Opened in 1809, it first contained Count G. Potemkin's books brought to Kazan in 1799 mixed with collections of the earliest bibliophiles V. Polyansky and N. Bulich. Subsequently, the collections of Solovetsky Monastery were added to the library.
The library contains many 19th-century periodicals, and literature about Kazan and the surrounding region. The library boasts itself as "the pride of the University and an invaluable source of information for any researcher." The original library building was built between 1825 and 1833 by Rector N. Lobachevsky, who was at the same time the chief librarian of the university. The library, which now bears his name, is still growing, and even its new building cannot house all the collections. Kazan University also has many museums.
These original books remain and are kept in the special depository of the library. In this special collection are Arabic manuscripts of philosophers and scholars Mansur Al-Hallaj and Avicenna (11-th century) and Ashshakhrestani (12-th century), a manuscript copy of thePentateuch, the first Russian printed book "The Apostle" (1564), the "Books of Kingdoms" by Francisco Skorin (1518) and the "Code of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich" (1649). The Library has first editions of the 18th-century books by Pushkin, Griboyedov, Gogol, Nasíri and Tuqay.