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Main Reading Room


Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 9.30am -  7.30pm
Saturday, 9.30am - 5.30pm


Tel. 21 798 2000
Fax 21 798 2138
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Monographs and Special Collections

The monographs that form part of the General Collection – the BNP’s largest – are organised into major thematic areas. The eminently humanistic nature of the Library’s holdings is clearly visible from the size of the sections on Literature, Sciences and Arts and Civil Sciences, together with those on History and Geography and also Religion.

The General Collection includes a number of important private libraries, some of the most significant of which are: the 4,408-work Fialho de Almeida Library, which was bequeathed to us in 1912; the 4,724-work Varatojo Library, which is a rare example of an 18th century convent library and the way it was organised; and the Brito Rato Library, with 16,334 works from the 19th and 20th centuries, covering areas such as hagiography, psychology, literature, history, biographies and so on.

Also worthy of note are the Sibylle Blei - Sara Halpern Collection, which offers a living testimony of the literary life in Germany and Austria at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries and the following decades, and the Historical-Social Archive, which specialises in subjects of interest to the history of the workers’ movement at the beginning of the 20th century and the libertarian ideology that influenced it. The latter is a private collection, which belongs to former militants and anarchist organisations and was deposited with the National Library under a contract that was signed in 1980.