According to the epitaph [kitabe] and foundation charter [vakfiye], the library was built by Seyhulislam Seyyid Feyzullah Efendi in 1112 Hijri (1700-1701 Gregorian). Because its structure was ruined in the early 20th century, the municipality considered completely destroying it and build a car park in its place. However, with the initiatives of the İstanbul Muhibleri Cemiyeti (Association for Lovers of Istanbul) and with the efforts of Evkaf Naziri [Minister of Foundations] Seyhulislam Mustafa Hayri Efendi, the building was restored and saved from destructiong (1334 Hiji / 1916 Gregorian). It became a general library and took the name of Fatih Millet Library. Along with the physical restoration of the library, Feyzullah Efendi donated 2,189 manuscripts and Ali Emiri Efendi donated 16,000 books to the library.
The books of important waqf [foundation] libraries such as Reşid Efendi, Carullah Efendi, Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa and Pertev Paşa Libraries, which had completely unusable buildings from 1924 onwards, were gathered in Millet Library along with the books of Seyhulislam Feyzullah Efendi; but, when Millet Library was transformed to Public Library in 1962, all the books of waqf libraries were transferred to Suleymaniye Library. The library’s collection was transfered to the Simkeshane Building in Laleli, and the Millet Library reassumed its identity and continued to serve the Fatih District of Istanbul as a public library.
Murad Molla, Adile Sultan, Yusuf Paşa, Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa Public Libraries and Ebu Bekir Paşa, Yavuz Selim, Zembilli Ali Efendi Children’s Libraries had served as affiliated sub units of Millet Library, but these libraries were converted into vakıfs [non-for-profit organizations].
The manuscripts from Murad Molla Public Library were transferred to Suleymaniye Library in 2000 and have been open to public use since..
The library became specialized for research by handing over the new books available in the Millet Library, which serves in affiliation with Libraries and Publications General Directorate of Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, to Library and Documentation Center of Sakarya University. The library continues to serve under the name “Millet Manuscript Library.”
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL