The library was officially opened in 1921, although it has long played an important role for the academic development of the country. The World War I led to the irrecoverable loss of diverse literature, and after the end of the war, it was decided to build the facility that will be a library for the first time in Serbia. By the end of 1920, the administration of Carnegie Endowment, thanks to lobbying of prominent Serbian academics, donated $100,000 to the then government for building a library. The works began on 23rd June, 1921, and the ceremony opening took place on 24th May, 1926, on the day of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
The first administrator was Professor Uros Dzonic who held this post until the World War II. The main goal of the library was "to help foster science as an independent university institution and serve as a scientific library not only to students and professors of the Belgrade University, but to all those who deal with science". An important institution has never given up its original intentions, on the contrary, it has evolved over the years.
The present name, University Library "Svetozar Markovic" was founded in 1946, on the centenary of the birth of a Serbian philosopher, literary critic, publicist and political activist. The library is a cultural institution of national significance that carefully archives the cultural and historical heritage of Serbia, but also enables the progress of the modern society through numerous activities.
Here are the first comprehensive digitized manuscript collections from the legacy of Isidora Sekulic, scanned documents written in ancient Cyrillic, E-theses of doctoral dissertations, more than 400,000 digitized newspapers and much more of very important literature. Since 1987, it has been defined as the center of the information system of the University of Belgrade and has an electronic catalogue that is available anytime.
The University Library is open to all citizens, and it is essential for students, professors and researchers. Today, it is defined as a modern research center that realizes a multitude of national and international projects, quality events, workshops, lectures and seminars. It represents a home base for more than 250 libraries.