Opening times

11 September marks 30 years since the opening of the Tõnismägi building of the National Library

8. September 2023

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Tõnismägi building, the National Library of Estonia opened the online exhibition ’The old and new beginning of the National Library’, which provides an overview of the decades-long search for a place for the National Library, and its arrival in Tõnismägi, where the cornerstone of its new building was laid in 1986.

Thirty years ago on 11 September, with 900 guests in the vestibule, the mood in Tõnismägi was grand. ‘Today, we are in the centre of the Gutenberg galaxy,’ said President Lennart Meri, putting the moment between the past and the future into words. The festive mood emanating from every square centimetre was fuelled by the positive energy of the large audience and Director General Iivi Eenmaa. President Meri believed that if the world developed in a decent direction, then this building would become the strongest protective shield of the Republic of Estonia.

‘The vestibule was so full of people that employees had to listen to the speeches and observe the blessing of the building from the balconies,’ recalled Krista Viivika Kats, who celebrated her 50th year of work at the National Library this autumn and who back then worked as the Deputy of the Repository Department.

At last, the construction that had begun eight years prior and had gone through many obstacles was now completed, making dreams come true. The formal opening of the National Library took place three years later than planned. Visitors were welcomed as early as February 1993.

The new life of the National Library

According to Director General Janne Andresoo, the National Library has been careful when reorganising and rethinking the library, to make sure the building remains as the protective shield of Estonia and that the atmosphere of the Gutenberg galaxy is retained in every room.

‘The future National Library makes room for the standard quiet reading room, but most of the public space is characterised by keywords like flexibility, inspiration, openness, creativity and co-creation,’ Janne Andresoo said, expressing hope that the library could simultaneously be a living room, office, studio, laboratory, stage and reading room.

The opening of the reconstructed building of the National Library is planned for 2026. 

The online exhibition ‘The old and new beginning of the National Library’ is available HERE.

We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Tõnismägi building of the National Library with a tour around the building. The tour is led by Jaak Juske.