About the Library


The university library traces its history back to 1832, when by an order of Emperor Nickolas I the College of Civil Engineers was founded in St. Petersburg (UGI*). It was the first higher school of civil engineering in Russia and the Russian government of the time provided to the initial educational fund, which included 95 books (primarily, course books on various engineering disciplines published before 1832).The UGI library were composed from the collection of the Military Construction College. Administration of the library was entrusted on the “duty schoolmaster from the engineering detachment of the Regiment of Roads of Communication”.


On December, 17, 1842, the UGI and the Architect College funded in 1830 were merged into the Civil Engineering College affiliated with the Main Directorate of Transport Routes and Public Buildings (SU) for training many-sided civil engineers with broad architectural and civil engineering expertise. Initially, the library had only a handful of specialized books in civil engineering. However, after 1865, its collection started to expand on a regular basis thanks to annual acquisitions and donations. Deputy Director for the class education was in charge of the library administration (captain or junior captain), while the library still occupied only one and relatively small room.


With the transfer to the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, the College assumed a non-military structure of its internal organization. Staff members with military ranks were gradually replaced with civil officers and, since 1869, the library already had two rooms, the total floor area of which was only slightly bigger than the previous premises. In 1877, a new Statute of the College was adopted: it became an open type educational institution training civil engineers and architects. From now on, only applicants with high school education could be admitted to the College.


The College kept developing, and in 1880, the first “Catalogue of Books and Editions of the College of Civil Engineering” of 1250 books was published. In 1882, by Emperor Alexander III order, the SU was granted the status of the Institute of Civil Engineers (IGI), and in December 1892, it was named after Emperor Nicholas I. The IGI got a new building built in 1882, and the library was moved to absolutely new premises on the second floor of the left wing. It got a spacious mezzanine reading room (over 140 sq.m.) and a separate librarian’s office which was bigger than the whole previous library (over 32 sq.m.).

By 1892, the library collection accounted of 5170 books and 212 original drawings of famous architects: August-Karl A. Beyne, Andrey I. Schtakenschneider, Mikhail T. Panafidin, Ippolit A. Monighetti, Viktor A. Shroeter, Nickolay M. Chagin, Evgeny .I. Martynov.


In 1902, a school library and a reading room for students were opened. In this period of time, the library fund was noticeably supplemented from the libraries of professors N. N. Sultanov, V. V. Evald, A. I. Dmitriyev, A. I. Nosalevich, and engineer V. A. Shevelyov. Ten indexes of the books supplied to the library had been published in 1911-1915. By 1917, the book fund accounted of more than 18 thousand volumes and the entire scope of work significantly increased; position of assistant librarian was instituted in addition to the chief librarian’s.


The Russian Revolution (1917) and the Russian Civil War (1918-1922) lead to the decline of the Institute as a whole and operation of the library in particular. However, the new country needed a lot of construction; the institute got a new name of the Leningrad Institute of Civil Engineers and its work continued at a new level. The number of library patrons went up along with the book fund. In 1925, the library staff already accounted of 5 librarians.

Since 1928, the institute established postgraduate studies, and since 1934, the library started to compile its dissertation section. By 1930, the fund of social and economic literature had significantly expanded, and even a special library section with three staff members was established in affiliation with the department of the same name. In 1933, the fiction section with a dedicated librarian appeared at the library, and in 1935, a special classification system was created for the Fundamental Library. This brought to major transformations in the library operation, creation of alphabet and thematic catalogues in particular. In 1940, the library acquired original works by architects Vasiliy Stasov , Сarlo Rossi, Alexander Briullov, Auguste de Montferrand and several others. In the late 1941, the library of the Leningrad Institute of Civil Engineers had 35,700 books in its funds.


With the break of the Great Patriotic War, the library was closed. Some part of the learning fund was evacuated along with the institute to Barnaul, Altay Krai, where the institute and the library resumed functioning in November 1942. In the Nazi-besieged Leningrad, in the conditions of starvation and bitter cold, a small group of the teaching staff made their best to maintain some classes at the institute; one person keeps working at the library. 


The Barnaul collective of the institute got back to Leningrad In August 1944, and in 1945, the library had fully resumed its operation, including the reading hall and the bibliography section. The staff got increased to 19 people, while the footage of all its halls exceeded 300 sq.m. In 1961, the library got new premises, with a 4.5 times larger area and a reading hall for 150 people. In 1966, a branch of the Institute was established in Murmansk with a library of science and research and educational literature.

1967 – 1990

The following years were marked with a rapid increase and development of the library, its funds, and staff. In 1967, the research and science literature section got two new reading halls and a book storage, which allowed doubling of the scope of library’s operation. In 1975, the sector of fiction literature moved to a new facility with a dedicated storage room at a new Institute’s building. By the end of 1990, the library fund significantly exceeded one million books, which stipulated the staff increase (67 employees) and the area of library premises. 

1991 – 2004

In the years of collapse of the USSR and country’s economy, financing of the library had significantly gone down and the books were acquired only at the account of money earned by the library. The total library’s fund went down and amounted to 828 956 books by the end of 1997; the library lost a part of its facilities and staff. However, the remaining employees had managed to keep the library’s operation at a decent level and meet the patrons’ interest and demands. By 2004, the situation at the library got improved; the educational and social and economic sections got new premises and equipment. By 2005, the library had practically restored its pre-collapse scale of operation.


In 2004, the first computers appeared at the library. In 2007, the first electronic catalogue was put in operation. In 2011, the library was fully refurbished and re-designed; the antique furniture and other historical items restored. Presently, the SPbGASU library is a modern complex, with Wi-Fi connection available throughout the library. Currently, the rare books and original works by architects are digitized, while the total book collection accounts of nearly one million volumes; about 50 total hardness new acquisitions appear each year. All sections and reading halls are equipped with computers; new electronic technologies of library operation are introduced. The library is ready to meet new challenges and research and educational needs of the university.


* All abbreviations are provided in transliteration from the Russian alphabet.


  • Faculty of environmental engineering and municipal services
    Faculty of environmental engineering and municipal services
  • Faculty of automobile and road-building
    Faculty of automobile and road-building
  • Faculty of economics and management
    Faculty of economics and management
  • Faculty of architecture
    Faculty of architecture
  • Faculty of civil engineering
    Faculty of civil engineering
  • Faculty of forensic investigation and law in construction and transport
    Faculty of forensic investigation and law in construction and transport
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