The library was founded by King Philip V of Spain in 1712 as the Palace Public Library (Biblioteca Pública de Palacio). The Royal Letters Patent that he granted, the predecessor of the current legal deposit requirement, made it mandatory for printers to submit a copy of every book printed in Spain to the library. In 1836, the library’s status as Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the Ministry of Governance (Ministerio de la Gobernación). At the same time, it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional.
The National Library acts as the custodian of every publication produced in Spain. It receives and stores copies of all the books published in our country. It also holds an extremely valuable collection of incunabula, manuscripts, illustrations, drawings, photographs, audio recordings, musical scores, etc.
Conde Duque-Memoria de Madrid Digital Library
Located in the Conde Duque Center, The memoriademadrid Digital Library was born in 2008 with the purpose of digitizing the historical documentation held by the Madrid City Council. Since then, it has created an important digital collection in which are represented funds of such a different nature as those preserved in the archives, libraries or museums of the City Council, trying to establish relationships between them to achieve a global vision of the municipal historical heritage.
The Royal Library
The Royal Library, located in the Royal Palace of Madrid, has its origins in the House of Bourbons’ private library. It can be noticed that in its creation there was a desire to reproduce a Fine Arts Cabinet in which the various collections, not just the bibliographic ones, could share the same room. So, it encompassed musical instruments, medals and coins, drawing tools, and devices used for scientific and mathematical research.
In all its rooms, there are near 300,000 printings, excelling its collection of 263 incunabula, and 119,000 printings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Furthermore, there are manuscripts, sheet music, historical photographs, periodicals, maps, etchings, and drawings.
Nowadays, the Royal library is a research centre for History of books. It has an important digital library depicting manuscripts, incunabula, forbidden and purged books, and a collection of drawings belonging to Fernando VII.