Tbilisi State University Library was founded at the beginning of the 20th century, when Ivane Javakhishvili introduced the will of prominent Georgian publicist Kita Abashidze to the colleagues at the preliminary board of the University professors, where curriculum and admission terms were being discussed on December 19, 1917. Kita Abashidze’s library was given to the University according to his will. This private collection laid the foundation for the Tbilisi State University book repository. The generous support of various institutions like the Black Stone Manufacture Board, the former Censor Committee in the Caucasus, the Society of Spreading Literacy among Georgians, Georgian Historic and Ethnographic Society, gymnasium for nobles has been played an important role in building and sustaining library holdings. Today the library donations range from book shops and publishing houses to private persons, like Davit Sarajishvili, Svimon Kldiashvili, Petre Melikishvili, Ekvtime Takaishvili, Aleksandre Tsagareli, Dimitri Bakradze, Tedo Zhordania, Vasil Petriashvili, and others. Georgian scholars being abroad on a scientific mission bought books for the University at their own expense. The library first was headed by Professor Giorgi Akhvlediani. Later, the University Library directors were eminent Georgian professors: Akaki Shanidze, Grigol Tsereteli, Shalva Nutsubidze
In 1938 University repository was renamed into Fundamental Library and since 1950 – Scientific Library. It was given the name of Grigol Tsereteli in 1997. Currently, the library carries the name of the University Library.
The library acquires, disseminates and preserves information in all the forms in which it is created. There are preserved scientific and educational literature, Georgian and foreign rare books and periodicals.
Ivane Javakhishvili was one of the scholars, whose contribution in founding the first National University not only in Georgia but in the Caucasus as well, is great. Ivane Javakhishvili had been graduated from the faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of St. Petersburg.
In 1903 He became a Private Docent of St. Petersburg University and started giving weekly lectures to the Georgian Society of St. Petersburg.
In 1907 Ivane Javakhishvili founded the Georgian Students’ scientific circle of the Petersburg Imperial University, which played an important role in developing Georgian scientific thinking and establishing the University in Georgia.
Ivane Javakhishvili offered Petre Melikishvili to be the rector of the University, and Prof. Javakhishvili himself headed the faculty of Philosophy. Later, when Petre Melikishvili decided to resign, Ivane Javakhishvili became a rector of the University.
In 1926 Soviet Government dismissed the founder of the University and in 1936 repressions against him were renewed.
His friends and students apart for one or two couldn’t dare to protect him because of the threat of the Soviet regime, and so he had to leave the University.
Ivane Javakhishvili died while delivering public lectures in 1940. He was buried in the pantheon of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.
University Library preserves the complete works of the great scholar.
Kita (Ivane) Abashidze was a famous Georgian Critic, publicist, one of the leaders of the Social-Federal Party. Since 1895 he had been working in Tbilisi “Chamber of Control”, then he became a facilitator judge in Racha and Chiatura. Since 1901 Kita Abashidze had been in charge of “Relation Confidence Bank” of Black Stone Industrial Council in Chiatura, and later he worked as a chairman of the same institution. His articles about modern writers (under the common title “Life and Art”) and annual critical reviews made a great influence on developing Georgian Literature. His fundamental work “Etudes about the 19th Century Georgian Literature” laid the foundation for the scientific study of Georgian literature. He left bequests to the library of the newly-founded University. The repository was created due to this collection.
Davit Sarajishvili was a famous Georgian public leader, a founder of cognac production, and had a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Philosophy. He studied agriculture, viticulture, and winemaking abroad. The obtained knowledge and practical experience led him to the conclusion that Georgias soil - climatic conditions and varieties of grape brandy create good conditions for cognac production. In 1885 Sarajishvili built a cognac central warehouse, where the cognac brand was being aged. Sarajishvili cognac factory was set up in Tbilisi in 1888 and it worked on the domestic raw material base. Sarajishvili cognac and liquor won gold, silver, and bronze medals in Russia and international exhibitions. Thanks to Sarajishvili’s charity many talented young people got education abroad and lots of important national and cultural initiatives had been implemented.
Svimon Kldiashvili is a typical representative of the eclectic era. In his buildings, we see Renaissance - Baroque-style façades, nineteenth-twentieth century’s specific interpretations, as well as quite often - even contemporary. Today very little has been remained of the buildings designed by him. Svimon Kldiashvili graduated from the architecture faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in Moscow and was awarded a silver medal. He was a member of the maintenance commission of Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta, the Svetitskhoveli renewal committee, Georgian Art society, and Georgian historical-ethnographical society. In 1899 S. Kldiashvili started drafting the building project of Tbilisi School for Nobles and headed the construction himself.
He granted his library to the newly opened University.
S. Kldiashvili died in 1920. He was buried in the Didube pantheon of eminent figures.
Petre Melikishvili was appointed as a rector on the basis of Ivane Javakhishvili proposal at the first session of the council of University professors in 1918. Petre Melikishvili was the most famous scientist among his colleagues at that time. He voluntarily headed the newly-founded University for nearly two years and contributed his knowledge, experience, and authority to the first Georgian University.
P. Melikishvili was awarded the Lomonosov Premium and golden medal. D. Mendeleev gave a great estimation to his work “Elements periodical system”.
P. Melikishvili researched natural and agricultural products. His researches about wheat, wine, cheese is especially important.
Besides delivered lectures, organized laboratories, Prof. Melikishvili first headed the faculty of chemistry founded by him, and later he was head of the faculty of agriculture. His name is associated with establishing chemical scientific terminology in Georgia, and teaching chemistry as well. Petre Melikishvili died in 1927, and was buried in the yard of Tbilisi State University.
Ekvtime Takaishvili had been actively engaged in public and scientific activities since his youth. In 1888 he was elected as a member of the “Society of Spreading Literacy among Georgians”, and in 1889 a member of the Church Museum Committee. He became a member of the Moscow archeological society in 1901, and in the same year, he was elected as a real member of the Caucasus department of the Russian Geographical Society.
In 1907 “Georgian Historical and Ethnographical Society” was founded by E. Takaishvili’s initiation and he headed it until 1921. The contribution of the society had been proved invaluable in the survival and study of Georgian historical-cultural heritage. Prof. Takaishvili edited a collection of the society, “Ancient Georgia and Antiquities”.
The scholar contributed to studying samples of old Georgian Literature, manuscripts, as well as collecting and editing folklore.
E. Takaishvili was one of the active organizers of the founding society of the University. The first Council of the University Professors was held in Takaishvili’s flat. He delivered lectures in Archeology and was honored to acquire a Ph.D. in Georgian Archeology. In 1918-1921 he was elected as a deputy chairman of the founding meeting of the Georgian Democratic Republic. In 1921 he had to migrate due to Georgian occupation by Russia and had to survive and rescue Georgian treasure taken abroad by the Government. He intensively carried on his research during his hard life in France.
In 1945 he returned to Georgia with the treasure taken abroad in 1921. Prof. Takaishvili started delivering lectures with youth energy. In 1946 he was elected as a member of the Georgian scientific academy, though former emigrant remained a constant target for Russia. Depressed by the continuous track of law-enforcement agencies E. Takaishvili died tragically in 1953. He is buried in Mtatsminda Pantheon and was canonized as a Holly Father by Georgian Church in 2002.
Aleksandre Tsagareli was a famous linguist, philosopher, historic, paleologist, and archeologist, one of the talented journalists, publicists, and critics of the 19th century. He was the first Georgian scholar who visited the Near East: Mountain of Athos in Greece, Jvari Monastery in Jerusalem, and etc. There he found and described manuscripts, rewrote inscriptions, searched for Georgian cultural activities in the Near East. Aleksandre Tsagareli had a fellowship at the University of Tubingen, where he studied comparative linguistics and Sanskrit. Prof. Tsagareli also traveled to Italy several times, and in the Library of Vatican, he discovered the 12th-century Georgian manuscript. Most of his life he worked at the University of St. Petersburg, however, he came back to Georgia in 1920 and worked at Tbilisi State University.
Vasil Petriashvili was a famous Georgian chemist. He was greatly interested in the technological and agrochemical issues of agricultural products. Prof. Petriashvili’s fundamental thesis was about Vinegar Production, and besides that, he was an author of various scientific articles on viticulture and winemaking. Prof. Petriashvili also published articles on political, social and economic issues.
Giorgi Akhvlediani is one of the founders of the first Georgian University. He was a member of the board of University professors and headed the University book depository as well.
Giorgi Akhvlediani was a multilateral researcher and worked in various fields of linguistics. At various times he delivered lectures in Introduction to Linguistics, General Linguistics, History of Linguistics, General Phonetics, Experimental Phonetics, Sanskrit, History of Greek and Russian Dialectology, Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European languages, History of Western Europe, and etc. Prof. Akhvlediani founded Georgian Linguistic Society in 1923, and along with other scientists he set up Georgian Academy of Sciences in 1941. He first delivered lectures in Phonetics, established phonetic laboratories, created works, and a text-book in Phonetics.
Prof. Akhvlediani also worked on the complex system of phonetic syllables of Abkhaz language and its classification. Besides the Abkhaz language, Giorgi Akhvlediani researched Ossetian language phonetic structure, dialectology, and text analysis. He edited Ossetian language grammar in two volumes.
G. Akhvlediani contributed to processing Georgian scholastic terminology. The eminent Georgian Scholar is buried in the pantheon of Tbilisi State University.
Akaki Shanidze was a Georgian linguist and philologist, academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, and was one of the founders of the Tbilisi State Universit. He delivered lectures in Arabic and Armenian languages, as well as Georgian, and Georgian dialectology.
Akaki Shanidze headed the University book depository in 1918-1920. He gave great attention and care to the library in late years as well.
His numerous works are dedicated to the problems of Georgian Language structure and history, Georgian dialectology, Georgian lexicology, Georgian text analysis, Georgian folklore, Georgian epigraphic, and alphabet studies, and etc. Prof. Shanidze is an author of many grammar terms in Georgian. His name is associated with the establishment of a linguistic school at Tbilisi State University. Akaki Shanidze died in 1988 and is buried in the pantheon of Tbilisi State University.
Grigol Tsereteli was a famous scholar, a founder of papyrus studies and the school of classical philology in Georgian, and headed the University Library as well. The famous scholar became a victim of Soviet repression.
He was a professor at the Universities in Berlin and St. Petersburg at various times. Later he became a professor and headed the department of Classical Philology at the University of St. Petersburg. Grigol Tsereteli was elected as a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and an honorable member of the German Society of papyrus Studies and Berlin Archeological Institute. In 1919 he was assigned as a professor at the department of the Greek Language and Literature in Tbilisi State University.
Shalva Nutsubidze was actively involved in the establishment of the Georgian University. As an unrivaled organizer, he often performed various official duties of the Vice-Rector, Dean, Library Director, Head of Department, and the first Dean at the faculty of the Social and Economic Studies. Besides, He was assigned to overcome major difficulties to the Faculty of Law.
Shalva Nutsubidze delivered many short courses of various faculties at the University: Introduction to Philosophy, History of Social and Political Doctrine, the Scientific Methodology, etc. For 15 years he chaired the Department of the History of World Literature at the faculty of the Western European Languages and Literature.
Shalva Nutsubidze wrote text-books and manuals for high school and university students. He worked on the philosophical terminology and translated Georgian literature into foreign languages.
He is a founder of Georgian Philosophical History. Prof. Nutsubidze researched the Eastern roots of the European Renaissance, however, his main and the most important research was about Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. According to Prof. Nutsubidze’s theory, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite has been identified with Peter the Iberian, who was a Saint recognized by the Orthodox Church and was a prominent figure in early Christianity.
Besides his research activities, Shalva Nutsubidze was a unique speaker and orator, his artistic nature of the multi-awarded talent attracted the auditorium.