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The Central Library is the oldest Public Library in India. It was established on 15th September 1832 by Vice Roy Dom Manuel de Portugal e Castro as ‘Publica Livraria.’ It had a beginning as ‘Academia Militar de Goa’ (Military Training Institute). In 1836 the name was changed to ‘Bibliotheca Publica’ and enriched with bibliographical repository transferred from the Convents run by religious orders that were suppressed in the1834. In the same year the Library was shifted to premises where the Municipal Proceedings were held, however, the collection on Mathematics and Military sciences was left in Academia and books on Administrative and Legislative matters were transferred to Secretariat Library.
On 15th February 1897, the status of Library was raised to that of a National Library and renamed as ‘Bibliotheca Nacional de Nova Goa’. In March 1925, it was annexed to the academic and cultural institution, (Instituto Vasco da Gama) and redesignated as “Biblioteca Nacional Vasco da Gama’. By Decree-Law no. 38684 dated 18th March 1952, the privilege of ‘Deposito Legal’ (Delivery Act) was made applicable to this library and by virtue of it, the library received all publications from Portugal and her overseas Provinces.
From September 1959, the Bibliotheca was detached from the Institute and put under the administrative control of ‘Services de Instruccao e Saude’ (Education and Health Services); it was then renamed as Biblioteca Nacional de Goa. The collection of pre-liberation period consists mainly of Books and Journals in Portuguese, French, Latin, English and very few books in local languages like Konkani and Marathi. The total pre-liberation collection was about 40,000 volumes.
The State Central Library Goa is under the administrative control of Government of Goa, Directorate of Art & Culture and Curator is the Head of State Central Library.