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Past and Present

The Belarusian State University Fundamental Library (BSU FL) was founded on October 30, 1921.

BSU FL is one of the oldest and biggest university libraries in the Republic of Belarus. 40 thousand books given by the People’s Commissariat for Enlightenment of the BSSR as well as additional 20 thousand books from the former Theological Seminary became the basis of its funds. In total the initial contributions of local stocks in the BSUFL funds was about 70 thousand volumes.

In 1922 in accordance with the BSSR Council of People’s Commissars’ decree the BSU FL was transformed into the Belarusian State and University Library, which combined functions of the state library with functions of the university library. As the library also performed functions of the central bibliographical institution in BSSR, the Belarusian Book Chamber (in 1924) and the Bibliographic Bureau (in 1925) were created at the library.
In 1926 in accordance with the BSSR Council of People’s Commissars’ decree about re-organization of the Belarusian State and University Library into the Belarusian State Library (BSL) the BSL became independent from the Belarusian State University and practically the total fund (above 200,000 volumes) of the university library was given to the newly organized library.
After separation of the Belarusian State Library as an independent establishment, according to its Statutes it continued to fulfill functions as a university library till 1930. In 1931 a new library was formed at BSU on the basis of the rest part of the fund (mainly educational literature).
By the beginning of 1941 the fund of the university library consisted of 200 thousands of volumes. During the Minsk occupation time fascist invaders destroyed the larger part of books of the university library and a part of valuable literature was removed to Germany.
The second birth of the university library began at Shodnya station of the October railway near Moscow, where BSU restarted its work in October 1943. In that time great help in stocking of the Fundamental Library’s funds was rendered by the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Moscow State Pedagogical University named after K. Liebknecht, and the RSFSR State Fund, located in Moscow and Leningrad.
At the start of re-evacuation of the university to Minsk (in August-October 1944) the university library consisted of about 20,000 volumes. Only in 1952 the library fund reached its pre-war level and an annual acquisition reached 50 - 55 thousand volumes. Restoration of the library fund lost during the Great Patriotic War continued until 1955.
The most favorable times for developing the Fundamental Library’s funds were 1970-1980s. In the beginning of 1990s situation became worse due to cutting down budget financing, absence of state support of educational and scientific literature publishing, collapse of traditional book supply system, absence of efficient information about newly published literature, and high price of literature.
At present the universal BSU Fundamental Library‘s funds consist of above 2 million volumes of Belarusian, Russian and other languages’ literature. The Library has 820 readers’ places, 150 workers, 9 home loan departments, 17 departmental and specialized reading rooms, above 26,000 registered users, and provides 1,851,000 book loans annually. The annual library acquisitions is about 50,000 new editions. Annually it subscribes to above 1,070 titles of Belarusian and foreign periodicals, conducts international book exchange with 136 research and educational institutions located in 24 countries of the world.


Historically formed the fund of rare and valuable editions includes old-printed editions; collection of revolutionary press and the press of Soviet rule's first years; the first especially valuable and printed in authors’ lifetime editions of classical works of science, literature and arts; the editions, which can be patterns of artwork and polygraphic design; miniature and small editions; reprints and facsimile; the editions with autographs of well-known scientists, writers, poets, politicians, and professors of BSU; illegal and illicit pre-revolutionary editions; the editions that were returned from the department of special depositary; the best serial editions, books illustrated by famous artists; copies with bookplates and owners' stamps; copies with censorial correcting and marginalia.

Depositary funds of the United Nations Organization and the International Monetary Fund at the Fundamental library represent significant information and cultural value and give library users a chance to work with origins of UN and IMF documents and publications, statistical yearbooks, materials of conferences, seminars, symposiums, collections of agreements, periodicals in Russian and English languages.


Over a period of many decades the BSU Fundamental library is continuously the Republic Methodical Center for more than 50 libraries of Belarusian higher educational institutions.

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