The National Library

The National Library of Malta (also, Bibliotheca) began in 1555. It is currently the legal deposit and copyright for Malta. Its collection spans the personal libraries of the Knights of Malta (also the archives and treasury manuscripts of that order), including archives from the medieval Università dei Giurati of Mdina and Valletta.

Stefano Ittar, a Polish-born architect residing in Italy, completed the designs to Grand Master de Rohan’s specifications. The building, situated in the heart of Malta’s capital city, was completed in 1796 but two years later the Order of St. John was expelled from Malta by Napoleon and during the French 2-year period, the books remained at their former premises. It was only in 1812 – during the British administration – that the new premises were officially inaugurated by the British Civil Commissioner, Sir Hildebrand Oakes.