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History of the Library

The Library of the Assembly of the Republic date back to the ancient Library of the Cortes, founded in 1836 by decree of the Minister Manuel da Silva Passos (Passos Manuel) to serve the Legislative Body. The Library housed an initial collection of about 7,300 volumes, coming from the General Deposit of the Libraries of Former Convents, created in 1834.

The collection was initially placed in the ancient choir of the Benedictine church. In 1921, however, following the approval of the biblioteconomic organisation plan, the collection was permanently housed in a wing of the Noble Floor of the Palace, where the old dormitories of the friars were located, and occupies four rooms ever since.

Under the name of National Assembly Library during the period of the New State, the Library was furnished in 1936 with shelves on its two floors, accessible through the galleries, and reading tables and chairs in oak wood to evoke the atmosphere of a Renaissance convent library.

The busts of António de Oliveira Salazar, by sculptor Francisco Franco, and Passos Manuel, by sculptor Anatole Calmels, were placed in the centre of either side of the main room.

After the revolution of 25 April 1974, the Library changed its name to Library of the Assembly of the Republic. At that time, the first bust was removed (the second remains in the same place) and the Library redecorated, although some of the original furniture is still in the main room.

Presently, the Library houses over 180,000 volumes, most of them related to parliamentary activities, whereas the remaining publications cover a wide range of subjects such as History, Law, Economics, Statistics and texts from international organisations, not to mention the "Fund of Ancient Books and Reserved Documents", which comprises items from the 16th and 17th .

History of the Library 105kb (pdf)


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