The Nobel library

The Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) is the man behind the Nobel Prize. The prize money comes from a fund created from the fortune left by Mr. Nobel and in his will he assigned the task to select the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature to the Swedish Academy.

The Nobel Library is open to the public and is especially useful if you are seeking contemporary literature and literary criticism for advanced studies. There are special reading places available for researchers. Photo: Annika HjerpeThe first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901; this is also the year when the Nobel Library was established. Since 1921, the Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy has been located in the building of the old Stock Exchange in the Old Town of Stockholm, which is where the Swedish Academy is housed.

The Nobel Library was created to supply the literature necessary for the required evaluations in the work to appoint the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It acquires and makes recent, mainly contemporary, literary works accessible, as well as literary criticism and linguistics. Often, the literature is acquired in its original language. The Nobel Library also subscribes to many literary journals of which the majority is published outside of Sweden.

Among libraries that specialises in literature, the Nobel Library is one of the largest in the Nordic countries, its collections consist of 200,000 volumes. It makes loans to other libraries, public as well as research and university libraries, mostly in the

Nordic countries but also in other European countries. The library is open to the public.

Searches may be made of the library’s foreign language titles using the national database Libris (

Editor-in-chief National Library of Sweden The old stock exchange building at Stortorget [the big square] in the old town of Stockholm, built between 1773 and 1778. It also houses the Nobel Museum. Photo: Annika Hjerpe