10 Largest Libraries in the World

Libraries are not just places where books are kept, they are places where avid readers find solace and acquire knowledge, they are also places used to store other important materials like photographs, relics, databases, music recordings, manuscripts, and many more. Libraries are important institutions all over the world as nations use them to safeguard history while making them readily available for its citizens.

Several countries and individuals have invested a lot in establishing libraries that are both grand and symbolic. These libraries house millions of important materials gathered through history from all over the world .

Here are the top 10 largest libraries in the world

1. The British Library

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The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest national library in the world by number of items catalogued. The library is estimated to contain 170–200 million+ books, manuscripts, magazines, music recordings and scores, patents, databases and much more from different countries. The library was established by the British Library Act 1972 as an independent entity on July 1st, 1973. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK.

2. The Library of Congress

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The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. The library was established in Washington, D.C. in 1800. The library’s functions are overseen by the librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the architect of the Capitol. Although the library is open to the public for touring, only high profile government officials can access its books and materials. The library contains research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages.”

3. The New York Public Library

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The New York Public Library (NYPL) is a public library system in New York City. With nearly 53 million items and 92 locations, the New York Public Library is the second largest public library in the United States and the third largest in the world. The system of libraries came about as a result of the merging of small and large libraries including libraries of book lovers and wealthy millionaires in New York and has both private and government financing. The main branch of the library is located on Fifth Avenue in New York at the intersection with 42nd Street.

4. Library and Archives Canada

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Library and Archives Canada is a federal institution tasked with acquiring, preserving and making Canada’s documentary heritage accessible. It houses about 20 million books, 24 million photographs, private and government archives, aboriginal magazines, non-fiction and fiction films, Canadian periodicals, and more.

5. Russian State Library

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The Russian State Library is the national library of Russia, located in Moscow. It is the largest in the country and the fifth largest in the world for its collection of books. It was named the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR from 1925 until it was renamed in 1992 as the Russian State Library. The library houses over 275 km of shelves with more than 43 million items, including over 17 million books and serial volumes, 13 million journals, 350 thousand music scores and sound records, 150,000 maps and others. The library also has items in 247 languages of the world.

6. National Diet Library of Japan

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The National Diet Library (NDL) is the national library of Japan. It was established in 1948 for the purpose of assisting members of the National Diet of Japan in researching matters of public policy. The library is similar in purpose and scope to the United States Library of Congress.

7. Bibliothèque nationale de France

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The Bibliothèque nationale de France is the national library of France, located in Paris. It is the national repository of all that is published in France as stated by law established in 1537, and also holds extensive historical collections. The Library holds over ten million books, three hundred fifty thousands manuscripts as well as a large number of maps, coins, and others. The Library also maintains Gallica, a digital library established in 1997. Bibliothèque nationale de France was opened to the public in 1692, and became the first free public library in the world in 1793.

8. National Library of China

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The National Library of China or NLC in Beijing is the national library of the People’s Republic of China. With a collection of over 37 million items, it is the largest library in Asia and one of the largest in the world. It holds the largest collections of Chinese literature and historical documents in the world.

9. National Library of Russia

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The National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg, both the oldest public library in the nation as well as the first national library in the country. It has the second richest library collection in the Russian Federation, a treasury of national heritage, and is the All-Russian Information, Research and Cultural Center. Over the course of its history, the Library has aimed for comprehensive acquisition of the national printed output and has provided free access to its collections. The NLR is currently ranked among the world’s major libraries.

10. Royal Danish Library

The Royal Library in Copenhagen is the national library of Denmark and the university library of the University of Copenhagen. It is among the largest libraries in the world and the largest in the Nordic countries. On January 1 2017 it merged with the State and University Library in Aarhus to form a combined national library. The combined library organisation is known as the Royal Danish Library.

Shanghai Library

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The Shanghai Library, which also houses the Shanghai Institute of Scientific and Technological Information, is the municipal library of Shanghai, China. The library 24 stories and 348 feet tall and looks like a giant lighthouse

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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