42 books registered in the Cetinje Monastery. Those are the first surviving book lists in Montenegro.
The ruler, bishop and poet Petar II Petrović Njegoš separated secular from church books, all of which have been acquired by him and his predecessor Petar I, and transferred them from Cetinje Monastery to his residence Biljarda. It is considered that Njegoš’s library has functioned as a state library.
Prince – Bishop Nikola I Petrović decided to establish a public library on the occasion of 400th anniversary of Crnojević printing house.
The Law of the Principality-Montenegrin Library was adopted and the Public Library was entrusted with the task of collecting all works, in all languages, related to Montenegro and books of the other Yugoslav and Slavonic people. The title of State Librarian was established. The library was housed in the premises of the Royal Theatre Zetski dom in Cetinje, along with the Museum, where it remained until the end of World War I.
The first State Librarian in Montenegro, Filip Kovačević, established the rules for the arrangement of the Library, the main and specialized catalogue and first printed catalogue cards. Thus he set up the basis for the application of at the time contemporary methods for library work in Montenegro.
By adopting the Law on Printing in the Principality of Montenegro, the Public Library became entitled to obtain the three obligatory copies of each printed issue in the territory of Montenegro, which significantly increased the Library fund.
The Library was entitled the Royal Library and at the time it treasured over 10,000 books, more than 100 manuscripts, some of them on parchment, several incunabula from the Crnojević printing house and a large number of publications of Montenegrin printers in Venice (Božidar and Vicenzo Vuković, etc.). All Montenegrin magazines and newspapers were placed in the fund.
Almost the entire Royal Library fund was destroyed in the war.
The National Museum’s Library in Cetinje took over the role of the Central Scientific Library of Montenegro. It was mainly created from the remaining holdings of the former Royal Library.
After the World War II and liberation of Cetinje, the National Museum’s Library functioned as the Central Library in Montenegro.
The Decree on Legal Deposit was adopted for the entire territory of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and all publications were delivered to the library, regardless of whether they were printed in the state or private printing house and regardless of the method of reproduction. The number of legal deposits was 15.
On March 26 the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of Montenegro established the Central library in Cetinje, first within the National Museum, and at the end of 1946 as an independent institution. It was located in the building of the former Church Court in Cetinje, and after that in the former Castle of Crown of Prince Danilo (today’s Blue Castle building). The initial book holdings consisted of the parts of the libraries of the National Teacher Training School, the Theological School, the Society of Friends of France (established in Cetinje in 1925), the Italian Library “Dante Alighieri” in Cetinje and several confiscated private libraries.
Thanks to the legal deposit of all printed publications from the territory of former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, gifts and the purchase from private individuals and institutions, the library fund was significantly increased and it consisted of approximately 35,000 processed books.
The Central Library got the right to use the building of the former French Embassy in Cetinje.
Due to the significant increase of the library holdings, the former Italian Embassy building became the Library’s residence.
The Library was renamed to Central National Library “Đurđe Crnojević”, after the ruler of Montenegro who in 1493 established the first State printing house and the second Cyrillic printing house in Europe.
The Library was provided with a contemporary central depot for the accommodation of library holdings, on the area of 4500 m2, which was placed within the complex of the former Italian Embassy.
The Central National Library was included in the Library Information System of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (LIS) with cooperating automated entry of bibliographic data.
The National COBISS Centre of Montenegro, which connects libraries into a single information system was established within the NLM.
The Library established the Microfilming and Digitization Center.
The rehabilitation and modern equipping of administrative building of the Library (former Italian embassy building) was completed.
All numbers of the “Glas Crnogorca” were digitized and their electronic publications were issued.
The Central National Library of Montenegro “Đurđe Crnojević” was renamed to the National Library of Montenegro “Đurđe Crnojević”.
ĐURĐE CRNOJEVIĆ AND OKTOIH
The National Library of Montenegro “Đurđe Crnojević” has been named after Montenegrin ruler Đurđe Crnojević, the eldest son of Ivan Crnojević, the founder of Cetinje. During his reign in Montenegro (1490-1496) Đurđe Crnojević launched the first state printing house and the second Cyrillic printing house in Europe in 1493, doing which he has written the name of Montenegro on the cultural map of Europe and the world in capital letters.
The Printing House of Đurđe Crnojević on Obod, known as Crnojević printing house, printed the first South Slavic Cyrillic book “Oktoih prvoglasnik” on 4 January 1494. After it, there have been printed “Oktoih petoglasnik”, “Psaltir s posljedovanjem”, “Molitvenik” (“Trebnik” or “Euhologij’) and “Četvorojevanđelje”. All five works are Orthodox liturgical books.
Printing press with movable letters on which the Hieromonk Macarius, with the help of seven unidentified monks, printed the “Oktoih prvoglasnik”, Đurđe Crnojević acquired in Venice in 1492. The value of Obod’s printing house were the letters made of lead, movable matrices for initials and graphic ornamentation and illustrations completely created in Montenegro.
Prior to the Turkish invasion in 1496, Đurđe Crnojević has left Cetinje and Montenegro, retreating first to his property near Budva and then to the Venetian Republic. On 22 October 1499 he sent a Letter of Testamentary to his wife, Izabeta Erico, from a Venetian noble family – a work of great literary and historical value, whose transcript and translation are kept in the State Archives of Venice. The original of the letter has never been found. In 1994, the NLM published a translation of the transcript of the testament, prepared by Dr Miloš Milošević.
The founder of the first State printing house in Europe died probably in Anatolia, presumably in 1514. With the departure of Đurđe Crnojević from Montenegro, Crnojević printing house ceased to exist.