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Santiago Severin Library

Santiago Severin Regional Library

Valparaíso’s Santiago Severin Regional Library is a testimony to the importance the city enjoyed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a thriving port.


Guided visits

Public transport


Website in spanish



Plaza Simón Bolívar 1653, Valparaíso, Chile.

Opening times:

Mon-Fri 9am-5:30pm



Santiago Severin Library

Santiago Severin Library.

Founded in 1873, the Valparaíso Regional Library was Chile's first public lending library outside of Santiago. This was the period when, ahead of the opening of the Panama Canal, Valparaíso flourished as a key port on the route between the Atlantic and Pacific through the Strait of Magellan.

It was also at this time that the Valparaíso Natural History Museum - Chile's second oldest museum, after the National Natural History Museum in Santiago - was founded.

The building

The Library was initially housed in part of the city's Court Building and, subsequently, in a cramped building on Edwards Street. However, in 1919, thanks to a donation from Santiago Severin, a local businessman, politician and philanthropist, it was able to move to its current premises.

The neoclassical building took nine years to build. Standing on an island of land surrounded by four streets, it has an unusual oblong shape, measuring 58 meters in length and only 12 meters in width.


The services offered by the Santiago Severin Library include:

  • Reading rooms. The Library has five reading rooms: General Room, Children's and Young People's Room, Reference Room, Press Room (with a collection of newspapers and magazines dating back to the nineteenth century) and Research Room (for consultation of the heritage material held by the Library).
  • IT services. Under the national BiblioRedes computer-access program, the Library has an IT laboratory. As well as Internet access, it offers training in basic digital literacy and, for example the construction of websites and blogs. All three floors of the Library also have Wi-Fi.
  • Guided visits. The Library has a program of guided visits for the general public as well as for schoolchildren and other organized groups.
  • Cultural activities. The Library has a weekly program of cultural activities such as talks, book launches and exhibitions, which take place in the Reference Room. Priority is given to local figures and topics related to the Valparaíso Region.

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