The library and reading room "Viktor Car Emin" Opatija was established in 1950, but opened its doors to the public in autumn 1951.
However, the library service in Opatija dates back to the late 19th century, when Croatian and Italian reading rooms were founded. The Croatian association "Concordia" (later to be renamed into "Bratimstvo") was founded in Volosko in 1872 shortly before the opening of the Italian reading room "Casino di Leterattura". In 1885 Ika got its first reading room, while reading activities in Opatija began in 1888 with the establishment of the association "Zora". Among its distinguished members were Viktor Car Emin, Rikard Katalinić Jeretov, Eugen Kumičić, Milan Marjanović, Antun Gustav Matoš and Vladimir Nazor. The war affected the work of "Zora", which was consequently banned and dismissed by the government in 1927. After World War II, in 1945, "Zora" resumed its work through choirs, hosting plays and organizing lectures. Since 1947 it provided library services as well.
Since its foundation in 1950 until today, the library and reading room "Viktor Car Emin" Opatija has operated continuously, changing its status several times. From 1960 to 1967 it operated within the National University of Opatija, while after 1967 it operates as an independent institution. Shortly after, in 1968, the library in Lovran becomes a branch of the library "Viktor Car Emin" Opatija, while branches in Matulji and Mošćenička Draga open the following year.
In September 1983 the library was named The Basic Organization of Associated Labor - Library "Viktor Car Emin" and was located in Villa Angiolina. From 1977 to 1984, the manager of the library was Dušanka Vuković, while Jelena Zelenka occupied the position from 1984 to 1996.
The importance of the 1980s for the library service is evident in the expansion of library network: in 1979 a branch was opened in the village of Kosovo, in 1986 Mune got its library station, followed by the library stations in Veprinac, Brseč and Rupa in 1987, and Permani in 1998.
After a series of changes, on 16th July 1993, the library separates from the Labor organization in the field of primary and general education and registers at the Commercial Court as an independent institution. On 12th May 1995 it changes its name to the City Library "Viktor Car Emin" Opatija, under which it has operated ever since. In the same year the library station in Veprinac closes, followed by the closure of the branch Kosovo the year after.
In 1996, a certified librarian Suzana Šturm-Kržić. who had previously worked at the City Library Rijeka, was appointed the Library director.
On 30th September 1997 the Library moved from Villa Angiolina to the ground floor of the renovated building of cultural association "Zora", so this day is celebrated as the Library Day.
Among other services, the Library got a study room, which previously shared its space with the periodicals reading room. The working conditions significantly improved in the children's department, now located in the gallery. Shortly after moving, the computer system "Medved" was used in the Library and its branches to track circulation, while since February 2009 the library software "Zaki" has been used.
At the end of 1998, The City of Kastav entrusted the work of its library to the Library in Opatija, thus joining the system of branches in Lovran, Matulji and Mošćenička Draga.
The Library employs a total of 13 people.
After the City Library Rijeka, the Public Library "Viktor Car Emin" Opatija is the largest in the County by area, the number of employees, the number of patrons and the population towards which it gravitates.