The idea of national libraries can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where libraries were often established by governments as a way to preserve and protect the cultural and intellectual heritage of a society. However, the modern concept of national libraries as we know them today originated in Europe during the Enlightenment, a period of intellectual and cultural growth that took place in the 18th century.
During the Enlightenment, there was a renewed interest in the idea of a national library as a way to preserve and promote the culture and intellectual achievements of a nation. This idea was fueled by the desire to promote education and the spread of knowledge, and it was seen as a way to celebrate the cultural heritage of a nation. As a result, many national libraries were established in Europe during this time, including the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the British Library in London, and the Nationale Bibliotheek in The Hague.
The idea of national libraries spread to other parts of the world, and today there are national libraries in many countries around the world. These libraries serve as a resource for researchers, students, and the general public, and they help to preserve and promote the cultural and intellectual heritage of their respective countries.