According to archival documents, the library of the Croatian Hydrographic Institute has been functioning since 1947. However, many early publications and charts have been collected and kept in its holdings since the foundation of the Hydrographic Office in Trieste in 1860, and later in several Institute premises at Pula, Tivat, Dubrovnik and Split.
The library currently holds about 7000 books and periodicals, some of which are unique items from different countries and different periods.
Over the years, library holdings were supplied by purchasing from eminent, foreign publishing houses, as hydrographic, oceanographic and cartographic research works, data analysis, reproduction and printing required technical and professional literature for the experts in different subjects of study: geodesy, geophysics, geology, chemistry, meteorology, cartography, navigation, electronics, information science, and printmaking. The library also keeps periodical publications published by the Institute itself, whose first volumes date back to 1930-ies: Notices to Mariners, Nautical Almanac, Sailing Directions, List of Lights, Nautical Tables, Annual Report, and other publications and navigation handbooks.
Besides the above mentioned professional literature, the editions of the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB), which Institute as a member of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) regularly receives and keeps in its library holdings, are certainly one of a kind in Croatia.
Another very important source of the supply of library holdings is intensive exchange of periodicals and charts with hydrographic institutes and related institutions all over the world, which makes the HHI library unique, specialised, professional library in Croatia.