The origins of the National Library date back to 1798. The works collected since this time form the core of the precious antique collection and reserve collection of the National Library, whose oldest piece dates back to the 7th century.
Today the National Library has several tasks:
- As a heritage library, to collect, to catalogue, to preserve and to enrich in all fields of knowledge the national heritage which it safeguards; to this end:
- it carries out its legal deposit tasks as defined in Article 10 and manages the collections which come from this,
- it completes these collections through the acquisition of publications printed or produced via another process, published abroad relating to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, its nationals or residents, or created by Luxembourg authors or authors linked to the Grand Duchy,
- it builds up and disseminates the national bibliography of publications entered via legal deposit and acquired in addition to the legal deposit,
- it manages special collections of manuscripts, rare and precious printed matter, graphic materials, prints, maps and plans, photographic documents, bindings, musical texts and audio resources, illustrated books and artist's books,
- it preserves official foreign publications published by international organisations or acquired though the application of international agreements;
- in its role as a scientific and research library, it must collect, catalogue, preserve and enrich collections of printed matter, electronic publications, databases, manuscripts and audio-visual and sound records originating from outside Luxembourg. it may carry out university library functions according to the formalities to be agreed with the appropriate bodies,
- it ensures access for as many people as possible to the collections, including through remote loans and consultations, using the very latest data transmission technologies,
- it carries out the coordination of Luxembourg libraries in order to manage the collective catalogue of these libraries,
- it contributes to the development of librarianship at national and international level.