Opening times

Reconstruction of the National Library of Estonia

12. January 2024

At the end of April 2021, the government supported the financing of the reconstruction of the National Library building in the state budget strategy, reconstruction works began in 2022. The designer of the new appearance of the library building is Sirkel & Mall, the interior design solution is provided by VLS Interior Architecture.

Services offered on the replacement premises

During the reconstruction, the National Library works in the building at Narva mnt 11 (the building of Bigbank) and also operates a small branch, ‘an embassy’ in the Solaris Shopping Centre. Borrowing and returning is facilitated by remote lockers available in two large shopping centres.

On the replacement premises we offer all our basic services – the lending and use of works on site, the use of computers, personal counselling and answering enquiries. In educational activities, we put more emphasis on visiting schools on site. Our digital services become increasingly important – in 2022 we launched MIRKO, the nationwide lending platform for physical collections and e-publications (including audiobooks). We continue to offer everyone access to hundreds of different scientific and cultural databases and the digital archive DIGAR. As a state and parliamentary library, we also provide services to state agencies and the Parliament of Estonia, the Riigikogu.

It is important to take into account that access to our collections is limited during the reconstruction, because everything except the open collections are packed and stored in repositories during that time.

About the new building

There will be significant changes in the new building. One can ask: if the form, i.e. the building itself, is under heritage protection and the content is inherently conservative – aimed at preservation – then what changes can we talk about here? However, there are quite a few changes.

First, the units of the National Archives currently scattered all across Tallinn will establish themselves in the new building along with their collections and services. This makes all kinds of research and information use much more convenient. Both current and brand-new educational activities of the library will gain even more importance in these improved conditions. The role of the library as an educational centre will increase significantly, both in terms of the training offered, conducting independent research and, more broadly, lifelong learning opportunities.

Secondly, the existing units (humanities, social and music libraries) will be renewed so that there will be more opportunities on these floors to organise various events, hold workshops and also spend time in an equally pleasant environment. Silence remains, but not everywhere; there will be more opportunities to communicate.

The growth of the entire library as a cultural environment in the most creative sense of the word is certainly one of the primary goals. This would be noticed as soon as you enter the spacious atrium of the building which turns into an inner street and the heart of organising events, from where you can get to completely new types of cafes as well as a 24-hour self-service library. Life in the new building will not stop for a single moment.

We wish to spread the message that the renovated building will be open to everyone. Spending time in the library should be more exciting and natural than hanging out in a shopping centre. A warm, bright and interesting place in the cold season, pleasantly cool and ever interesting in the warm summer.

Exterior view visuals: Sirkel & Mall
Interior view visuals: VLS Interior Architecture