- On November 29, 1917, Indochina Governor General Albert Sarraut signed the Decree on establishing Central Archive and Central Public Library of Indochina, of which headquarter was located at Borgnis Debordes street (currently 31 Trang Thi Street, Hanoi) and signed the Decree on assigning Paul Boudet as Director of the Central Public Library of Indochina.
- On September 1, 1919, the Central Public Library of Indochina was officially opened to the publics.
- In1922, the Governor General of Indochina signed the Decree on implementing legal deposit regime of cultural products over Indochina and establishing Legal Deposit Department. The Legal Deposit Department had to collect books, newspapers, journals and maps published in the whole Indochina.
- In 1935, the Central Public Library of Indochina was renamed into Pierre Pasquier Library
- After the Japanese staged a coup d’état against the French, in April 1945, Japanese professor S. Kudo was appointed to be the director of the Library.
- In 1945, Provisional Government of Vietnam Democratic Republic assigned Mr. Ngo Dinh Nhu to be the Director of National Library.
- In 1946 President Ho Chi Minh signed the Decree on legal deposit of Vietnamese cultural products. According to the decree, all Publishing and Printing Houses must submit new publications to the National Library.
- In 1947, the name of the Library was changed into The Centre Library of Hanoi.
- In 1958, the Library officially took the name National Library of Vietnam (NLV) pursuant to the Decision of the Minister of Culture.
- At the end of 1961, the NLV started to organize subject card catalogue and alphabetic card catalogue with horizontal card system (7,5x12,5cm) and applied the 17-classes Classification Schedule for district libraries of Soviet Union (translated) and the cataloguing rule of Soviet Union (translated and Vietnamize) to catalogue the library materials.
- In 1967, the NLV was awarded Third Labour medal.
- In 1969, the NLV published the Classification Schedule for provincial libraries which was called “the 17-classes Classification Schedule”.
- In 1976, Prime Minister signed the Decision No. 401-TTg on functions, duties and rights of the National Library of Vietnam. This is the highest-ranking official document determining completely functions and duties of the Library, in which for the first time the responsibility of delivering information about culture and art was regulated for the NLV.
- In 1982, the NLV was awarded Second Labour medal.
- In 1985, the NLV was awarded First Labour medal.
- In 1986, under a collaboration program between the NLV and the National Library of Australia, the Library was donated a first computer Olivety. This has marked the start of Information Technology application at the NLV.
- In 1987, the NLV started to create databases, catalogue on computer and for the first time compiling National Bibliography of Vietnam was completed on computer.
- In 1992, after two times of interruption in 1971-1976 and 1988-1991, the NLV republished its internal journal under the new name “Library journal”
- In 1993, databases of the NLV started to be served in reading rooms. For the first time, readers can search books on computer.
- In 1993, the National Assembly passed Publishing Law, regulating that the National Library must be received 4 copies of each publication.
- In 1994, the NLV created wide area network (WAN) connecting NLV with provincial and municipality libraries.
- In 1995, the NLV established Automation Division which has help promote IT application process at the NLV as well as in public libraries in Vietnam
- During 1996 - 2002, the NLV implemented the project to renovate the Library with major renovation of the old buildings and construction of 2 new buildings.
- In 1997, the NLV embarked in compiling controlled keywords collection which was chosen from about 20,000 free keywords - the result of 5 years assigning free keywords of the NLV’s staff.
- Since 2000, the NLV became an official member of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), CDNL (Conference of Directors of National Libraries) and its Regional Section For Asia and Oceania - CDNL-AO, RFBNN (Francophone network for digital national libraries). This has help broaden professional relations between the NLV and the world library community.
- In 2000, the National Assembly Standing Committee passed Library Ordinance, identifying NLV as the central library of the whole country.
- In December 2001, the NLV started the project of building electronic library, promoting the application of Information Technology in not only the NLV but public libraries in Vietnam as well. Under this project, the integrated library software ILIB, a software developed by a Vietnameses company was selected for the NLV and the major of provincial libraries in Vietnam.
- In August, 2006, the NVL introduced the Vietnamese Abridged DDC 14 and since June 2007, the Library started to apply DDC in all technical works.
- In 2006, the Ministry of Culture and Information (now is the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) assigned the NLV the project to establish a Preservation Center at the NLV. Under this project, the NLV were provided with modern equipments like De-acidifice machine, Leaf-casting machine, fume filtration cupboard, Cleaning machine, Hot-press machine, etc.
- In 2006, the NLV received CONSAL flag from the Phillippines to host CONSAL XIV General Conference and Executive Board Meetings during the term 2006-2009.
- In 2007, the NLV celebrated its 90th foundation day anniversary and received Second Independent medal.
- In 2008, the NLV officially launched the Electronic Library at the NLV.
- In 2009, under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the NLV has successfully organized the General Conference of CONSAL XIV in Hanoi. In the same year, the Han-Nom digital collection was introduced to the publics on the NLV’s website.
- 2010: Implementing Culture Behavior at the workplace; Creating the friendly reading environment with the Motto “All for readers”; Step by step completing editing the Databases; Implementing Cataloguing in Publication (CIP); DDC22/23 translated into Vietnamese; Launching the digital collection of Thang Long – Ha Noi; Digital collection of Doctoral Thesis; the first time National Library of Viet Nam organized document exhibition of Thang Long – Ha Noi: a thousand years of civilization in Paris- France and Vientiane – Lao; Expanded the library campus (approximately 1,700 m2); NLV joins in the RNNBF
- 2011: Signing the MOU with National Library of France, concurrently launching the library website in 3 languages English, Vietnamese and French; NLV has been directly approved by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam on the Project of Renovating and Upgrading the National Library of Viet Nam towards the model Traditional – Modern – Digital Library; Promoting the Vietnamese library activities and exchanging information, professional experiences with the library in the country and abroad.
- 2012: To further promoting the IT application on library operation, State and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have invested to implement the project “Strengthening the capacity of Digital library and Preservation at the National Library of Viet Nam”; Implementing the preparation phase of project “Upgrading, Renovating the National Library of Viet Nam towards Tradition-Modern-Digital Library”; Signing MOU between National Library of Viet Nam and the Asia Foundation period 5 (2012-2015); On 29th November 2013, the National Library of Viet Nam celebrated 95 years Anniversary of establishment and received the First Class Independence Order – a honored Party and State Award; Launching the Keyword set 2012; On 5th December 2012, NLV became the official member of the World Digital Library which founded and supported by the UNESCO; NLV appointed two new Deputy Directors on 12 December 2012.
- 2013: On 8th April 2013, NLV successfully hosted the Annual meeting of the digital library of Francophone Network; NLV has officially become the member of Viet Nam National Committee for the “Memory of the World” program by UNESCO; successfully implemented the project of Strengthening the capacity of digital library and preservation at the National Library of Viet Nam; Completed the first part of the Project Vietnamese Standard: Library Activities – Terms and Definitions – Part I: The basic terms; Publishing the DDC23 – Edition 23 – Translated version: 04 volumes and DDC 23 – Principles and Application in Vietnamese, the expected launching ceremony is on 29th November 2013 at the National Library of Viet Nam.
Noble Awards granted to National Library of Vietnam by Vietnamese Communist Party and Government
- With great contribution in disseminating state information on culture, sciences, education and economics, the NLV has received noble awards from Vietnamese Communist Party and Government. They are the awards that acknowledge achievements by generations of officials and workers of the NLV in 93 years of operation and development
Third Independent Medal (2002)
Second Independent Medal (2007)
- 3 Labour Medals