The first indicator of establising a Icelandic National Library was in 1818 after the suggestion of Danish antiquary Carls Christians Rafns. Initially the museum was called "Stiftsbókasafnið". It was located in the attic of the Reykjavik cathedral.
In 1881, the library was transferred to the new build Parliament House and was renamed the National Library of Iceland. The number of printed books and manuscripts in the museum at that time was around 19 thousand copies. In 1886, Icelandic printers were bound to hand over to the Library two copies of all printed matter.
The National Library moved to a new building at Hverfisgata, specially build for the Library and the National Museum and National Gallery of Iceland in 1909. The museum house was one of the largest and most beautiful houses in Iceland at that time. The National Library was housed there for 85 years or until its union with the University Library in 1994 and moved to its current location in Þjóðarbókhlaðan and called the National and University Library of Iceland.