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Pernambuco Public Library

The Pernambuco Public Library was created during the administration of the Conde da Boa Vista, in 1841, but only had its inauguration, in the drawing room of the Liceu Pernambucano, on May 5, 1852.

Pernambuco Public Library

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 01/06/2022

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - Researcher at the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - Master in Psychology

The Pernambuco Public Library was created during the administration of the Conde da Boa Vista, in 1841, but was only inaugurated, in the drawing room of the Liceu Pernambucano, on May 5, 1852.


The library underwent several changes, since then. It was installed at the Colégio das Artes (on Rua do Hospício), then moved to the Carmo convent, in Olinda, and later came to a building located at the Praça da República.


In 1930, the library was transferred to the building number 371 on the Rua do Imperador, where, since 1731, the Cadeia Nova, the second prison in Recife, operated, and which later housed the headquarters of the Senate Chamber—the Forum of Pernambuco.


Notably, great Brazilian patriots—from 1817 and 1824—were imprisoned in the second prison in Recife, such as the Carmelite friar Joaquim do Amor Divino Caneca, known as Frei Caneca. From there, the friar was taken through the streets of Recife, on foot, to Forte das Cinco Pontas, where he was shot with an arquebus.


In March 1975, as it could no longer hold its 70,000 volumes, the Public Library would change again. From Rua do Imperador, this time it came to a new building located in Parque 13 de Maio, in the neighborhood of Santo Amaro, where it is currently located. In place of the old library, the State Public Archive was installed.

Since 1975, the Public Library has been renamed President Castelo Branco State Library. Today, its collection has around 100,000 books, 15,000 pamphlets, 430 maps and 1,450 volumes of newspaper, but it has the capacity to hold 250,000 volumes.


In the case of newspapers, it is possible to find the Diario de Pernambuco since January 15, 1828; Jornal do Commercio, with copies before the 1930 Revolution; and the first copies of the oldest state newspaper that appeared in 1821, such as Aurora Pernambucana, Segarrega, and Relator Verdadeiro.


Regarding the manuscripts section, the collection contains royal letters and orders, sesmarias (land grants), government official letters, patents, and acts of Municipal Councils since the second half of the 17th century (time of the Captaincy or Province). And, present in the rarities section, there are rare books, in their original editions, concerning the History of Colonial Brazil and Geography.


The Library has sections for Special Collections (periodicals, manuscripts, iconography, rare works), Reference, Group Activities, Extension, Audiovisuals and Music, Circulating Library and Children’s Library.


Renowned researchers and scholars passed through the Presidente Castelo Branco State Library, such as Gilberto Freyre, Pereira da Costa, José Antônio Gonsalves de Mello, Alfredo de Carvalho, Paulo Cavalcanti, among other exponents of Brazilian culture.



Recife, April 7, 2004.


sources consulted

FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife. Recife: Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977.

ROCHA, Tadeu. Roteiros do Recife. Recife: Mousinho, 1959.

how to quote this text

VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Pernambuco Public Library. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2004. Available from: Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Aug. 6, 2021.)