Posted 4 March, 2014 by MCD in Heritage

National Library


logo bibliotecaThe National Library of Guatemala “Luis Cardoza y Aragón” was founded by Decree promulgated on 29 October 1879 by the decree issued on that date but prior was established by Government Decision issued 18 October 1879 , likewise opened and structured in Building the Economic Society. Because Guatemala suffered constantly earthquakes, National Library moved to the Greater Hall at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, between 1917-1918. The present site dates from September 1957, with an area of 7858 m².

It houses, representations of Mayan codes, Tejada played by Antonio Fonseca, Guillermo Grajeda Mena and José Antonio Oliviero.

Mission and Vision

Being the main reference librarianship in the country, depostiario bibliographic material published in and Guatemala and make the library a meeting, a cultural center that contributes to the overall growth of the community and promotes cultural development, economic equality, social, ethnic and gender and inclusion of vulnerable groups and minorities through free access to knowledge, information, recreation and technologies.

Collecting and preserving the national bibliographic heritage in all its forms, allowing constitute a body that holds the intellectual memory, historical, scientific and cultural center of Guatemala for posterity as well as make it available to the public and provide quality service to users.


So start

So was the inauguration

In Guatemala City, on the fourteenth day of September 1957, being eleven hours, gathered at the National Library Building, Constitutional President of the Republic Mr. Luis Arturo González López; Bachelor Federico Carbonell, President of the Legislative Branch; Mr. Jose Gregorio Fuentes Aguilar, President of the Judiciary; Ministers of State; Mr. Vicente Diaz Samayoa, Rector of the University of San Carlos of Guatemala; Archbishop Mariano Rossell y Arellano, Archbishop of Guatemala; Ingeniero Julio Obiols, Mayor of Guatemala City; Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Consular, persons invited to the effect, proceeded in the following way:

  1. National Anthem of Guatemala;
  2. Keys delivery by the Minister of Communications and Works, Ing. Ricardo Barrios Pena, Baltasar Education at Morales de la Cruz;
  3. Speech by the President of the Republic, Mr. Luis Arturo González López;
  4. Remarks by Mr. Director of the National Library, Licensed Ricardo Castañeda Paganini;
  5. Reading of Minutes of Inauguration;
  6. Marcha final; and
  7. Visit the Building

Historical Review

This cultural center founded by the government of General Barrios 1879, and since the public service 24 June of the following year, has journeyed through different parts of the city, to find an awkward break in the place today, in the lounge adjacent to the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences.

The agreement in question in its preamble phase, among other things, indicates that this center will be one of the most effective means of spreading all kinds of useful knowledge, "And warns himself that this capital, despite its importance, lacks an establishment of this kind where everyone can go to acquire the instruction like, reading of works are chosen ".

Under the agreement foundation, Library work in "one of the most suitable rooms in the building of the Economic Society" "and would be the first volumes of the Company, as well as those in the private libraries of the University, Polytechnic, School of Arts and Crafts and convents belonging to the extinct ".

Upon dissolution of the Economic Society by government order dated 20 April 1881, its site was occupied by the National Library Representation and then went to the building where hitherto had worked the Assembly.


The 27 October of the same year in which he founded, the Government issued a regulation, whereby the way in which the library reglaba deploy activities. In this Regulation compound 14 articles, no provision which states that depend on the Ministry of Education and is divided into five sections namely: Right, Medicine, Physical Sciences - Mathematics, Humanities and Others.

In the section of law correspond: Fatherland Law, foreign laws and codes, dissertations of jurists, Roman Canon Law and Natural, Law of Nations, Public and Administrative, Forensic Practice, Political Economy, and in general all those included under the heading of political science and social.

The Medical Section should understand: Natural history, Anatomy, Physiology and Hygiene, Pathologies, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, and everything that was framed in the name of medical science.

The third branch should occupy: Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanics, Meteorology and understand everything that is in the name of pure or applied sciences.

The fourth section: treaties dead languages ​​and living. Literature, Philosophy, Geography and History, Rhetoric and Poetics: and finally, miscellaneous section should be included encyclopaedias, periodic, Travel relations, industry, fine arts, novels and other works that are not covered by the above branches.

His Inauguration:

Day of great celebration for the culture of Guatemala, was the 24 June 1880 when the Agreement became effective which created the National Library at the opening of this center in one of the halls of the Legislative Assembly in the same place where today the Congress works.

An unusual enthusiasm overflowed with fine eloquence Library services. His inaugural speech is a whole piece in the fields of Literature. He spoke to the people among other things, of supreme humanity and stated that this library is an element of reform and political consolidation and it completes the regeneration plan for the country's freedom and light values.

His Pilgrimage:

True, the government founded a Library Barrios but it is also true that for 78 years old, that library had not been provided with a local chord with its hierarchy. Assembly building was moved as a result of earthquakes 1917 the house now occupied by the School of Arts and crafts feminine, opposite the park Morazán. Later in different circumstances, the Government is the need to place their shelves in the living room that overlooks the 10th. Street.

Keys delivery

Peña Flores handed over the keys of the new library building to the Minister of Education Baltasar de la Cruz Morales, continuous act, López González President inaugurated the building on behalf of government.

He said the ruling that the importance of such a center which was inaugurated on Saturday, It is very deep, because their projections are directed towards the roots of the people and on the other hand, its influence would be beneficial, productive and fruitful.

Ricardo Castañeda also licensed Paganini, director of the National Library, expressed their gratitude to the government for the completion of this important work, and made roughly a historical sketch of the libraries of Guatemala. After completion of the act, Interim President and his entourage visited the various institutions.


Guatemala 14 September 1957

11:00 A.M.

In presenting the work to the Ministry of Education, the first secretary of Communications and Works, Mr. José Felipe Peña Flores delivered the following address:


Ladies and Gentlemen:


l open this magnificent building, façade of straight and harmonious lines rises opposite the main square of the city, quiero refer to aspects you read closely Atanas, incidental one, primarily the other. This factory was specially designed to install it to the National Library is a, of the few works initiated by Dr. Arevalo, abandoned by Arbenz and completed by this administration.

One of the outstanding virtues of our broken boss and friend, Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, sacrificed in a cowardly way we all know and regret was not despise any work, no law, any purpose that builds on the public good and was conceived with the purpose of providing services to the community. The many rooms is now open and offer the people, are the unimpeachable testimony of generous spirit who always encouraged constructive Colonel Castillo Armas; Who will go down in history as the archetype of laborious official with full awareness that govern is to build and teach.

With this background, it is not surprising that in the first paragraphs of our discourse, excited evoke the memory of the illustrious president gone, who put so much interest and affection in the completion of this work, he considered useful as a window into the culture.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest and most serious concerns of prehistoric man, was preserved and passed elementary explanation of certain phenomena and empirical problem-solving some fruits of experience or chance - repeatedly lost infidelity or oral tradition, only means of communicating. These grains namely, knowledge that these drops were all science of an era, could be preserved and transmitted as a precious heritage from generation to generation, when man invented writing and learned to carve stone bricks and burn, glorious predecessors papyrus and parchment, sacred materials where men recorded their observations and dreams.

Testimony and rather vivid memory of the first pages of history, science or chronology are painted frescoes building entrance; copies of the Dresden Codex and the Codex Tro - Maya cortesiano where our grandparents representative of a vigorous race that he created around corn a superior culture, left undeciphered in cryptograms summary of their achievements in various disciplined activities.

Later came the paper and consequently item, the book came to solve the problem permanently to spread knowledge. Note and the wonderful book function, which can in a word condesarse: teach; but this is too simple a laconic, we must add that the methods of teaching are plural and the book contains most; it is the richest and most varied manifestations of human intelligence; it's unpublished and special messages for all ages and all the hierarchies; page is open to which we can all attend is the wise and kind teacher always willing to repeat the lesson; is the incorruptible guardian of culture. The book is self-taught college, the director of the learned, Solo's friend and fellow patient. Through them we dialogue with the choicest spirits of all time, inform us of the concerns of this and we still have the vision of the future that can be.

The person who does not have daily contact with books, back to the living culture and have private, voluntarily, of the purest joys and sensitive man who can enjoy. In its pages, panorama of centuries, is projected path of humanity from the Stone Age to the present day. Myths and legends, achievements and failures, greatness and misery, all there, as evidence of the weaknesses and heroism of the species; and when the body of flesh and blood does not give the painful or sublime as, needed to represent a certain type, then the genius creates, mixing the mud and shows human yeast: Oedipus, La Celestina, Truffle, Hamlet o don Quijote…

Scarce and therefore expensive books, were a privilege of the powerful principle, later warned the public to collect them the convenience of giving rise to the libraries. The oldest and most famous of which we are aware was that of Alexandria, created by Ptolemy Philadelphus 300 BC and destroyed by the fanaticism of Omar in the seventh century AD. In medieval culture took refuge in monasteries and monks were jealous guardians of classical antiquity; because they came to us not a few works of Greek and Latin writers.

It was during the brilliant period of the Renaissance when the desire came back to collect literary works; Popes and great Italian masters sent special envoys to search for books and manuscripts; numerous clerks were hired to copy manuscripts old notes and good translations are lavishly paid. After the invention of the printing press revolutionized the art of publishing books wine, multiplying and popularizing all the works of human ingenuity.

In America there are many good libraries, especially in the United States particularly in, born in most of the Universities; some have modern facilities and other buildings working in antiquated, but all meet their high mission.

Our public library, National Library of Guatemala today, was founded in the time of the Reformation by Presidential Agreement 18 October 1879. It began its work by melting in a living library of the Economic Society, Polytechnic, School of Arts and Crafts and the extinct convents, plus a lot of books of various kinds, specifically asked. Was its first director Damaso Micheo and the group of people who have run we will mention two names, because they already belong to history: Cuban poet José Joaquín Palma and Dr. Ramon A. Salazar, grateful memory of illustrious men.

In the three quarters of a century that has created National Library, has always strived to get her committed, despite insurmountable limitations of his old home and small and inappropriate modesty of its budget to acquire contemporary works that the student demand. Modern libraries, are not simple and vast deposits of books more or less ordered; now have to be functional entities, with all its material classified and cataloged to serve in the shortest possible time. Modern library must fully fill two essential functions: first, netamente popular, is to bring the book to the reader; in creating an enabling environment for the casual visitor to become a regular visitor; second; relates to the scholar who comes to check dates or check data; these they should help provide facilities and effective, interested in their research and suggesting new and perhaps better sources of information.

The role of the library as a free service must be specific and wider each day a couple, not enough to provide the requested book, should be asked, do you want, which seeks to guide and give the works that will provide more useful.

I have understood that the main background treasured by the National Library constituent sections "José Toribio Medina", containing most of the works listed by the famous Chilean bibliographer in his book "History of printing in Guatemala" 1660 – 1821 and others not mentioned in this text. Should also be noted the "J. GILBERTO VALENZUELA ", in addition to the works cited in his book "The press in Guatemala", contains the bibliography of this diligent fellow, in which leaves a rich collection of rare printed, regular and occasional loose leaves. Libraries extinct monastic orders, is a section of ancient works printed on parchment, where there may be an occasional incunable.

All this, we can call the library capital, production must be added national authors, which must be included in national periodicals sections.

One advantage of this work built with the most sensible purposes, whose dimensions, local distribution and other cost we review for, is its location in the very center of the city. The book comes in search of the reader. The old Spanish colonial plaza unmistakable style, around which has always upright: the Government Palace, Cathedral, the Town Hall, military barracks and Trade Portal, has a new item, representing the zeitgeist: Public Library.

Among the many valuable works which the Government of the Republic has built and serve the people - and there are magnificent buildings including schools and hospitals - any meets in grade as high cultural content of this Library, called by its own intrinsic condition to conduct a fruitful work of popular science. Here in these halls, are to gather students and all disciplines, Men from diverse social sectors, ignorant and learned, to find in the pages of the books the answer to your queries.

Rarely in the performance of my office, I felt such a deep and legitimate as today overwhelms me to make delivery of the keys to thank the president and his solemn declaration emotion be inaugurating the monumental building of the new National Library of Guatemala.

(It is more painful than the devotee of popular culture and more committed to the completion of this study and research center man, halle is not physically present at the event, but, is with us spiritually: Library chairs and delivers for the people of today and tomorrow).

Messrs: I consider that the most appropriate and convincing way to celebrate the glorious anniversary of our Independence, is given to people in works of progress and social benefit.

The government estimates and I am pleased to express staff, taking this civic ephemeris, which is arguably just, thank at this important juncture Messrs. engineers and workers whose efforts and enthusiasm made possible the realization of this item tempo dignify teachers of human thought.

Below Different Rooms

Sala of Braile

It was inaugurated in February 1992. Since then provides targeted services to blind and partially sighted people.

In this regard, the type of material is available to special, due to the format printed Braille, and electronic audio. His collection totals 700 books in Braille format and a thousand titles in audio format.

To loan a tab where the user signs pledging to return fills. The audio collection is voluminous. For example, The President's work, Miguel Angel Asturias, is in one ink volume, but in audio comprises 12 casets. So the system, quite extensive and requires availability of user time for consultations. Therefore ease given that the books are carried home.

In electronic format has more titles. The virtual library for the blind called Tifolibros. This system has a 35 thousand titles, which is quite a wide choice for the undersigned.

The room also has a computer lab which opened two years ago, which is sponsored by an organization for the blind in Spain and very useful for visually impaired users. It offers a free diploma and is the only library in Central America that have this service.

Laboratory for blind

In order to expand its educational services for the population due to advancement in technology and computing emerges in March, 2006, the computer lab project for blind and visually impaired, along the lines of a grant agreement signed between the organization of the blind in Spain (ONCE), The Social Network organization for Latin America (FOAL) and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, so as to provide support in the preparation, modernization and knowledge of new technologies for individual development, school and work.

Now, in the computer lab, computer classes in Microsoft Office software is tailored to teach blind and visually impaired, and attention to visually impaired users of all ages, personal attention and assistance in finding information.

To provide better care, Computer Lab, features 8 computers with operating system, Windows XP connected to the Internet, from Monday to Friday 8:00 hrs. A 17:00 Hrs.

Reference and Reading Room

Unlike the other rooms of the National Library, in this area the user can enter property books for homework or reading.

Librarians who will auxiliarán

  • Beatriz Morales
  • Sandra Boxes

Collection to find:

  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • General works


  • Browse catalogs by author, title and materials.
  • Reading room (the user can enter property books).
  • Consultation open shelf books.

Types of users who visit:

  • Workers
  • Students
  • University
  • Professionals

School Board

It is one of the most visited rooms, has about 225 thousand books and are available through the printed catalog files.

Librarian will assist you

  • Arcenia Lima Herrera

Collection to find

  • Seminars diversified level, Primary books, basic, diversified and literary works of Guatemalan and foreign authors, Maps, posters of the human body and the five senses.


  • Photocopies
  • Open Shelf
  • Browse catalogs

Types of Users who visit

  • Elementary students
  • Students basic
  • Students diversified

General Board

This room was opened five years ago with about 110 thousand books. It is visited by specialized academics and researchers who are offered the service staff photocopies Deaf and the Blind Committee, non-profit institution supporting a large sector of the population.

The peculiarity of this room is its distribution through two architectural levels, in which the collection has been distributed, which is indicated according to the classification tenth Melvil Dewey. Your manager, reference librarian and librarian with over twelve years of experience is Sergio Robles, who selects and examines the various materials, which, over time, They will become part of the old background.

Classification of the Collection:

100 – Philosophy and psychology.
200 – Religion and Theology.
300 – Social sciences, political sciences.
400 – Language and Linguistics.
500 – Pure Science (Mathematics, natural sciences, etc.)
600 – Applied Sciences: medicine, technology.
700 – Fine arts, games, sports.
800 – Literature.
900 – Geography, history.

Kids Room

In this room is a working animation program for reading to promote reading through stories, fables, legends and recreational games.
The objective of the program is that children become attached to books and to form the habit of reading.
Librarians will auxiliarán

  • Victor Paz
  • Flory Escalante

Collection to find

  • Storybooks, fables, jokes, Crafts, legends and poems.


  • Encouraging reading
  • Initiation in chess
  • Holiday Course

Types of Users who visit

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Employees of the institution


National Chamber

In this room you will find all the Guatemalan national literature written by authors and foreign authors.

Librarians auxiliarán you in this room

  • Marta Cuxil Cumes
  • Albino Cubur Quexel

Collection can be found

  • Specific books by local authors and collection of ancient background


  • Customer service
  • Shelf Closed
  • Books printed by title, author and subject
  • ECatalog

Type of users who visit

  • University
  • National researchers
  • Foreign researchers

Rare Books Room

Here all bibliographic jewels Guatemala preserved so the area is restricted.

Documents called bibliographic jewels are unique and because it protects a document will never find elsewhere.

This room has about 30 thousand books and documents

To keep the collection in good condition this room is heated to protect the high and low tempuraturas documents and therefore can not obtain copies of documents.

You want to consult the catalogs and documents should make an appointment prior to your 22322443


Librarians who will auxiliarán

  • Manuela Campa TOC
  • Gumercinda Road

Collection owned

  • Jewels bibliographic
  • Polyglot Bible
  • Gaceta de Goathemala
  • Letters of Friends of the Country
  • Valenzuela Collection I and II
  • Pictures, etc..

Services offered

  • Browse catalogs (appointment)
  • Internal loan from the literature (appointment)
  • Possibility of photographs

Type of users who visit

  • Domestic and foreign researchers



Contact Us

Address:5ª avenida 7-26 area 1 Guatemala, Guatemala
Phone: 2232-2443
email: bibliotecanacional@mcd.gob.gt





Directores de la Biblioteca Nacional de Guatemala

  • Dámaso Micheo (1880)
  • Juan Manuel Ramírez (1881)
  • Dámasco Ochoa (1882)
  • Raymundo González (1884)
  • Juan Miguel Rubio y Piloña (1885)
  • José Joaquín Palma (1887)
  • Martín Mérida (1892)
  • Ramón A. Salazar (1895)
  • Martín Quezada (1909)
  • Salvador Castillo (1912)
  • Ezequiel Sánchez Rosal
  • Neftalí Navas Paiz ( 1923-1925)
  • Víctor Sagastume Guerra (1924)
  • Víctor Aguilar Peláez
  • Rafael Arévalo Martínez (1927-1945)
  • Carlos Samayoa Chinchilla (1948-1950)
  • Gonzalo Dardón Górdova (1950-1954)
  • Bejamín Godoy Castro (1954-1957)
  • Ricardo Castañeda Paganini (1945-1948, 1957-1963)
  • María Albertina Gálvez García (1963-1966)
  • Francisco Alfredo de León Turcios (1966-1970)
  • Eva Evans de Sagastume
  • Luis Luján Muñoz
  • María Luis Mulet de Fauriol
  • Víctor Castillo López (1991)
  • Francis Polo Sifontes (2004)
  • Ilonka Matute


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