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Spanish National Library

Front page

  • Façade of the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Gabriel Muñiz. Ministerio de Cultura

    Façade of the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Gabriel Muñiz. Ministerio de Cultura

  • Reference room in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

    Reference room in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

  • Staircase. Entrance hall in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

    Staircase. Entrance hall in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura



Library owned by the state
Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22
28071 Madrid

Telephone+34 915807800

Fax+34 915775634


Temporary exhibitions

The Spanish National Library was founded by Philip V and opened its doors in 1712 with the name of Royal Public Library. It is today Spain's primary national library institution.

By means of a system of legal deposit, one or various copies of all bibliographic articles, on any kind of support, are entered in the Spanish National Library. It is therefore home to an extensive collection of works of extraordinary value of all different kinds. The manuscripts, personal archives, incunabula and ancient and modern printed matter, in addition to journals and periodicals, form the basis of Spain's bibliographic heritage. Particularly exceptional is the Cervantes collection, containing 26 editions of Don Quixote printed in the 17th century. This cultural heritage is further enriched by an important collection of music and sound and audiovisual recordings. The Spanish Public Library has an outstanding and extensive collection of etchings, of which particular highlights include various prints by Francisco de Goya, an extremely valuable collection of original drawings including works by Velázquez and Murillo, and an excellent and numerous collection of photographs. The library also offers an attractive cultural programme of exhibitions, lectures and presentations, as well as the Library Museum.

Essential works

  • 'Psalter. Book of Hours'. Madrid © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Psalter. Book of Hours.

    This is one of the most important liturgical manuscripts in the National Library.

    More info
  • Benôit de Sainte-More. Chronicle of Troy © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Chronicle of Troy

    This is one of the only two remaining examples of what is known as 'The Trojan chronicle' translated into Galician, and is therefore of great importance to scholars of this language and its development.

    More info
  • Avila bible © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Avila bible

    Large-format codex containing the Old and New Testaments. The importance of the work derives from the capital letters, which are copiously decorated in several colours.

    More info
  • Biblia Hispalense © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Biblia Hispalense

    This work, of Moorish influence, is written in Latin, in Visigoth lower case, although it also contains titles in Hebrew and notes in Arabic.

    More info
  • Collection of general verse by many and various authors © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Copy of the "Cancionero General"

    This collection of verse consists of works by poets who were contemporaries of Hernando del Castillo and moved in Valencian circles, where they dealt with a wide range of issues.

    More info
  • Collection of verse by Stúñiga © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Manuscript of ‘Songbook of Stúñiga’

    This is a collection of works of the poets in the court of Alfonso V “el Magnánimo”, King of Aragon.

    More info
  • Punishments and documents of King Sancho © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Book of punishments

    This is a compilation of some of the most representative and best-known tales of the Middle Ages, illustrated with scenes from daily life.

    More info
  • Daza codex. Madrid © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Daza codex

    This work by Lope de Vega is written in a notebook, of which the last 96 pages are bound upside down.

    More info
  • Madrid Codices (Vol. II) © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Madrid Codices (Vol. II)

    Of outstanding artistic and documentary value, this is the only work in Spain that has been attributed unequivocally to Leonardo da Vinci. This is the second volume of the work.

    More info
  • Here begins the book known as a declaration of musical instruments © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Here begins the book known as a declaration of musical instruments

    This is one of the great Spanish Renaissance treatises and is a valuable source of information on the development of instrumental music and the evolution of musical thought throughout the 16th century.

    More info

Temporary exhibitions

  • Cover of “Poet in New York

    The camera that writes poetry

    What are the relationships between poetry and photography? Through a wide selection of books of poetry which have been photographically illustrated (and vice versa), this exhibition shows how the two disciplines have been interlinked from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present day. More info
  • Front cover of “(Un)expected” by Peter Dekens, winner of the Best Photography Book of the Year Award 2017. Publisher The Eriskay Connection

    PHotoEspaña18. The year’s best photography books

    The photography book has become an essential tool for sharing photographic work. This exhibition displays around a hundred books which stand out for their concept, design and quality, and have been selected by the PHotoEspaña festival. More info


The library's collections are included in the Collective Catalogue of Spanish Bibliographic Heritage, created for the purpose of describing and locating books and other bibliographic items held in libraries and Spanish institutions which, for reason of their antiquity, singularity or value, form part of Spain's Historic Heritage.

Come and visit


Sep 16 to Jun 15

Monday A Friday

Does not close at midday

9:00 AM to 9:00 PM


9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Closing days: Sundays

Jun 16 to Sep 15

9:00 AM to 7:30 PM

Closing days: Weekend

In-house consultation
Newspaper and magazine archive
Bibliographic information
Inter-library lending
Document reservation
Reference service
Guided tours

Accessible to the disabled, with companion
Car park


Find tourist information in the surroundings

Very interesting


Facade of the National Library. Madrid

Nov 25, 2017 to Dec 30, 2018

Children's activity

Spanish National Library - Madrid
Family workshops at the National Library

Discover the surroundings See more

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