Lviv V. Stefanyk National Academic Library was founded on 2 January 1940 on the basis of over two hundred collections of state, public and private libraries which had functioned in Lviv and Western region of Ukraine before September 1939 and were nationalized by the Soviet regime.
Today the Library stands out among the leading Ukrainian collections of books, it is also a centre of information, bibliography, research, educational and cultural activities. It is a state depository of unique manuscript and printed mementos of Ukrainian book culture (ХІ-ХХ centuries), works of Ukrainian and world art (XV-ХХ centuries) and other documents which accommodate all-nation information potential preserved on all types of information carriers produced in Ukraine and all over the world.
Since 1989 the Library has been a research institution in the spheres of bibliology, studies of the press, bibliography, library studies. It carries out extensive studies of Ukrainian books and periodicals of ХVІІІ – early ХХ centuries, publishes many-volume learned reference books, numerous bibliographic indices, scholarly works and popular-science literature, which examine documents concerning bibliography of Ukrainian books and periodicals, discover unique manuscript, artistic and book stocks, address problems of preserving and restoring rare editions. Two scholarly editions are published annually: “Proceedings of Lviv V. Stefanyk Academic Library” and “Collection of Works of Academic Research Centre of Periodicals”.
Library’s stock contains over 7.5 million units of issue; it includes the best in the world collection of Ukrainian studies, in particular, editions of XVIII – early ХХ centuries, Ukrainian and foreign periodicals of ХІХ – the first part of ХХ centuries (over 3 million units of issue); unique collections of incunabula and paleotypes of ХV – XIX centuries (250 thousand units of issue), cartographic editions of ХVІ – ХVІІІ centuries (over 15 thousand units of issue). Its manuscript Ukrainian studies of ХІ – ХХ centuries and personal archive stocks amount to 140 thousand units of issue. It is the only library in Ukraine which possesses works of Ukrainian and foreign art — engravings, sketches, water-colours, gouache paintings and the biggest Ukrainian collection of opuses of native and foreign composers (350 thousand units of issue).
The decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine №1709 of 19 December 2001 awarded the unique collections of the Library the National Asset status. The total amount of works that are of exceptional importance for Ukrainian science and culture and cannot be renewed in case of their loss or damage amounts to 3735 thousand units of issue.
Annually the Library receives over 50 thousand units of issue. Its main sources of book acquisitions are: a compulsory all-Ukrainian free copy provided by publishing houses, which involves all types of printed matter: books, periodicals, thesis summaries, printed music and cartographic editions, works of art etc., as well as gifts from publishing houses, institutions, charitable foundations and organizations, and individuals.
Specialized reading halls and computerized information center are available for visitors.