Archive of Bulgarian Literature

Content. Structure. Size

The system of mandatory deposit after the end of World War II is constantly improving in relation to the subjects included in it. The different types of documents that are collected in the Archive of Bulgarian Literature are determined by these subjects and have been changed according to the amendments to the current Law on the mandatory deposit of printed and other publications. The archives contain all sorts of printed works, photo papers, phonograms, dissertations and habilitation works, and since 2000 (when a new law on the mandatory deposit was adopted) electronic documents as well. Subject to storage are editions with a circulation of less than 100 copies, Braille publications, documents published abroad and ordered by Bulgarian physical or juridical persons and printed works in Bulgarian or related to Bulgaria, imported for distribution to the country. The number under which the bibliographic records are arranged in the editions of the current national bibliography serves as a signature and inventory number in the Archive of Bulgarian Literature Collection, and the editions themselves represent a catalogue of this collection. In order to guarantee the completeness of this collection and not to damage the archive units, these holdings are not provided to the readers. They are stored wrapped or packed in boxes in chronological order, which corresponds to the year and the serial number in the current national bibliography.In this waythe informational function of the current national bibliography and the documentation function of the Archive of Bulgarian Literatureare ensured. The holdings of the archive collection add up to 1,600,000 bibliographic units.

A bibliographic basis for filling in the missing copies in the Bulgarian Literature Archive is the national retrospective bibliography of books and periodicals.


In 1897, the National Assembly of the newly independent Bulgarian state adopted a Law on the Mandatory Deposit of Publications in Public Libraries. With this law the storage and bibliographic record of the publishing production in the country was officially assigned to the National Library in Sofia. By virtue of the legal law “Every owner of printing or lithographic works, or similar establishment,was obliged to give to Sofia and Plovdiv library collections as soon as the publication is out, two free copies of each book, brochure, newspaper, magazine, proclamation, engraving, map and any other printed or otherwise reproduced work intended to be addressed to the public”. One of the deposited copies at the National Library in Sofia was provided for the use of the readers and the second was intended to perform archival functions. The possibility of creating this national collection was based on the main idea of the Law of the Mandatory Deposit. The different types of documents issued on the territory of the country the publishers were obliged to provide for freeto the libraries started to build a collection, which was inviolable andhad to be kept under special conditions in order to be preserved for future generations. On its basis was performed the registration of the current national bibliography of the country. Unfortunately, during the World War II bombing raids, many of the already accumulated collections in the Archive of Bulgarian Literature were destroyed. Their recovery in the difficult post-war years proved to be a long and difficult process. In 1954 the Council of Ministers issued a special decree that regulated the collection of missing documents in the National Library, published until 1944. Sources for their collection were the other libraries in the country, antique bookshops, as well as private collections.

Safekeeping and preservation conditions

All documents issued until 1944 are stored in the Bogdanlija depository and those issued later – in the depository in Izgrev district of Sofia. The depositories outside the Library building are in a very bad condition and do not meet the requirements for the storage of archival collections. It is necessary to gather the collections in one book depository, designed and equipped for the conservation of archival collections, so that they are arranged and checked to get clarity regarding their size and condition. Then steps must be taken to restore and fill in the missing publications.


Access to documents from the Archives is regulated under Article 22 (2) and (3) of the User Service Rules.