Imperial Public Library was founded May 16, 1795 the highest command of Empress Catherine II.
National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg is the oldest and first public Russian National Library, which has become one of the largest libraries in the world and the second largest funds in the Russian Federation, national memory storage nationwide information, research and cultural center. Throughout its existence, the Library continues to enrich the collection of the National Fund of printed products and to maintain free access to it.
Idea to organize a shared library was born at the beginning of the XVIII century. In 1766, a plan to create Russia’s public library was introduced by Catherine II, but only May 16, 1795 the Russian empress approved opening the project in St. Petersburg Imperial Library. The plan was to open the library in 1812, but due to the Napoleonic invasion of the main part of the collection was moved from St. Petersburg, and the opening had to be postponed for two years. It took place on January 2, 1814.