National Library of Algeria

Algiers, Algeria

Monument of the Martyrs and National Library of Algeria
© https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en
 - Henry Marion

Founded in 1835 by Adrian Berbrugger at the impetus of the War Ministry, the National Library of Algeria aims to keep and preserve the documents seized by the colonial occupation of Algeria after 1830.

The National Library of Algeria had different seats before settling down in the barracks of the janissaries for ten years. Thanks to donations, the library’s documentary fund expanded to in include confiscated of manuscripts and consignments from the French War Ministry. In 1863, the National Library changed location and found a new home at Dar Mustapha Pacha.

Dar Mustapha Pacha is one of the greatest examples of 18th-century Islamic Moorish architecture. The first floor of the palace is dedicated to the library while the second floor houses an archive museum. In 1890, the two institutions were separated by a decree.

Despite its wealth of architectural beauty and ornamentation, the palace is ill-suited to serving as a library. By 1947, a lack of reading rooms, poor conditions for book preservation, and lack of storage pushed authorities to build a more modern structure. It is the first such library on the African soil and in the Arab world able to compete with world standard libraries.

In 1958, the National Library of Algeria moved into its new building on the capital hills. With a total area of 4,800 square metres, it had three reading rooms and storage spanning over six floors, displaying 1,200,000 books.

In 1984, the construction of a new seat was launched. Set in the El-Hamma aera, south of Algiers, one of its goals was to boost the community while enjoying the natural beauty of a primary location overlooking the sea and adjacent to the Jardin d’Essai. On November 1st, 1994, the new National Library of Algeria was inaugurated and public access to all its rooms was granted in 1998.

The Library can accommodate 2,300 readers at a time. It boasts cutting edge technology ensuring the proper restoration, processing and book binding. The National Library has many extensions throughout the country, ensuring proximity with the public, fostering the cultural spread and promoting literacy.