The Library was founded in 1867. During the next year, the Academy bought a private library of some 12,000 volumes from Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, Croatian politician, historian and author of Bibliografija hrvatska (Croatian Bibliography, Zagreb, 1860). Many distinguished men of the late nineteenth century donated or sold their private libraries to the Academy Library. From its very beginning, the library has exchanged publications with a number of academies and scientific institutions in Europe and in the world.
Today the library is developing into a general scientific library, enabling the user to trace with maximum probability editions by various academies of science and scientific societies. At the same time, it is increasingly becoming the information center for all Academy publications. The library stores and receives a total of 1,295 of current periodicals and some 1,600 titles of current serial publications. It also houses the Rarities Department.
The Academy's books have been delivered to 45 countries on five continents through exchange programs. The library has established a regular exchange of publications with 701 institutions (467 foreign and 234 domestic).
The most important rare books which are invaluable for Croatian culture are also held at the Academy Library. The library stores the first editions of works by Dominko Zlatarić, Hanibal Lucić, Andrija Čubrinović, Marin Držić, Juraj Baraković, Marko Marulić, Matija Divković, Faust Vrančić, Matija Vlašić, Petar Zrinski, Pavao Ritter Vitezović, Ivan Lucić, Baltazar Krčelić, etc.
The Senj Glagolitic Missal, printed in Croatian in the Glagolitic script (1494), reprinted by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1994.