National Assembly Library

The National Assembly library belongs to a group of special, closed-type parliamentary libraries.

The premises of the parliamentary library were specially designed when the construction of the National Assembly was planned in 1901. After construction was completed in 1936, the layout, purpose and name of the premises where the library and reading room (room no.17) have been located to this very day, finally became official.

The fund of the National Assembly library was compiled from the fund of the library of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia which in 1918 (the time of the unification) inherited the book fund of the library of the National Assembly of the Principality and Kingdom of Serbia from 1889. The oldest part of the fund contains the books belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbia, and then the Presidency of the Ministerial Council which also comprised the Central Press Bureau and library.

The budget and work rules of the assembly library were for the first time officially stipulated in the Law on Procedures at the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Serbia of November 1, 1889.

According to the Work Review of the National Assembly in the 2nd regular convocation for 1909 from October 1, 1909 to June 12, 1910, the National representative office contained, among others, a library and reading room. This library kept all the assembly protocols and shorthand notes from the beginning of assembly work to the day the Review was printed. Also, it contained all the laws, ordinances and codes in addition to other books, mostly from the areas of legal and financial sciences.

The librarian at the time was law student Dragisa Stojadinovic (1886-1968), who later fought in the Balkan Wars 1912-1913 and World War One, Knight of the Order of the Star of Karadjordje with swords, best shot in Europe 1908-1914, lawyer, politician, member of parliament, photographer and film cameraman, chief of the Cinematography Section of the Serbian Army Supreme Command in the Salonika Front.

The Assembly building at the time stood at the corner of Queen Marija and Milos the Great Streets, and the building housing the library was separate from the assembly building but stood in the same yard and was not owned by the Assembly but was rented.

In its long history, the National Assembly library was headed by some other persons of note whose work had left a lasting mark on the Serbian society of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. Poet Vojislav Ilic’s older brother Dragutin J. Ilic (1858-1926), author, playwright, journalist, lawyer and politician was appointed National Assembly librarian in 1905, post he held until retirement. Branislav Nusic (1864-1938), Serbian writer - novelist, playwright, author of stories and essays, comediographer, the father of rhetorics in Serbia, journalist and diplomat, was appointed National Assembly librarian in 1929 and history says that “he awaited retirement there”, accepted into the Serbian Academy of Sciences four years later. Serbian politician, journalist, historian and member of the parliament of the Kingdom of Serbia Dragisa Lapcevic (1867-1939) was appointed National Assembly librarian after the end of his term as MP, and stayed at the post until retirement.

The interior of the current library at the National Assembly House is covered in oak woodwork and according to many represents one of esthetically best interior designs in the assembly building. The library owes its design to the famous Belgrade carpenter Dragoje Barac. It is important to mention that the various pieces of furniture in the library are authentic and quite remarkable. The furniture at the National Assembly was manufactured by several makers among which the enterprise “Stolarija Progres” from Belgrade did the majority of the work. Similar to the furniture, the lighting was specially designed, and the author of the project was architect Nikolai Krasnov. According to his project all the light fixtures were decoratively modeled and manufactured in Zagreb from bronze or brass and adapted to the general stylistic characteristics of the interior design.

In addition to the reading room, the library had a so-called reference library created in 1964, comprising a number of daily newspapers, federal, republican and provincial official journals, as well as a number of reference books. The library was situated at the Palace of Serbia in New Belgrade, on the fifth floor – rooms 531 and 532.

In the late 1990s the reference library fund was transferred to the library at the National Assembly House.

Today, the library comprises a reading room with a gallery and depot containing the bulk of the library fund.

The library fund contains over 60,000 books and periodicals in Serbian and foreign languages from the spheres of legislations, history, politics, law, economy, statistics, sociology, philosophy … The fund also contains a comprehensive collection of handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, lexicons.

The collection of shorthand notes since the beginning of development of parliamentarianism in our country is of great historical importance. The collection contains:

  • protocols of the Serbian National Assembly from 1859 to 1918;
  • shorthand minutes of the Assembly and Senate of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1861 to 1912;
  • quickhand reports of the Assembly of the Kingdom of Dalmatia from 1876 to 1908;
  • shorthand notes of the Montenegrin National Assembly from 1906 to 1914;
  • shorthand reports of the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1910 to 1914;
  • shorthand notes of the National Assembly of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes from 1918 to 1939, as well as
  • shorthand notes of the First and Second Session of the AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council of the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia) and shorthand notes of the sessions of the council of assemblies of socialist Yugoslavia since 1945, as well as other shorthand notes to the present.

The library also possesses a very valuable collection of original hand-written notes from the sessions of the Assembly of the Kingdom of Serbia from 1914 to 1918 in Nis and Corfu; a collection of the oldest laws printed in the country; a collection of about a hundred rarities; sets of official journals from 1921 to the present, collections of republican official journals from 1945 to the present, official journals of the former republics of the SFRY from 1945 to 1992 and periodicals (newspapers and magazines) in Serbian and foreign languages, kept at the library since the year 2000.

The collection of old and rare books containing about a hundred titles and comprising 18th and 19th century editions is particularly valuable. The collection is made up mostly of constitutions, laws, codes and collections of ordinances, a testament to Serbia’s tumultuous history:

  • the so-called Sretenje Constitution of 1835, the first Serbian Constitution;
  • the Constitution of the Principality of Serbia of 1838 better known as the Sultan’s Hatisheriff and all the constitutions of our and some foreign states to date.
Among the laws and codes, it is important to mention Dusan’s Code printed in 1898. The collection of old and rare books is made up primarily of university textbooks from the areas of history, language, logic, political economy, geography, philosophy written by our famous authors Djuro Danicic, Joakim Vujic, Avram Mrazovic, Sima Milutinovic Sarajlija, Cedomilj Mijatovic, Ljubomir P. Nenadovic (publisher), Danilo Medakovic and others. When it comes to fiction, the collection contains “Davorje” by Jovan Sterija Popovic, “Stihotvorenija” by Lukijan Musicki, the novel “Velimir and Bosiljka” Milovan Vidakovic etc. Two publications of the champion of Serbian literacy Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic can also be found at the library ''Kovcezic za istoriju, jezik i obicaje Srba sva tri zakona (vere)'' (“Casket for history, language and customs of Serbs of all three laws (faiths)”) and ''Praviteljstvujusci sovjet srpski za vremena Karadjordjijeva'' (“Serbian Governing Council in Karadjordje's Times”).

In addition to books, the collection contains six valuable periodical titles among which “Slavenoserbski Magazin” from 1768 is both the oldest and most valuable publication in the collection of old and rare books.

The publications in the collection of rarities were mostly printed in Belgrade/Kragujevac – Knjigopecatije Knjazestva srpskog (Serbian Principality Printing House), Novi Sad – Knjigopecatnja Danila Medakovica (Printing House of Danilo Medakovic), but there are some printed in Karlovci – Tipografija Mitropolitsko-gimnazijalna (Metropolitan-Gymnasium’s Typography), Buda - Royal Hungarian University Letters (Pismena Kraljevskog Univerziteta Ungarskog), Vienna – at Schnirer’s, Leipzig – at the Armenian monastery and at George Viland’s, Episkopska knjigopecatnja (Episcopal Printing House) ...

The entire library material is recorded in inventory books. Before being entered in an inventory book, each publication is stamped with a special library stamp (round and square containing an inventory number). The first book entered into Inventory Book No.1 of February 17, 1959 is Vesnic, Mil.R: Nas politicki bukvar (Our Political Primer) from 1891.

In early 2002 a Program of modernisation of the library was adopted envisaging a complete reorganisation, primarily upgrading and technical outfitting.

The library material may be accessed by the MPs, scientific workers and all interested parties with a request previously approved by the Secretary General.

The Library provides support to the functioning of the National Assembly by preparing research and informative reviews. By cooperating with research services of national parliaments and international organisations, particularly the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation, the Library follows contemporary trends in the exchange of information relating to parliamentary work. The request for research is submitted to the Head of the Library on a special form which is a component part of the Rulebook on the request procedure for research and drafting of research papers of the National Assembly Library which is available on the National Assembly website.


Reading Room of the National Assembly Library
address: 13 Nikola Pasic Square
contact telephone: 011-3026-315

Head of the National Assembly Library
Jelena Markovic
address: 14 Kralja Milana Street
contact telephone: 011-3026-100

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