Largest Libraries

Libraries were highly regarded as an archive of information, ideas, and creativity. Some libraries reflected the cultural strength of their respective empires, and as such, the knowledge held in them was closely guarded. We will be showing some of the most well-known libraries of the ancient world.

Nowadays many of us believe that the role and impact of libraries are not much in this modern era of internet, where everything is just a click away. But what internet cannot offer is that sensation these libraries give. Seeing millions of books and archives in one place is sight that remains. They offers a comfortable place to study or work. There are many libraries in the world, but some of the largest and most famous are the Library of Congress in the United States, the British Library in England and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in France.

List of the World’s Largest Libraries

Here we gathered a list for the largest libraries this world has seen yet. This place offers centuries old knowledge that you won’t be able to find on the internet.

RankLibraryCountry
1Library of CongressUSA
2British LibraryUK
3National Library of ChinaChina
4New York LibraryUSA
5Library and Archives CanadaCanada
6Russian State LibraryRussia
7Royal Danish LibraryDenmark
8National Diet LibraryJapan
9Bibliothèque Nationale de FranceFrance
10German National LibraryGermany

Library of Congress, USA

Library of Congress

​At the pinnacle of the list stands the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., USA, renowned as the world’s largest library. With an annual budget exceeding 600 million dollars, it boasts an extensive catalog comprising 160 million items.

The collection includes three Capitol Hill buildings containing 38 million books, 3.6 million recordings, 14 million pictures, 5.5 million maps, 8.1 million pieces of sheet music, and 70 million documents. Despite problems, this national asset, founded in 1800, is one of the world’s most important libraries. Visitors must present a government ID and a timed admission permit to get entry.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
Library of CongressWashington D.C., USA160 million itemsLargest library globally with a budget exceeding 600 million dollars. Houses books, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts. Requires government ID and timed entry pass.

British Library, UK

British Library, UK

Following closely is the British Library in London, United Kingdom. While its budget may not match the top contender, it houses an impressive 170 million items. Notable attractions include handwritten lyrics by the Beatles and an original draft of chapters 10 and 11 from Jane Austen’s Persuasion. These treasures make a visit to the British Library a compelling experience for literature enthusiasts. The public can get access if they have a Reader Pass, which can be obtained at the library. Every day, about 16,000 individuals use the library, both on-site and online. The Magna Carta, Beatles manuscripts, and a tape of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s Rivonia Trial Speech are among the items in its collection.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
British LibraryLondon, UK170 million itemsHome to handwritten Beatles lyrics and original Jane Austen drafts. Notable attractions include the Magna Carta, Beatles manuscripts, and Nelson Mandela’s speech tape. Requires a Reader Pass for access.

National Library of China, China

National Library of China, China

With a population of roughly 1.4 billion people, China is unsurprising to be included on this list. The National Library of China is Asia’s largest library, with almost 33.78 million items in its collection. It has served as a legal depository for copies of domestic publications since 1916.  The library has a collection of more than 26 million books. This collection includes texts going back to the earliest Chinese societies, making it a sanctuary for Chinese literature. Make sure to add a visit to this cultural gem to your travel plans for an unforgettable experience. It holds an unusual collection of Chinese literature and historical records, that you won’t believe.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
National Library of ChinaBeijing, China33.78 million itemsAsia’s largest library with collections dating back to ancient Chinese societies.

New York Library, USA

New York Library, USA

Another notable American entry is the New York Library, spanning 92 locations across the country. Multiple movies and literary works have included the New York Public Library, including A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969), Ghostbusters (1984), Sex and the City (2008), and Lynne Schwartz’s The Writing on the Wall (2005). It contains over 52 million goods and serves 17 million clients (excluding internet users) every year in 92 locations. It is a Google Books Library Project participant, and its digital collection is available online here. Some of its popular services include ASK NYPL, a reference question service that delivers responses by phone, online chat, and email 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It also provides free events, exhibits, computer workshops, and English as a Second Language (ESL) sessions.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
New York LibraryNew York City, USA52 million itemsSpans 92 locations, featured in movies. Offers free events, exhibits, and English-speaking classes.

Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada

Archives and the Library Canada was created in 2004 (it merged the activities of the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada, which was founded in 1953), making it a young library. However, its 54 million plus volumes guarantee its position as the world’s third-biggest library, which is no minor achievement. A July 30 1796 playbill (a poster announcing a dramatic performance) was discovered tucked into a 150-year-old scrapbook by one of the library’s rare book librarians and presented to the Australian people in 2007 by the Canadian Prime Minister. The library is in Ottawa, and service and opening hours may be found here. See? You now know more about Canada than just maple syrup and harsh winters.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
Library and Archives CanadaOttawa, Canada54 million itemsFormed in 2004, holds volumes from the National Archives and National Library.

 

The National Library, Russia

The National Library, Russia

The National Library of Russia is located in St. Petersburg and is the country’s oldest public library, having been founded in 1795 by Empress Catherine the Great. It houses around 36.5 million artifacts and launched a large-scale digitalization project at the close of the twentieth century. It has roughly 80,000 electronic volumes available, along with the Russian State Library. The Russian government funds this great library and it contains books and manuscripts of all the famous writers and scientists.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
Russian State LibraryMoscow, Russia43 million itemsHouses books, manuscripts, and music sheets. Nicknamed “Leninka.”

Royal Danish Library, Denmark

Royal Danish Library, Denmark

The Royal Danish Library, or Det Kgl. Bibliotek stands as a testament to Nordic intellectual heritage. With 30 million items, including original copies of the first Atlas, this library is more than a repository; it is a cultural center in Copenhagen. The library’s nickname, the “Black Diamond,” refers to its modern architectural looks which includes black granite exteriors. Exhibitions and academic activities are held on a regular basis to further improve the visitor’s experience.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
Royal Danish LibraryCopenhagen, Denmark30 million itemsKnown as the “Black Diamond” with original copies of the first Atlas. Cultural center with exhibitions.

National Diet Library, Japan

National Diet Library, Japan

For enthusiasts of Japanese history and culture, the National Diet Library in Japan is a multifaceted destination. With main locations in Tokyo and Kyoto and a collection of 35.6 million items, it not only preserves Japan’s literary legacy but also embraces modern accessibility through its Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). The library opens its doors to visitors and travelers from all over the world, allowing them to explore Japan’s rich and colorful culture, history, and literature.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
National Diet LibraryTokyo and Kyoto, Japan35.6 million itemsPreserves Japanese history and culture. Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) available.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, France

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, France

The National Library of France has a remarkable history that rivals that of the country. It dates back to 1368 and has relocated multiple times until its official opening at its current location in Paris in 1996. You might be shocked to learn that the library prohibited WiFi in 2008, instead opting for an ethernet connection. They clearly changed their minds, since you may now connect to “BNF WiFi” if you ever decide to come in 2021. It has more than 40 million things and offers guided tours of its branches. Membership in the Reference Library is available to anybody over the age of 16.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
Bibliothèque Nationale de FranceParis, France40 million itemsEstablished in 1368, relocated multiple times. Offers guided tours and WiFi access.

German National Library, Germany

German National Library, Germany

The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig and its branch in Frankfurt serve as guardians of Germany’s intellectual heritage. This library reflects the spirit of German culture with 18.5 million books, including gems such as Anne Frank’s diary. While Leipzig can pose logistical issues for visitors, the Frankfurt branch welcomes them with open arms, offering a full trip through Germany’s literary and historic tapestry. It is not only the largest library in Germany, but also the seventh largest in the world. It also has incredibly significant music albums from the German reserves in it.

LibraryLocationCollection SizeNotable Features
German National LibraryLeipzig and Frankfurt, Germany18.5 million booksReflects German culture, including Anne Frank’s diary. Leipzig and Frankfurt branches.

Conclusion

We clearly love staying in libraries because knowledge is like food to enlighten our souls. We adore all libraries, whether they are college libraries, public libraries, or private libraries. For those of you who aren’t “of a certain age,” a library is a peaceful facility filled with books and reference materials dating back to Ye Olde Pre-Internet Times. We may not be as reliant on physical libraries as we once were. Still, even in the digital age, we found dozens of architecturally intriguing libraries and libraries with interesting collections, as well as those that are fascinating in both ways. We’d love to spend a day at any of these libraries catching up on our reading and relaxing in the sanctuary-like atmosphere.

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