Top 10 Biggest Libraries in the World
Top 10 Published on 06/04/2012 08:00

     Information and knowledge brings wisdom, of course that is alongside experience and as the saying goes history repeats itself. How we know what in the past and how events unfold is they are recorded in writing, on tape or even in photography. Throughout the world there are many resources for information libraries being the main source to locate information and some specific writings and knowledge can only be found in specific libraries of the world. This list will let you know where you can find your source of information as these are the biggest libraries in the world with book collections ranging in size from the smaller collection of just 11,000,00 books to the biggest with over 30 million in its massive collection. This list will enlighten you to the worlds top ten biggest library collections.

1. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., USA

Washington, D.C., USA, Library of CongressBuilt back in 1800, with a collection of books that is phenomenal in measure, more than 30,000,000 with books in about every language is the Library of Congress in Washing, D.C.. It is the same library Nicholas Cage searched for a hidden book to find treasure in the movies National Treasure 2 and it is still used in many movies to this day as it is grand in design and its collection is like no other in the world. The library in the United States and it has the largest collection of books in the world. The library is known as a research library where history, science, philosophy and culture can all be studied. Much of the original collection was sold during the War of 1812, soon after that Thomas Jefferson sold his own collection of 6,457 to the library. Now the library serves mainly as a research center for inquires coming from Congress, it is open to the public but only high ranking American officials can checkout books.

2. National Library of China, Beijing

Beijing, National Library of ChinaThe prize for the largest library on the Asian continent goes to the National Library of China, also known as "NLC”. The library which is based in Beijing has around 26.3 million books in its huge building and it holds the richest collection or Chinese historical documents and writings in the world. The Qing government founded the library in 1909, although it wasnt opened to the public until 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution. Part of the librarys massive collection is the ancient manuscript and a good amount of block writings from the Qing Dynasty, these ancient writings were given by the "Imperial Wenyuange Library". There were many other libraries that gave their book collections to thew NLC too and many of them had manuscripts that were thousands of years old. NLC also has as part of its collection writing inscribed in tortoise shells and bones. Its collection has many foreign practice books and books in over 115 languages.

3. Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Library of the Russian Academy of SciencesThe Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg was chartered by the Russian Federation to collect the countrys research findings and books. The collection has many writings from hospitals, scientists, writers and other key findings of the Russian people. The library is only open to the employees of the institutions that are members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and those with higher education. The library was funded by Peter I in the year 1714 and by 1774 it was made a legal obligation that any scientific institution or writer publishing anything had to supply the library with a free copy of their findings or writings. This is what helped the library gather such a huge collection with over 20,000,000 books, although there was a fire sometime in the librarys life and a great amount of the collection was destroyed and it is still unknown just how many of the destroyed books have been recovered or if the librarys collection has grown its collection back to its size before the fire.

4. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa

Ottawa, Library and Archives CanadaThe Library and Archives of Canada is in the city of Ottawa, the library is dedicated to maintaining the Canadian historical, officially it is known as a national memory institution. The building is the size of two football fields and contains to climate controlled 48 preservation rooms, laboratories and even offices for the study of preservation, the cost of the preservation building was 89 million dollars. One of the oldest books in the North American continent is found in the librarys collection, it was printed in 1470 by Flavius Josephus a first century historian. Of course that book, along with others is stored in preservation vaults and can only be viewed by those with special granted privilege. The library also houses and protects many of Canadas newspaper publishings, although they are planning construction of a storage facility in Quebec that will help to keep the growing collection in great condition. The collection now is at a whopping 18,800,000 books and other historical documents in just about all forms.

5. German National Library, Frankfurt

Frankfurt, German National LibraryThe German National Library in Frankfurt has a standing collection of around 18,500,000; the library was founded with the purpose of comprehensively archiving all German publications and recorded history and it has done a great job in doing so. It also has a collection that specifically includes any written publications that have anything to do with Germany, such as World War publications and propaganda from all countries involved in the war. Another branch of the library collects, stores and showcases all the German published music records and it has its own collection of over 200,000 writings that focus only on music related publications. There are actually three buildings to the German National Library, one in Frankfurt, one in Berlin and one in Leipzig, combined the three libraries have total inventory of around 24,100,000 items. The federal government also has a law that anyone publishing a writing in the country is obligated to give a copy to the library to contribute its collection, if not there could be federal charges of obstructing governmental practice.

6. British Library, London

London, British LibraryAnother library that receives a copy of any book published in its country is the British Library in London, any book published in the United Kingdom is sent to the library for its continuously growing collection. This library has the largest collection of items in the world having more than 150 million items in total. The items are from many countries and are found in many languages, the formats of the collection range as well from digital to stone inscribed writings. The British Library has around 14,000,000 books in its collection, a great amount of the collection of the items date back as far as 2,000 BC. The library is quickly growing as it adds about 3 million items to its collections every year, which occupies around 6 more miles of shelf space annually. The library used to be part of the National Museum but was legally separated from the museum in the 1970s to have its own dedicated building.

7. Institute for Scientific Information Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Moscow, Institute for Scientific Information Russian Academy of SciencesThe Institute for Scientific Information Russian Academy of Sciences is located in Moscow, Russia. It was established to collect any scientific and manufacturing publication by Russian scholars as well as research facilities, like the Library of the academy only it is not open to the general public. The institution is a self-governed complex made by the government of the Russian Federation. To enter the librarys collection there are membership requirements that need to be met, which there is three different types of memberships and depending on the membership level that is had allows access to specific areas. Members of the institute have to be elected in and have to be citizens of the Russian federation. There are only 500 members of the institute to date and membership to the library is considered a very prestigious honour. Anything related nuclear, linguistic and even gene biology findings can be found in the librarys collection. It is interesting and intriguing to think what kind of secrets and findings can be found in the librarys 13.5 million book collection. 

8. Harvard University Library, Cambridge, MA, USA

Cambridge, MA, USA, Harvard University LibraryWith 13,100,000 books the Harvard University Library holds the largest private book collection of any university in the world. The Harvard library was founded in 1638, making it the oldest in the United States. It is actually comprised of 90 library wings in total all having their specific area of focus and some miscellaneous in Nature. It was John Harvard who added the first books to the collection, his private collection was just 400 books, since then the collection has only grown and continues to do so this day. By 1638 the library had the largest collection of books in the United States but a catastrophic fire destroyed nearly all the books that were gathered over the first century of its existence. There are around 37 buildings holding the Harvard University library collection. The Harvard University community has their own sections of the library system which houses the scholars of the ivy league universitys publications.

9. Vernadsky National Scientific Library of Ukraine, Kiev

Kiev, Vernadsky National Scientific Library of UkraineEstablished in the year 1918, Ukraines Vernadsky National Scientific Library in Kiev is the information center of the country with more than 13 million books, manuscripts and writings in its collection. The library contains all the collections of Ukrainian presidents and the collections of the scientific archives of Ukraine. Also part of the librarys collection is the works of Ukrainian scientists and cultural works along with Slavic manuscripts and music compositions. Most of the librarys book collection dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries mainly due to political unrest in the time of its founding made it hard to come in possession of more historical documents. The library has around 2,000 academic visitors a day and around 500,000 visitors a year. The collection of the library continues to grow at a rate of about 500,000 or more documents a year. The librarys staff members are made up of librarians, scientists and extra staff.

10. New York Public Library, New York, USA

New York, USA, New York Public LibraryAnother library in the United States has around 11,000,000 books in its collection and is open to the public year round. It is the New York Public Library in New York City, NYPL as it is also known is the second largest in America just behind the Library of Congress having around 53 million items, which includes its collection of books. The library system consists of many branches throughout the state and has branches specifically for research purposes which do not allow check outs and circulating braches that are open to the public to check out books as they please. The library was founded throughout its years from philanthropists and wealthy individuals with the intention to bring information and history to the general public, so unlike the Library of Congress it is not governed by any political parties and it continues to remain that way to this day, most likely it will maintain the private ownership in the future as well.

     It is amazing that such huge collections of world history exist, it is almost unbelievable all the information that is right at the fingertips of the people of the world of course some of the information is only accessible by a privileged few but there is much information that can be accessed by the general public. When traveling around the world or vacationing in one of the places in the this list then you should check out the libraries and see them in person to see just how massive in size they are and you might just want to take a few hours to expand your mind or read the writings of famous philosophers. These libraries will surely change your world outlook as you read some of the historical materials that can be found.

Leave a comment

Leave a comment
E-mail will not be published
Type the code shown