The library was founded by Miklós Oláh, archbishop of Esztergom, in 1561. It became a university library in 1635 when Péter Pázmány founded the university of Nagyszombat. The Royal Hungarian University and the library moved to Buda together in 1777, then to Pest in 1784. The present building of the library was built in 1876 according to the plans of Antal Skalnitzky. The most beautiful room is the Main Reading Room. It is more than 200 square meters and receives natural light through the glass ceiling; in addition, its walls are decorated with frescoes painted by Károly Lotz. The library holds nearly 2 million documents, including books and journals supporting the current university education and research. In addition, there are 185 codices (14 of them are corvina), about 1,200 ancient prints, several valuable manuscripts, 11,000 antiquity from the XVI. century, as well as 15,000 baroque and 75,000 volumes from the XVIII. century in the library.
The University Library of the Eötvös Loránd University is a scientific institution and a public specialist library supporting the educational and research work of the University.
Its main tasks are:
- supporting and providing the educational and research work of the university with academic literature and academic literature information, as well as general information; providing the documents necessary for educating, research activities, and students’ studies with satisfying their needs of the library;
- caring for the preservation and presentation of the historical collection which is part of the national cultural heritage;
- to satisfy the professional information needs of domestic and foreign researchers and scientist who are engaged in the cultivation of the fields belonging to its main collection.
The library has national responsibilities in the fields of
- medieval and modern universal history,
- religious history and religious studies.
The library is the network centre of all libraries operating within the university and it is the manager of the university’s library IT system.