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Library of NАМ

The necessity of a special library appeared shortly after the establishment of the Museum. At the end of September 1892 the Library acquired 58 books, the greatest part of them German editions, for 1829 leva. Three months later some volumes were bought for 1372 leva. At the end of April 86 volumes were brought from the National library. This was the beginning of the Museum’s library. In the initial period the Library was supplied chiefly from the Prague bookstore RIVNAC and from bookstores from France, Russia, England, Germany, and Austria.

At the end of 1909 the Library of the Museum already housed 1050 volumes. In the next decade further 581 volumes entered the catalogue. Book supply was a serious problem during World War One. Funds for purchase of books were short, and the Museum authorities were forced to supply the library only with the most important editions only. The keeper of the Ancient Collection Peter Mutafchiev headed the Library until 19191. Maria Bruchkova was a librarian in the period from January 20, 1919 till 1923. From 1923 to 1930 Vassil Mikov headed the Library. He initiated a total revision and all books of the Library entered a special catalogue. In 1921 the Library housed 1978 volumes. In 1923 the library already owned 3216 volumes. Due to lack of means, the library acquired no archaeological magazines from 1926 to 1931. Despite difficulties, the Museum’s staff contributions continued. The more the Museum’s Collections grew, the more the library grew.

The main task of the Library was to support the scholars in their research and to provide the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest archaeological discoveries.

At the end of 1934 the library of the Museum already housed 3656 volumes. In this period Vera Ivanova was a librarian at the Museum. The Library could not supply itself with many necessary volumes and catalogues due to the lack of depots and this situation raised a lot of difficulties in the activity of the staff of the Museum. In the late 1940 the Library already housed 5658 volumes, 1433 of them periodicals.

After World War Two the Library just few books were purchased for the Library. Most of the acquired volumes the Library received as an exchange to editions of the Museum. The irregular issuing of the Museum’s annuals had a bad impact also on the received as exchange periodicals. Due to the lack of space to house the books the Library delivered volumes of different encyclopedia only. The supply with books was a priority for the management of the Museum regardless of the financial difficulties during the years. In later years the establishment of book-exchange relations abroad contributed to the incoming of literature of great scientific value into the library.

The integration of the Museum into the Institute of Archaeology and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences marked a new stage in the development of the Museum’s library. The Central Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences supplied the Library of the Museum, which limited to a certain extent the delivery of the necessary specialized literature. On the other hand the establishment of book exchange relations with relevant institutions abroad contributed a lot to the enrichment of the Library. In the 1950s and 1960s the library was headed by Zlatka Morfova, who transferred to Lalka Nikolova. In 1970s and at the beginning of 1980s Zdravka Hristova headed the Library of the Museum. When she joined the Numismatic and Epigraphic section of the Institute in 1985, she handed her position over to Mariana Radomirova.

From the beginning of 1980s the supply with publications on prehistory, numismatics and epigraphy became a priority for the Library of the Museum, while the Library of the Archaeological Institute focused on the supply with editions on the classic and medieval periods.

The books of the Museum’s Library are scattered in eight rooms due to lack of space. Regardless of this inconvenience, the books the Museum availed are still unique (as the German encyclopedia Pauly’s Real–Encyclopaedie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (1898-1969) – totaling 59 volumes, F. Cabrol – Dictionnaire d’archeologie chretienne et de liturgie (1907-1939) – 11 volumes; Daremberg et Saglio – Dictionnaire des Antiquites Grecques et Romaines (1873-1913) – 9 volumes. Properties of the library are also the full series of the following magazines: The Numismatic Chronicle (1887-2003); Numismatic Notes and Monographs (1920-1996); Glasnik Zemaliskog Muzeja u Bosni i Hercegovini (1891-1990). Many of the monographs in the Library’s catalogue are of antique value: N. Kondakoff, Histoire de L’art Byzantin, 1886; W. Sieglin, Atlas Antiquus, 1893; A. Furtwängler, Die Antiken Gemmen; Geschichte der Steinschneidekunst (1894-1900), three volumes; Carl Blegen, John Caskey, Marion Rawson, Jerome Sperlin, Troy (1950-1951); and many others.

At the end of 2004 the inventories of the Museum’s library consisted of 18478 units; 7644 of them books, and 10834 periodicals.

Mariana Radomirova