The Central Naval Library is the oldest and the largest library of the Armed Forces in the Russian Federation. It serves as the information, bibliographic and methodological center for all the navy libraries of the Russian Federation.
The library storage contains a wide range of publications on all branches of knowledge related to the history and activities of the Russian Navy and other maritime powers of the world. The Central Naval Library was founded in 1799, when the Russian Admiralty Board established the "Committee to discuss issues of shipbuilding and navigation". The president of the Admiralty Board was Emperor Paul the First, consequently, the Committee was controlled by him. The book collections of XV-XVIII centuries issued in many languages are the rarities of global importance. Since 2001, the library has been included into the 50-volume handbook "Hаndbuch deutscher historischer Buchbestände in Europа".
The Central Naval Library has a large number of books autographed by outstanding personalities of the Navy, scholars, writers. Among them there are autographs by N.P. Rezanov, I.F. Kruzenshtern, A.V. Kolchak, Y.M. Shokalski, V.K. Blucher, L.I. Golenishcheva-Kutuzov, inscriptions by V.V. Blucher and others.
The magazine «Morskoy Sbornik» is undoubtedly one of the most valuable periodicals of the Central Naval Library. Despite the revolutions and wars the library has been subscribed to this magazine since 1848.
We are proud of the talented heads of the library, outstanding seafarers: Admirals A.S. Shishkov and I.F. Kruzenshtern, Vice-Admiral G.A. Sarychev, Admiral F.P. Wrangell, Major-General F.I. Schubert, Lieutenant-General A.G. Villamovym, Vice-Admiral M.F. Reineke, Lieutenant-General Y. Shokalski. Nowadays the Central Naval Library is fulfilling intensive exhibition activities, hosting more than 100 book fairs annually.
The library organizes events on patriotic education, such as the "Hour of military history" and "Lesson of Courage" for the students of the naval educational institutions. In collaboration with the interregional public organization "Council of the Heroes of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region" the library conducts the meetings named "We are proud of the glory of our heroes!" for the students of the Nakhimov Naval School. Honourable officers of the Armed Forces, Heroes of Russia are invited to these events, where they speak about their school years, occupation choice, military service, answer numerous questions of students. The scope and influence of their career is undeniable. Since 2014 the conference "Kruzenshtern reading" has been held in collaboration with Peter the Great Sea Cadet Corps - St. Petersburg Naval Institute". The purpose of the conference is to unite researchers in the field of Russian geographical discoveries, naval education and science. The materials of the conference are subsequently issued.
In the framework of the Publishing Club the library holds the books presentations on naval themes. The library organizes a series of lectures for librarianship specialists, historians and all those who are interested in maritime history.
Since 2015, the Central Naval Library has been hosting the open photography contest "The Navy and the book" dedicated to the Navy Day of the Russian Federation. The goal of this photography contest is the formation of young people’s patriotism through the revival of the interest to the history of the Russian Navy and reading.
Over the past two years, the library has become the main organizer of the "Round table of military libraries", gathering of librarians from all over Russia to discuss the most important professional aspects. In the near future, the library is planning to move to a new building located at St. Petersburg, Vasilevsky Island, 42 Tanning Line.