The Library was one of the departments of the
museum as soon as it was founded in 1821. Since the museum was of a complex
character at the time – the natural sciences had a strong prevalence – older
publications in the museum Library do not only belong to the field of the
humanities and the social sciences, but this part of the fund is equally
important for exploring the history of the natural sciences.
However, another aspect must be highlighted
here. Museum activities and concern for the preservation of heritage blossomed
in Slovenia in the 20th century and a need for creating special museums sprung
up. The funds of the National Museum of the time went to create the Slovenian
Ethnographic Museum in 1923, and the Slovenian Museum of Natural History in
1944. These divisions did not encroach on the Library funds, the only division
that slightly curtailed the Library collection was the independence of the
present-day Archives of the Republic of Slovenia (1926), which was actually
only carried out three decades later when the institution received its premises
in Gruber Mansion.
In the printed advertisement An die vaterländischen Freunde der
Wissenschaften, published by the Provincial Estates in 1823, it is stated
that the museum also collects all printed and handwritten works from the fields
of national culture, local historiography and archival documentation. So, an
important collection of printed documents about Carniola began to form. In
1836, the Library contained 1292 books and 356 volumes of periodicals. The
donations of individuals, institutions and societies were important for the
further growth of its fund. Today, books from important Carniolan libraries
owned by individuals (e.g. Baron Josef Kalasanz von Erberg from Dol near
Ljubljana, Anastasiu Grün – pseudonym for Anton Alexander von Auersperg, Karel
Dežman and Miroslav Premruj) and societies (Historical and Museum Society of
Carniola) are kept here. The manner of obtaining publications was the consistent
exchange with similar affiliates around the world, which continues to this day.
After being relocated to the present building at
Prešerenova ulica, the Library of the National Museum was arranged following
modern library standards in the 1920s. The space in the left wing of the ground
floor was dedicated to it, which had originally been designed as an exhibition
hall. Up till 1984, there was even no electrical installation in this part, and
today it no longer meets the safety conditions for the operation of a modern
In 1994, the Library joined the general library
and information system of the Slovenian libraries as the first specialist
library within the field of culture. In 2001, newly equipped rooms in line with
the times were acquired in the right section of the ground floor.
The move of all the material to the new
premises was completed in 2006.