukraine.

The comfortable conditions for visitors’ work have been created at the library. Six reading halls, electronic reading hall with access to the Internet and Wi-Fi zone are at their disposal. Highly skilled services of our specialists, document copying and so forth are provided. Besides, if the publication you are interested in is not available at the library holdings, it is possible to order it through interlibrary loan and receive it soon.

In order to simplify your search in the library holdings, you can use our convenient reference and bibliographic system: alphabetic, systematic and e-catalogues, card indices, subject electronic databases.