Biblioteca Nacional de Chile
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The Biblioteca Nacional de Chile is the national library of Chile. It is located on the Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins in Santiago, in a building completed in 1925, though its history reaches to the early nineteenth century before it was relocated to its current home.
The Biblioteca Nacional is, together with the Instituto Nacional and a small number of institutions, one of the first institutions created by the newly-formed Republic of Chile in the Patria Vieja period. In the bulletin El Araucano, a Proclama de Fundación ("Proclamation of Foundation") of the Biblioteca Nacional was published on August 19, 1813. With this vision, a call was made to all the citizens to submit their books for the formation of one great public library. As with other republican institutions, the library was closed after the Disaster of Rancagua, in which the national troops were defeated by the army of the realistas. With the victorious Battle of Chacabuco, it was reopened and supported by the government, and started to receive important collections. The Supreme Director of Chile, Bernardo O'Higgins, named professor Manuel de Salas as the first director of the Biblioteca Nacional. In 1822 Friar Camilo Henríquez (director of the Aurora de Chile) newspaper was named as the second head librarian.
Since its creation, the library had been a dependency of the Universidad de San Felipe and its successor, the Universidad de Chile, until it gained autonomy in 1852. In 1913, upon its 100th anniversary, the Biblioteca Nacional acquired the Monasterio de Santa Clara, located on the Alameda de las Delicias on present-day Cerro Santa Lucía. At the creation in 1929, the library was made into a dependency of the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos.
Since 1925, Biblioteca Nacional has been situated in the center of the city of Santiago, Chile. Previously, it was located in the square where today stands the Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Municipal Theater of Santiago), the old location of the Universidad de San Felipe. Construction was begun on the present French neoclassical building in 1913, and it was considered one of the commemorative public works in honor of the centenary of the independence of Chile. The library shares its headquarters with the Archivo Nacional de Chile. Adjoining the building is the Santa Lucía metro station. To the east is the Cerro Santa Lucía.
The Bibioteca Nacional has an extensive and valuable collection of books and manuscripts. Several of these were acquired from or donated by their owners, making up an important national historical treasure. The most important collections include:
|Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna||1861|
|José Ignacio Eyzaguirre Portales||1878|
|Diego Barros Arana||1920|
|José Toribio Medina||1925|
|Enrique Matta Vial||1940|
|Raúl Silva Castro||1970|
|Guillermo Feliú Cruz||1974|
See also 
- "La Biblioteca Nacional de Chile" (in Spanish). Official site.