The Library was founded in 1918. By a President’s Decree №244/96 of April 5, 1996 it was renamed as V.I. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine.
It is an integrated library, research&information, research, cultural and publishing institution, the largest, in terms of document and information resources, book repository of Ukraine, where nearly 15 million items are kept. Its stock is a universal, unique collection of information sources – from beginnings of writing (cuneiform writing plates of the 3-rd millenium B.C.) to current academic publications, bibliography and full-text databases of the major information institutions of the world.
As a scholarly center, the Library is engaged in research of library issues, bibliography studies, book science, informatics, national bibliography and biography studies, document and archive studies, description of manuscripts and early printed books, documents restoration and conservation, studying and introducing advanced technologies of analytical&information provision of research institutionsand administration bodies. Its main study areas are:
- ‘Forming and using scientific&information resources. Library informatization’: The projects are aimed at improved forming and using of information resources, at library informatization and elaboration of theoretical and applied fundamentals of transforming libraries into centers of global information and academic communications. A library information computer center has been set up, which unites basic national document resources and ensures their integration to the world information sphere; a system of reviewing domestic scholarly literature has been developed; printed versions of "Dzherelo" Ukrainian Abstract Journal are issued quarterly, its electronic version is presented in the Internet; resources of the universal electronic library are being formed.
- ‘National Bibliography. Ukrainian Biography Studies’: Works of Library’s bibliography school initiated the creation of an unprecedented national repertoire of printed materials; indices of the "National Bibliography of Ukraine" series are published; data banks of retrospective national bibliography and biography information are formed; preparation and publication of biographic materials about Ukrainian public figures, reference books, anthologies is carried out; issuing a many-volume “Ukrainian Biographic Dictionary” is planned.
- ‘New technologies of preservation, conservation and restoration of library stock’. Novel technologies of conservation and restoration of books, manuscripts, sound records are developed, ecological and biological monitoring of library book repositories and documents is done; a safety fund is created.
- ‘Study, preservation and publication of Ukrainian historical and cultural heritage’: Important results are obtained in developing theoretical fundamentals of source-science studies, archaeographic description methodology, in studying Ukrainian manuscript and book heritage, creating archaeographical registers of manuscript stock, library and historical collections. Series of scholarly reference books, catalogues, manuscript and documentary legacy of distinguished Ukrainian figures of science and culture have been published.