Collection of Audiovisual Resources of the National Library of Latvia (NLL) holds one of the largest collections of published sound recordings in Latvia, covering the period from the beginning of 20th century until present.
Library's Audiovisual collection includes tens of thousands of items – sound recordings (records, audio cassettes, CDs), video recordings (VHS, DVD, Blu-ray), multimedia discs (CD- and DVD-ROM), as well as variety of language learning sets. Open access collection includes books on the history of sound recording, recording techniques and playback, digital audio, discographies, general reference books in cinema, movie guides, as well as magazines and periodicals.
The first sound recordings were acquired by the library in 1961, and the Sound Recording library was established in 1975.
A significant part of the collection consists of audio-visual materials published or produced in Latvia, and since 2006 audiovisual materials are included in Latvia's Legal Deposit law. Another collection priority are audiovisual documents, published abroad, that feature works by Latvia's composers or include performers from Latvia. Since the fall of the "iron curtain", many sound and video documents from Latvian diaspora have been added to the collection.
The largest part of sound recordings contain classical music (Western, Latvian, Russian). We hold a large number of records by "Melodia" (Мелодия) with many notable recordings by well-known Soviet artists of the time. There are also selections of foreign labels such as "Harmonia Mundi", "Teldec", "Wergo" and others.
Latvia's sound recording heritage is reflected in historical shellac record collection from the first half of the 20th century, representing record companies such as Bellaccord Electro, His Master's Voice, Bonophon, Parlophon, Homocord, etc. Many of these have been digitised and are presented in the digital library collection "Latvia's historical sound recordings". Some of the historical recordings can also be found in the SoundCloud account of the NLL.
Notable donations in recent years have included Richard Wagner's opera recordings on discs and records in 2012, and Latvian writer Knuts Skujenieks gifted his collection of world music recordings in 2014.
Although the majority of sound recordings are music, there are also audiobooks, recordings of plays, nature sounds, noises.
The content of video collection is very diverse – there are feature films, documentaries, animated films from Latvia and many other countries, recordings of opera, ballet and concert performances, as well as musicals and musical films. In the last few years, the collection has been expanded with cinema classics, such as the best examples of the silent film genre, French New Wave, and the works of world-renowned directors.
Visitors can access audiovisual materials onsite in the Audiovisual Reading Room, in comfortable individual or group cabins, or using the computers.