Manuscripts Reading Room


Famed Fabulist Krylov's Corner. Photo. Between 1900 and 1914


«...The small room is filled with bookcases. On the left wall is an oil painting portrait of the prominent comedy writer Denis Fonvizin. At the right window, overlooking the theater square, was the usual place of the fabulist Krylov. One of the most popular authors headed the Russian Books Department until his death in 1844...»  

« After Krylov's death, none of so many puplications of his famous fables was found in the library: they all were worn out or lost. This demonstrate how little importance Krylov attached to the interests of his personal pride and prestige ... Now, near this literary and historical place is a low cabinet with a bust of Alexander Humboldt, modeled after a photograph by Borichevsky... »

Strolling through the Imperial Public Library. 1872



The library was open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, except holidays falling on those days, from 10 am to 9 pm in summer, and  until sunset in winter. To use the library as a reader, everyone needed to complete the application form, according to the sample. Then they obtainined an access card to visit the Library, read books and make extracts from them, receiving ink from the Library. Every visitor was provided with an individual drawer in tables to store their papers. It was allowed to set a personal seal on the drawer, but it was strictly forbidden to put the library books in there.

The cards were valid for one year, and ... all who wish to visit the Library the next year had to renew their cards.

To access the Manuscripts Department, readers had to apply for special one-day-passes. The passes were given only the next day. The number was limited to no more than four visitors per day. Each visit was scheduled for a time, so readers came to the library at the appointed hour.


Photo Gallery



Illustrations from manuscripts
Ex Libris
(Titles for illustrations are given in Russian)
Oriental Manuscripts
Oriental Manuscripts
German Manuscript Prayerbooks
German Manuscript Prayerbooks