Russian philanthropists, scientists, writers and public figures played a vital role in forming the Research Library’s vast and unique collection of books. Book collections of G.A. Stroganov, V.A. Zhukovsky, S.M. Golitsyn, A.V. Nikitenko, V.A. Manaccein, G.K. Tyumentsev, M. V. Surin, and many others are the foundation of the library funds. There are about 115,000 rare books kept in the funds. The Library funds include Slavic, Eastern- and Western European manuscript books of the 19th and 20th centuries, rare printed Russian and Western European editions of the 14th to 20th centuries, books with autographs of famous figures of science and culture of Russia, and original paintings. The Library has in its keeping 21 private book collections, and 25 archives (G.N. Potanin, P.I. Makushin, N.I. Naumov and others). In the 1920s-1950s the Library received a free copy of any printed materials published in Russia. Currently the Library collection has about 3.8 million documents of different types and in different languages. They are books, journals and magazines, newspapers, maps, posters, sheet music, audiovisual materials and disks (CD-ROM).
The Library implements a strategy of information accessibility. All reading rooms provide open access to information. Various types of documents are available for work in reading rooms. There are also automated workplaces for readers, and librarians who are ready to help with finding information. Preservation of the documents is ensured by video systems, an automated check system at the exit, and an electronic inventory of book collections.
The Library’s collection regularly increases due to purchase of books, annual subscriptions to periodicals, and exchanges with 34 domestic and 18 international libraries, and due to the contributions of individuals and charitable funds. Annually the Library buys about 40,000 documents, including 30,000 books, 700 journals, 70 newspapers, and documents of other types.
Among other things, readers have an access to 50-60 local and remote databases including full-text databases. They include up to 60 million patents, 2.5 million dissertations, 12,000 journals, and 4 million legal documents. Such a great variety of documents significantly widens choices for information support of the University’s educational and research activity.
Nowadays most new acquisitions of the library are allocated to the funds of reading halls and reflected in the Library’s electronic catalog. Only if a required publication cannot be found in a reading room will a reader need to order it from the main fund.