The Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library


Logo of The Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library (Biblioteca Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña).

The main and largest library of the Dominican Republic is the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National library. It is located in the Jan Pablo Duarte Culture Plaza on César Nicolás Pensón Street in Santo Domingo. It was inaugurated on February 28, 1971 by President Dr].Joaquín Balaguer. It was expanded and reinauguratec on August 6, 2012 by President Dr. Leonel Fernández.

The creation of a nationallibrary in the Dominican Republic goes back to 1927 when President Horacio Vásquez promulgated Law 66 which created the “National Museum and National Library.” President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in 1935 promulgated Law 1011 ordering the creation the commemorative stamps “Pro-Archives and National Libraries.” Despite all of that, the national library was not a reality until 1971 when President Dr. Joaquín Balaguer inaugurates the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library.

The genersl goals of the public library is to acquire al, works by Dominican writers and authors published in the Dominican Republic and abroad (regardless if its published in Spanish or in another language). Also it acquires any works or books pertaining to the Dominican Republic by foreign authors. It also acquires international organisms publications with a Dominican theme. In addition, it collects internationsl scientific, technical and/or cultural publications that have a great impact in the universal knowledge of humanity.

A quick parenthesis is the founding of the First Library in America at the Ozama Fortress in Santo Domingo by Gonzálo Fernández de Oviedo. Despite in doesn’texist in actuality, starting with its foundation in 1553 it was crested with the most importsnt books of those times. This makes it not just the First Library of the New World, but also the most importsnt in an entire hemisphere.

This article is to show some aspects of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library. This institution was created as a bibliographic knowledge temple of the Dominican Republic.

Anthem of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library

On the 28th of the month of February
We celebrate a glorious day,
The brass players sounds happy
Announcing a successful path.

A national library
Named Pedro Henríquez Ureña
Was officialy created
A much desired goal.

Our intellectual treasure
Is safety stored
Where a good and accomplished architect
Built a grandiose future.

On the path of the lived history
That collects written passions
Many texts reached glory
By becoming precious masterpiece.

With the clear and bright pens
We harvest in books, headbands
Of carbon, making diamonds
With its supreme hands and minds.

To preserve the impeccable memory
Is the slogan that forms a bulwark
Admirable teaching
That bequeathed Henríquez and Duarte.


The 1971 original building of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library is the central white part of the current building, was designed by Dominican Architect José Antonio Caro Álvarez. It was built at a cost of RD1.2 million (US$1.2 million) and it has four floors (5,600 M2) in a 1,800 M2 construction area.

The library was extended on its eastern and western sides and reinaugurated in 2012. The expertise of Dominican architects Gustavo Luis Moré and Juan Cristóbal Caro and the size was increased to between 18,000 M2 and 20,000 M2.

A view of the facade. It has a fluid transition between the old and the new parts of the national library. The new wings doesn’t overpower the essence of the traditional building in the center. Part of the frontal garden is visible too.
A view of the western wing and part of the facade.
View of the east wing and part of the facade.
In the bottom part of the eastern wing a terrace is visible.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Statue

Near the main entrance is a statue of one of the world’s most known aithor of the Spanish language, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. He is wearing typical Spanish clothing for the era.

In front of the main entrance of the traditional building and by the front staircase is a statue of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. He was one of the greatest writers of Spain and of the Spanish language with a worldwide fame.
A closeup of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra statue. The pedestal is covered in marble.

The plaque says the following:

“Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 
Prince of the Spanish language geniuses.
Original of Juan de Avalos.

Historic Fence

A not very well known aspect of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library. It is that it was built on the exact spot that stood the house of General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. After the Dominican government confiscated all properties belonging to the Trujillo family, the house was destroyed to give way tio the construction of the library. Although nothing remains of the house, the originsl fence of the house still exist. In other words, the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library has a small part on display of the XX century history of the Dominican Republic.

This part of the fencd was remodeled during the renovation and expansion. The iron parts are originals. The complete name of the national library is on display. A part of the frontal staircase and gardens are visible.
This section of the fence is entirely original and is older than the national library itself.


The interior of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library was entirely remodeled to flow from the original building to the two new wings. Similar to what happened to the facade, new materiak was used including marble, glass, stsinless railing and other things. The result is a very warm and luxurious interior that produces happiness and seriousness at the same time. It kind of tells visitors “welcome, feel comfortable and happy, but don’t forget that this is serious.”

Right by the main entrance is a large painting of Pedro Henríquez Ureña, the Dominican intellectual and author who’s the national library is named after.
The signs have blue borders that contrasts with the aluminium looking and the see through glass. The Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library is open from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday.
The rug covered floors contrast with the porcelain floor. While it is true that sound reflects from the porcelain, the rugs help to absorb the extra noise. This means that this visual contrast has a larger area where the noise is absorbed producing a quiet environment excellent for reading and studying.
The main halls, the columns on both sides, and the stairs are covered in marble. Marbke is one of the mosf beautiful stones that distinguishes an area giving it a level of importance.
Technology is never too far for the use of intellectuals, students, and other people that use and enjoy the national library.

Salomé Ureña Metropolitan Public Library

In the eastern wing is found the Salomé Ureña Metropolitan Library. It is used a lot by students, teachers, and the general public for research and general readings. It meets the guarantee of a necessary basic public service for Dominican citizens.

Despite it can be accessed the the main entrance to the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library, the Salomé Ureña Metropolitan Public Library has its own main entrance too. This library is the main one of The Dominican Republic National Public Libraries Netwok.
Notice the contrasts of the sign.
Nothing impedes access to the Salomé Ureña Metropolitan Public Library from the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library. In the bottom floor to the right is the Latin American and Caribbean Room which can hold up to 100 people.
A part of the visit from the Colegio La Salle that took place at the Salomé Ureña Metropolitan Public Library.

Luis Florens Lozano Reading Room

The Luis Florens Lozano Reading Room is one of the largest snd important reading rooms of the library. Luis Florens Lozano was a native of Spain and lived in the Dominican Republic for a time in the XX century. His input in the foundation of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library was of great importance. It was so important that the library graced one of its rooms with his name.

Through the windows can be seen that the facade of the original building designed by Dominican Arq. José Antonio Caro Álvarez was respected by Arq. Gustavo Luis Moré and Arq. Juan Cristóbal Caro as they designed the renovation and expansion.
A glass window curtain separates the Luis Florens Lozano Reading Room from the main hall.
The Luis Florens Lozano Reading Room as seen from above in a right direction.
A group of Dominicans seeing a presentation.
Another view of the Luis Florens Lozano Reading Room seen in the right direction.

Aída Cartagena Portalatín Room

The Aída Cartagena Portalatín Room has a multiuse character. It can accommodate 200 people at once. On its four walls are photos of many Dominican and international authors such as Aída Cartagena Portalatín, José Gabriel García, Gabriel García Márquez, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and others.

Notice the podium.
The Aída Cartagena Portalatín Room is of multiuse, such as this CPR course.
An article of a dissertation by Mr. José Rafael Lantigua (native of Moca, Dominican Republic) which took place at the Aída Cartagena Portalatín Room. He is a well known Dominican author.
José Rafael Lantigua was honored with the Caonabo de Oro Prize in 1999 due to his role in Dominican litersture. It is one of many recognitions.

Carmen Natalia Gathering Room

The Carmen Natalia Gathering Room is the smsllest of the available rooms and like others is multiuse. It has a capacity of 50 people.

The Carmen Natalia Gathering Room while a course on the ISBN was taking place.
Another view of the Carmen Natalia Gathering Room. It is quite obvious how small it is.
Notice the podium with the coat of arms of the Dominican Republic.
The multiuse character of the Carmen Natalia Gathering Room is evident as it has different furniturr and in a different set up.

Juan Bosch Auditorium

In the western wing is the Juan Bosch Auditorium with the capacity of accommodating 394 people. Juan Bosch was a well known Dominican author, poet, and politician. He was born in La Vega, Dominican Republic from a Spanish father and a Puerto Rican mother.

A view of the stage as it was not being used.
Ironically, the Juan Bosch Auditorium during a Juan Bosch tribute.


Dominicans in a course at the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library.

The Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library offers the following services. These services are given with a kind and respectful treatment to users. In addition, it can count on the reliability if technicians and the other personnel of the library.


A service available to the general public and researchers. It includes yearbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories, bibliographies, etc. Also free is the advice from the library personnel. This service can be access in person, on the telephone, in email or through the portsl

Regulation and Lending

The bibliographic material can be borrowed within the library by users including books, brochures, and printed monographies. Over 90% of users expressed satisfaction on the staff courtesy and reliability of the information given.

Periodicals Library

A man reviewing samples of old newspapers.

It receives, catalogues, conserves, and presents all published periodicals in the Dominican Republic. This includes those that are not focused on the Dominican Republic. The material includes newspapers, magazines, brochures, laws, memories, reglaments, international treaties, and publications from international organizations. The users of the Periodicals Library revealed that it takes on average 3 working days to receive a response.

Internet Services

The internet services of the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library includes the following:

  • Digital Library
  • Internet Catalog
  • Database
  • E-Book
  • Ibero-American Heritage Digital Library
  • Hispanic Digitalia

These services can be reached through a computer, tablet or smart phone with an internet conection. Ut doesn’t matter if the individual is in the Dominican Republic or abroad. Everything is in Spanish only.

Special Services for Researchers

This service is geared to researchers, intellectuals, and independent users or asociated to an institution. At their disposal is the entire periodical, bibliographic, electronic resources including special borrowing and library personnel advice.

Handicap People Assistance

Free of charge is the assistance towards the handicap in order for them to enjoy reading and researching, including those with visual difficulties or are blind. Baed on a trimester poll of users with a handicap the library receives a staisfaction of 90% of the users regarding the staff courtesy and reliability. The response to an inquiry can last up to 10 working days.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

The Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library was de designated the institution authorized to grant the International Standard Serial Number o ISSN and the International Standard Book Number o ISBN for the Dominican Republic. This was done by President Hipólito Mejía. The ISSN applies to publications such as newspapers, magazines, etc. The ISBN applies to books. Without these codes a work can’t be put on sale in the Dominican Republic or in the rest of the world. On average it takes 1 working day to get a response to a request.


These public libraries have as a goal to create and encourage a reading habit, cultural and educative resourses, and without limit towards the general public’s access.

Pedro Henríquez Ureña Tribute

Every year the library hokds a tribute for Pedro Henríquez Ureña on his birthday, after whom the national library is named after. Pedro Henríquez Ureña was born on June 29, 1884 in Santo Domingo. He became well known as author of various books (he published his first one at 20 years old) and his intellectual activities. Aside from living in his native Dominican Republic, he also lived in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Cuba, and Argentina. He died in Buenos Aires on May 11, 1946.

An exposition of some books and memoirs of Pedro Henríquez Ureña. It included speeches by several people.
Among the activities was this one of young Dominicans drawing Pedro Henríquez Ureña.

50 Year Anniversary

In 2021 the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library fulfilled the first 50 years anniversary of its fiundation. Throughout the year the library celebrated the anniversary with several events.

Notice that in the banner is a drawing of the upper part of the traditional building of the national library only.

Biblioteca Nacional en Marcha

“Biblioteca Nacional en Marcha” is the informative bulletin of the library created in 2021. Its creatiom was part of the celebrations for the 50 years anniversary of the library’s founding.