The Biblioteca Nacional de España is a treasure trove of culture. The façade alone is a lesson in the history of Spanish letters. Founded by Felipe V in 1712, it is one of the largest libraries in the world. In a major move toward literary preservation, he required one copy of every book printed in Spain be sent to the library. His system of patenting was a precursor to the current system of cataloging. Today, the library is in fact the State Repository of Spain’s Cultural Memory (Centro Estatal Depositario de la Memoria Cultural Española), which means that any media that is produced in Spain must be available or accessible at the facility. In book form alone, there are over 15 million volumes.
At the heart of the complex is a vast, high-ceiling reading room, a profoundly quiet atmosphere of study that can nonetheless hold over 300 readers. So many books have been stored here that another robotized Amazon-like facility was constructed in Alcalá de Henares, just outside of Madrid.
Use of the library is somewhat exclusive. Only researchers and academics with specific permission may use the library. Tour are held periodically. For more information, click here.