Seville Public Library

The Seville Public Library (Biblioteca Pública del Estado - Biblioteca Provincial Infanta Elena de Sevilla) is a public library located in Seville, Spain.[1] The library was founded in 1959 and occupied two different buildings before moving to its current location in the Maria Luisa Park. The new building opened in 1999 with 5,000 square metres (54,000 sq ft) of public space. With a highly innovative design, it has been nominated for a major European architectural award.

Seville Public Library
Biblioteca publica sevilla 001.jpg
Biblioteca Infanta Elena, Sevilla. Architects Cruz y Ortiz (1995-1999)
Seville Public Library is located in Seville
Seville Public Library
Location within Seville
General information
LocationSeville, Spain
Coordinates37°22′36″N 5°59′30″W / 37.37667°N 5.99167°W / 37.37667; -5.99167
Inaugurated2 October 1959
La institución


In 2011 Juan Muñoz Corn published La Historia de la Biblioteca Provincial de Sevilla, a history of the library from its inception in 1959 until 2009. The book was written by Juana Munoz, former director of the library. She describes the internal challenges and changes made to the library over the fifty-year period, and relates these to the related external events and social changes. The book was issued in a limited edition of 1,000 copies.[2]

The library was opened on 2 October 1959, at first in premises provided by the Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del Pais. For its opening it was given 15,000 volumes from the 18th and 19th centuries.[3] The library moved in 1979 to a building at 19 calle Alfonso XII and was named the Biblioteca Pública Provincial de Sevilla (Provincial Public Library of Seville) for the next twenty years. It moved again in 1999 to its present location with the new name of Biblioteca Pública Provincial Infanta Elena de Sevilla (Princess Elena Provincial Public Library of Seville).[4]

In its new location the library has attracted growing numbers of visitors, prompting the management to extend the hours that it is open, even in the summer. In addition to being used for reading and study, the library supports a variety of cultural activities throughout the year. These include film series aimed at young audiences, musical theater and concerts. Over 25,000 people visited the library in August 2002.[5] From June to September 2011, however, the library was forced to close earlier due to the financial crisis. It would only be open from 9 am to 2 pm during this period. This drew complaints from students who had come to rely on the library as a place to study and from older people in the habit of reading the papers there in the afternoon or watching movies.[6][7]


The current library building is located in the Parque de María Luisa. This was the site of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It lies between the Pavilion of the United States and the Pavilion of Peru, which now holds the Science Center and the consulate of Peru.[8] The architects Cruz y Ortiz were selected to undertake the project, which started in 1995.[9] The building conforms to the shape of the site, with six sides in all. One of the sides faces the park while another faces the Guadalquivir River[10] The building was inaugurated in 1999 by the Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo. It was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 2001.[11]

The two-story building conceals an interior courtyard, invisible from outside, which provides a second source of natural light for the reading rooms. The courtyard itself can be used as an open-air reading room.[9] The structure defines a C-shaped space with the rooms fully open to the interior façade. The two floors have a combined area of 5,000 square metres (54,000 sq ft).[11] The building is built of exposed brick and black metalwork. The ground floor is almost entirely open to the outside, while the first floor is taller and has a denser appearance. This is where the exposed brick is used. The roof is made of zinc that slopes slightly inward to the courtyard.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Portada (Home)" (in Spanish). Biblioteca Provincial Infanta Elena de Sevilla. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  2. ^ "Un libro recoge los 50 años de historia de la Biblioteca Provincial de Sevilla". Asociación Andaluza de Profesionales de la Información y la Documentación. 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  3. ^ "La institución" (in Spanish). State of Andalucia. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  4. ^ "La Consejería de Cultura presenta un recorrido por los 50 años de la Biblioteca Infanta Elena". 20 minutos. EUROPA PRESS. 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  5. ^ "La biblioteca Infanta Elena tambien se llena el mes de agosto". ABC de Sevilla (in Spanish). 25 August 2002. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  6. ^ CARMEN GAVIRA GUERRA (June 8, 2011). "La biblioteca Infanta Elena cerrará por las tardes como medida de ahorro". Diario de Sevilla (in Spanish). Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  7. ^ Andres Gonzales-Barba (10 June 2011). "Malestar porque la biblioteca Infanta Elena cierre pos los tardes". ABC de Sevilla (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  8. ^ "Mapa de Sevilla, zona sureste". Fotografías de Sevilla, España (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  9. ^ a b "Buildings - Selected - Culture & Education - Central Library Infanta Elena, Sevilla - Memory". Cruz y Ortiz. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  10. ^ a b "Edificio de la Biblioteca Pública del Estado-Biblioteca Provincial 'Infanta Elena' de Sevilla". Ministry of Culture (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  11. ^ a b "Biblioteca Pública Infanta Elena de Sevilla". VisitArq (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-11-08.