The Library’s History
The Bucharest Municipality Museum Library owns a valuable collection of new and antique books about the city’s history. The collection was made available for researchers and the public starting with November 1st 2017 within the historical building of the “Admiral Vasile Urseanu” Astronomical Observatory, located on No. 21 Lascar Catargiu Boulevard.
First documented in 1935, it was conceived from its very beginning as a library focused on the history of Romanians and the city of Bucharest and its surroundings. It largely owes its existence to Doctor George Severeanu who was its first director and donor. Up until 2000, the library functioned as a resource for specialized staff and their external partners involved in research, but starting with 2000 it was opened to the public as well with the set-up of a Study Hall, thus returning to the initial concept of the founders who wanted to offer the community access to information, data and images about the city’s history.
During the interwar period, the Library functioned inside the Casa Moruzi museum (No. 117 Calea Victoriei), and from 1956 to the autumn of 2017 inside the Suțu Palace (No. 2 Ion C. Brătianu Boulevard). Being a specialized library, it does not provide lending services to the public so books cannot be taken home, but published works can be accessed for free in the Study Hall from Monday to Thursday, 9:00 – 15:00. Readers have access to the Catalogue of books available in the Study Hall and to the electronic file that lists all titles acquired by the library in 2015 – 2017.
Fees for photocopying and photographing available books are:
- Photocopying one A4 page = 0.50 lei
- Photographing = 10 lei/day
The books stock of the Bucharest Municipality Museum Library was formed and developed in time through donations, acquisitions and exchanges with other libraries, in addition to books and magazines edited by the museum. It covers works on Romanian history, the city’s history, accounts of foreign travelers in the Romanian Principalities, as well as books printed in Bucharest in the mediaeval and modern ages.
Starting with a nucleus of 3000 volumes in 1949, the library now owns about 53000 items, representing monographs, serial publications and digital documents. They are organized as follows: Contemporary Books Stock, the Periodicals Stock, the Special Stock and the Old Books Stock that in turn includes: manuscripts (18th – 19th century), old foreign books (1560 – 1800), old Romanian books (1648 – 1830), bibliophile valuable books (1830 – 1900) and old Romanian periodicals (19th century).
The Library has an encyclopedic structure, containing works from various domains (history, archaeology, anthropology, museology, memoirs, numismatics, art, architecture, law, geography etc.). Many copies include dedications and ex libris that offer information on who their past owners were, many of whom are notable figures of their time: Mihail Ghica, Nicolae Bălcescu, Cesar Bolliac, Al. Papiu-Ilarian, Constantin C. Brătianu, dr. George Severeanu, Dinu V. Rosetti, George D. Florescu, Gheorghe Tătărescu, his Eminence Vladimir Ghica etc.