The history of the National Library of the Udmurt Republic is most closely linked with the history of Russia, Udmurtia and Izhevsk. By early XX century village of Izhevsk plant exceeded in population provincial center Vyatka – the number of residents there reached 42 thousand people. Nevertheless, cultural and educational life of Izhevsk remained underdeveloped. Two district libraries – Nagornaya and Zarechnaya – were opened only at the end of the XIX century.
In January 1918 the Izhevsk City Council Education Committee put forward a proposal to organize the Central city library to serve the population of Izhevsk. On 24 February 1918 the Library Board was elected and entrusted to organize the library. M. F. Shitov became the chairman of the Board and the first head of the Library. The collections of the largest libraries of Izhevsk – athenaeums for workers of Izhevsk Steel-making and Armory factories, Nagornaya and Zarechnaya district libraries and the Library of Officer Assembly – formed the Library's stock.
First months of the Library existence fell on the period of the Civil War. In 1919 the Library suffered a great damage. During the military actions Reference and Fiction Divisions were almost completely destroyed. After the liberation of Izhevsk the Library was restored, supplemented with books and opened on 1 July 1919.
In November 1920 Votskaya Autonomous Oblast was formed and the Library received the status of Regional Library still performing the functions of the Central City Library. In November 1923 S. A. Patsiansky, head of the Central Library, organized the Izhevsk Library Association. Its mission was to improve library work performance in Votskaya Autonomous Oblast.
In 1920-1930s the Library developed dynamically – collections grew up, number of readers increased. By this time Izhevsk turned into a major industrial center. In 10 years (1926-1935) the number of residents doubled and amounted to 120 thousand people. The social infrastructure of the city was actively developing – new secondary and specialized schools, universities were opened. In 1934 the Udmurt Autonomous Oblast was reorganized into the Udmurtskaya ASSR. The Library received the status of Republican and was charged with carrying out functions of the Methodological Centre for libraries of the republic.
During the first years the Library frequently changed its location. It is known that in May 1920 the Library was located in the house of N. I. Berezin, former owner of the armory factory and iron foundry. In early 1930s the library was situated in the building at Sovietskaya street and occupied three rooms with a total area of 178.6 sq. m. In 1935 the Library moved into the building in the city centre and was located there until 1957. At that time the Library had a separate front entrance, cloakroom, offices, mobile stocks, subscription room and reading room.
For a long time the number of staff librarians (including the head) was less than 9 people. The first librarians had no special education and work experience. But since the beginning of 1920s the Library provided training courses for young specialists. In 1940 the library staff numbered 20 people including 14 librarians. Because of great amount of work in the library it was common to invite volunteers from active readers.
On 23 January 1937 in connection with the 100th anniversary of Alexander Pushkin's death the Library was named after the great Russian poet. It carried his name up to 1958.
The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 brought significant changes in library work performance – the library provided services for mobilization centers and hospitals, organized mobile libraries in hospitals, military units, recruiting centers. During this period the Republican Library established 13 mobile libraries in hospitals.
Post-war years were a period of rehabilitation of the library activities and collections. In the first post-war decade, the Library stocks nearly tripled (from 84.4 thousand to 220 thousand issues). In 1950s professional level of library staff increased as well.
By 1950s the growth in collections and in the number of readers created an urgent need in constructing a new building for the Library. The construction was completed in 1957 (by architects A. E. Lopatto and A. G. Lysjakov) and the library was opened to public on 17 February 1958. It was one of the most beautiful buildings in Izhevsk in 1950s. It had been designed to store 500 thousand items, by that time the library book collection totaled 220 thousand items. This building still houses the Library.
Opening of the new building marked a new stage in the history of the Library. In 1958 it was authorized to register all printed publications issued in the territory of the republic – the Library began to receive free mandatory copy of every document. It also became the Center of Scientific National Bibliography. Since 1960 the Library has been publishing State Bibliographic Index "Chronicles of Press of the Udmurt Republic" and preparing publications of retrospective and current bibliographies.
In 1963 the Library acquired status of scientific library. In 1989 Presidium of the State Council of the Udmurt Republic gave the Library the status of the National Library, first in the Russian Federation.
Today the National Library plays a significant role in developing science and culture, shaping the information space of the Udmurt Republic, preserving the spiritual riches of the peoples of Udmurtia.