Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine

Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, VNLU (Ukrainian: Національна бібліотека України імені В.І. Вернадського) is the main academic library and main scientific information centre in Ukraine, one of the world's largest (top twenty) national libraries. Its main building is located in the capital of the country – Kiev, Demiivka neighborhood.

Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine
Національна бібліотека України імені В. І. Вернадського
EstablishedAugust 2, 1918 (1918-08-02)
LocationHolosiivskyi prospekt, 3, Kiev (Ukraine)
Coordinates50°24′14″N 30°31′07″E
Size16,000,000 total Items[1]
Other information
DirectorVolodymyr Popyk
Staff900 [1]

The library contains about 15 million items. The library has the most complete collection of Slavic writing, archives of outstanding world and Ukrainian scientists and cultural persons. The holdings include the collection of the Presidents of Ukraine, archive copies of Ukrainian printed documents from 1917, and archives of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.


Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine was established on 2 August 1918 by Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi as the "National Library of the Ukrainian State" (Natsionalna biblioteka Ukrayinskoyi Derzhavy). On 23 August 1918 there was established the Provisional Committee on creation of the National Library headed by Vladimir Vernadsky (Volodymyr Vernadsky).

In August 1941 the library was evacuated to Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, where it was housed in the State pedagogical institute. In May 1944 the library returned to Kiev.

The current building was constructed between 1975 and 1989. It has 27 floors and an area of 35,700 m². Its roof reaches 76.7 m and its antenna 78.6 m above ground.[2]


The collection of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine contains more than 15 million items. Its basis form the large book collections of 18th-19th centuries.

As a depository library the Library has systematic acquisition. Annually, it receives 160.000-180.000 documents (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.). Holdings include all Ukrainian publications and copies of all Ukrainian candidate and doctoral theses. The library exchanges materials with more than 1.500 research and academic institutions and libraries from 80 countries. As a United Nations depository library since 1964, the library receives all English and Russian language publications from the United Nations and its special institutions.[3]

The holdings of the Vernadsky National Library include large collections of manuscripts,[4] rare printed books and incunabula. The library has the most complete collection of Slavic writing, including the Peresopnytsia Gospels, one of the most intricate surviving East Slavic manuscripts.

Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine is the world’s foremost repository of Jewish folk music recorded on Edison wax cylinders. Their Collection of Jewish Musical Folklore (1912-1947) was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005.[5]


The library owns works related to the history and culture of Ukraine and surrounding regions, including some of the oldest and rarest documents in the country, including the only handwritten music composition in existence by Artemiĭ Vedel.[6]

Orsha Gospel

The library holds the Orsha Gospel. The book, which dates back to the late 13th century, is one of the oldest Belaurisian and one of the oldest to depict Cyrillic script. The book was thrown away by a monastery in Orsha. It was found by Napoleon's troops in 1812. In 1874 it was donated to the Kiev Theological Academy. It now resides in the collection of the National Library. It has miniature brightly colored illuminations of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew. They are in the Palaeologian dynasty style. Over 300 illustrations of flowers and animals are found in the book. It consists of the Gospel, a menology, and ends with matutinal gospels.[7]


Ivan Kotliarevsky's epic poem version of the Aeneid, by Virgil, is the first piece of literature written in common Ukrainian. It was also the first book to discuss the cultural and history of Ukraine. The library holds five first edition copies.[8]

Collection highlights


  1. "The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine". Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
  2. Vernadsky National Library on
  3. United Nations Depository Libraries: Ukraine
  4. Papyrus 7 is one of the oldest.
  5. "Collection of Jewish Musical Folklore (1912-1947)". UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  6. "Score of Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and Other Compositions by Artemiĭ Vedelʹ". V.I. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine. World Digital Library. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  7. "The Lectionary (Orsha Gospel)". V.I. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine. World Digital Library. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  8. "The Aeneid". V.I. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine. World Digital Library. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
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