The European Library is a free service that offers access to the resources of the 48 national libraries of Europe in 35 languages.
Resources may be both digital (books, posters, maps, sound recordings, videos, etc.) and bibliographical. The quality and reliability of the service are guaranteed by the 48 participating national libraries of Europe and the European Library office based in The Hague.
The 48 European national libraries participating in The European Library are all members of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), a foundation aiming at increasing and reinforcing the role of national libraries in Europe. The members of the CENL are the national librarians of the national libraries of all Member States of the Council of Europe, plus the Vatican.
The European Library was initiated with European funding and went live as an online service in March 2005. Since then, new projects supported by European co-funding continue to extend and improve The European Library service: TEL-ME-MOR project (2005-2007), EDLproject (2006-2008), TELplus project (2007-2009) and FUMAGABA project (2008-2009).
The NL catalogues Helveticat and Swiss Posters Collection are integrated in The European Library, as is the inventory of paintings by Dürrenmatt. Starting in 2011, a project to integrate university libraries that are LIBER members will increase the number of collections available.
The European Library is one of the most important sources of data for Europeana, the portal to the digitized collections of libraries, museums, archives, audiovisual collections and other holders of cultural heritage material. All the digitized collections available in The European Library, including those of the NL, are also available via Europeana. The full list is available on the Europeana website.