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Exchange is one of the ways of adding to and expanding the documentary holdings of the Biblioteca Nacional de España (BNE), along with donations, purchases and legal deposit. It is an essential part of the institution’s acquisitions policy, which aims to contribute to the enrichment of Spanish bibliographic heritage and the dissemination of Spanish culture around the world.

Historically, in the 1950s the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (known internationally as UNESCO) promoted international agreements to that end, which were unanimously approved. Later, in the 1970s, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), in close collaboration with UNESCO, wrote a series of recommendations on international exchanges.

These exchanges consist of the interchange of works, regardless of their format, with other libraries and cultural and research institutions on an international level.

Essentially, through this means of acquisition, the Biblioteca Nacional is able to acquire, free of charge, works that reference Spanish and Ibero-American culture in all its aspects, as well as works produced by Spanish authors abroad, and which are not included in the BNE’s holdings.

Specifically, in the Biblioteca Nacional, the exchange process is carried out in two ways:

  • Works are acquired after previously selecting them from lists sent by institutions, mainly through email.
  • Publications are sent to other institutions, which select them based on two lists prepared by the library: one list of works the BNE publishes or in which it somehow participated; another list with duplicate works and those published by public institutions.