The MNAC library's mission is to support the Museum's professionals in research and the documentation of art collections and other projects, and to offer a service to external users.
It is the Library's function to acquire sources of information referring to Western art and to Catalan art in particular, and to process this information in order to make it available to users.
Given the importance and specific nature of its material, the Library also has the task of conserving the bibliographic and documentary patrimony contained in it.
The MNAC Library's origins can be traced back to the small technical library put together during the preparations for the Universal Exhibition of 1888, to which were added important private collections admitted through both purchase and numerous bequests and gifts.
In 1902, with the creation of the Museums Board, a period of development began that culminated in the years 1906-1907 with the opening to the public of the Library in the former Arsenal of the Ciutadella Palace and with the creation of a Special Library Committee, which gave it the impetus needed for its total consolidation.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch personally organized the material in the Library, adopting the model of the major contemporary European and American art libraries, a task later brought up to date by Joaquim Folch i Torres, the first director of Barcelona's Art Museums.
Over its hundred-year history it has been installed in successive buildings and known by different names, and since December 2004 its home has been the new installations of the MNAC, in the Palau Nacional.