Regional Universal Scientific Library of Nizhni Novgorod, with its large collection of 4.3 million volumes and exceptional chronological and qualitative characteristics, is of unique importance among the country's regional libraries. The electronic catalogue on the books was started in 1992. Nowadays it includes over 870 000 entries and contains details for books, periodicals, dissertations and compact discs.
The library is a significant element of Russian literary culture in the country's European zone. It was established as Nizhni Novgorod Public Library in 1831, and over the years it has incorporated the libraries of the city's educational and scientific institutions - as well as large private collections.
The real treasure of the library is its rare book collection consisting of around 40,000 volumes. This collection includes incunabula and ancient printings of numerous Slavonic books. Among these are those published by the first Russian printer Ivan Fyodorov, editions produced by Moscow typographers Andronic Nevezha, A. M. Radishevski, N. F. Fofanov and V. F. Burtsev as well as some editions by Western Russia publishers. The library holds in its possession an exceptionally rare XVI century edition, "Patriarch Jeremiah's Epistle", and many books dating from the XVII century.
There are over 600 manuscripts in the collection of the library. These include some XV century pieces, the only known XVII expanded version of "Latukhin Chronicle" with detailed information about when and where the manuscript had been written and who its original owner was, illustrated and ornate hymnals, and other rarities. In addition, Regional Universal Scientific Library of Nizhni Novgorod boasts an immense collection of Russian periodicals and books of the XVIII-XIX centuries. It is an excellent source of information on history and culture in Russia and the Volga region.
Local Lore Department collects and processes materials of local importance and publish annual retrospective indices of materials concerning history, culture, politics and social life of Nizhny Novgorod and region. An index on local lore literature is issued monthly since 1951; local lore readings “Nizhegorodskie chteniya” are held every month, the first of them taken place in961. The reference card catalogue on local lore was started in 1931 and now comprises 400 000 entries. The electronic catalogue on the matter was started in 2005. Nowadays it includes over 10 000 entries.
The library offers free membership to residents of the Nizhni Novgorod region.
Regular working hours of the library are: Mon.-Thu. from 9 AM to 8 PM and Fri.-Sun. from 10 AM to 6 PM.