When was the last time you visited a library? I hope it was not so long ago because I would hate for any of these ten amazing libraries to close down. Why? Because they are the biggest in the world based on catalogue size (basically the number of books). While some are not that impressive to look at, they are impressive to the people using them…
The Top 10 Largest Libraries in the World (Catalogued Size)
10 – National Library of China, China (Estimated Catalogued Size: 35.1 million+)
Wiki Info: The forerunner of the National Library of China, the Imperial Library of Peking, was founded on 9 September 1909 by the government of the Qing dynasty. It was first formally opened after the Xinhai Revolution, in 1912, then in 1916, the library received depository library status.
9 – Royal Danish Library, Denmark (Estimated Catalogued Size: 35.1 million+)
Wiki Info: It contains numerous historical treasures, and a copy of all works printed in Denmark since the 17th century are deposited there. Thanks to extensive donations in the past, the library holds nearly all known Danish printed works back to and including the first Danish book, printed in 1482.
8 – National Library of Russia, Russia (Estimated Catalogued Size: 36.5 million+)
Wiki Info: The NLR is currently ranked among the world’s major libraries. 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.
7 – Bibliothèque nationale de France, France (Estimated Catalogued Size: 40 million+)
Wiki Info: The library opened to the public in 1692, under the administration of Abbé Louvois, Minister Louvois’s son. Abbé Louvois was succeeded by the Abbé Bignon, or Bignon II as he was termed, who instituted a complete reform of the library’s system. Catalogues were made which appeared from 1739–53 in 11 volumes.
6 – National Diet Library, Japan (Estimated Catalogued Size: 41.88 million+)
Wiki Info: The National Diet Library is the successor of three separate libraries: the library of the House of Peers, the library of the House of Representatives, both of which were established at the creation of Japan’s Imperial Diet in 1890; and the Imperial Library, which had been established in 1872 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education.
5 – Russian State Library, Russia (Estimated Catalogued Size: 44.4 million+)
Wiki Info: Between 1922 and 1991 at least one copy of every book published in the USSR was deposited with the library, a practice which continues in a similar method today, with the library designated by law as a place to hold a “mandatory” copy of every publication issued in Russia.
4 – New York Public Library, United States (Estimated Catalogued Size: 53.1 million+)
Wiki Info: The library, officially chartered as The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, was developed in the 19th century, founded from an amalgamation of grass-roots libraries, and social libraries of bibliophiles and the wealthy, aided by the philanthropy of the wealthiest Americans of their age.
3 – Library and Archives Canada, Canada (Estimated Catalogued Size: 54 million+)
Wiki Info: The Dominion Archives was founded in 1872 as a division within the Department of Agriculture and was transformed into the autonomous Public Archives of Canada in 1912 and renamed the National Archives of Canada in 1987. The National Library of Canada was founded in 1953.
2 – British Library, UK (Estimated Catalogued Size: 150 million+)
Wiki Info: 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. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
1 – Library of Congress, United States (Estimated Catalogued Size: 162 million+)
Wiki Info: The Library of Congress claims to be the largest library in the world. Its “collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages. Two-thirds of the books it acquires each year are in languages other than English.”