There are many stops and places in St. Petersburg, which makes the city such a beautiful place and for international students – libraries are one of the best. From old libraries to simple bookshops, St. Petersburg has it all.

The city has more than a dozen centuries-old libraries that are filled with books from over a hundred years of collection. These libraries contain some of the largest and oldest book collections, not only in Russian but also in many other different languages.

The Russian National Library on Nevsky Prospekt

The Russian National Library is Russia’s oldest public library and has been loved by many bookworms for over two centuries. But despite such a grand introduction, it has rarely been visited by tourists. Perhaps the reason why they wouldn’t come visit is because of the misconception that the library requires you to have a library card before you enter. 

The Russian National Library has the second richest collection in the Russian Federation and is the treasury of all Russian information and heritage. The library’s goal is to produce national printed output and free access to its collection of comprehensive acquisitions.

Mayakovsky Library

To the left of the Anichkov bridge lies the Mayakovsky Library and is just another paradise for book lovers out there. Although the library isn’t as well kept as the Russian National Library, it still has many works and books that hold great importance to the city.

An ornate fireplace tucked behind bookcases is considered a rare sight as well as the oak-paneled private library of Duke Golitsyn. This one-room library has only been recently restored as mostly English books could be found.

The Russian National Library on Fontanka

The Russian National Library is so vast, having millions of books in their collections that they didn’t only have one, but five Russian National Libraries. The Russian National Library in Fontanka, though not as old or as famous as the Main Library, still holds an equally impressive structure.

Since the founder of the building is the rather demanding Catherine the Great, everything in the library was made to be faultless and perfect. And once you’ve entered the doors of the library, you would feel as if you have been transported to a nobler world than what you had now. 

St. Petersburg State Theatre Library

Found just behind the Alexandrinsky Theatre, just inside the Museum of theater and music, is the St. Petersburg state theater library. Maybe because of its secluded location, even the most bookish of locals are unaware of its existence. 

The Library’s history stretches past even the Russian National Library, yet the only contents of their collections mostly relate to the theater. And even after so many years, the library didn’t change much because of Tsarina Elizabeth’s order to make the library benefit the small community of thespians in Russia. 

At first, it was only used to store scripts of theater repertoire, but after many years, they expanded their collection to have music scores, signatures of illustrious theater folks, and sketches of costumes from the stages of the Mariinsky.

Loved this list of must-see libraries in St. Petersburg? Take a look at our blog on budget-friendly places to visit in Russia to find more travel spots.