Top 10 Largest and Most Profound Libraries in the World

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The world is full of wonderful libraries full of historical documentation, government texts and books available in hundreds of various languages from an unmentionable number of authors. Unfortunately, some of these libraries are only accessible to esteemed academics, members of particular groups or countries, or government officials. Here is a list of the Top 10 largest libraries in the world based on the total number of items held within the catalog not limited to books, manuscripts, photographs, maps etc.

1) Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was built in 1800 is located in the United States of America. It officially serves as the main library for the United States Congress. The building is open to the public, however, only high-ranking government officials have access to all the materials in the library. It includes more than 32 million cataloged books and other prints in roughly 470 languages.

2) National Library of China

Located in Beijing and built in 1909, the National Library of China is the largest library in Asia holding over 33 million items. It houses official publications of the United Nations and a large collection of literature in over 115 different languages. In addition to regular text, the library also contains material inscribed on bone and tortoise shells, ancient manuscripts and block-printed volumes.

3) Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Built in 1714 and located in St. Petersburg, the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences houses a collection of 20.5 million items. This library is, unfortunately, not open to the public and is only accessible to employees of institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences and scholars with higher education.


Source: 123rf

4) National Library of Canada

The National Library of Canada was established in 2004, making it the most recent library featured on this list. It is located in Ottawa and its role is to acquire, preserve and ensure Canada’s documentary heritage is accessible. It houses 20 million books and millions of other forms of pictures, text and archived documentation. 70% of clients who often use the sources in this library are reported to be Genealogists.

5) German National Library 

Built in 1912 and located in Frankfurt, the German National Library is home to 30.9 million items. To access the libraries’ contents you must be a resident of the area, over 18 years old and supply a valid passport or other form of identification.


Source: Archi Expo

6) British Library

Built in London in 1973, the British Library is the largest library in the world based on number of items held. It contains 170 million items from multiple different countries that are available in many languages and formats. It addition to its wide array of resources, the British Library also houses manuscripts and historical documents dating back as far as 2000 B.C. To add to its splendor, this library offers open access to anyone.


Source: Wikipedia

7) Institute for Scientific Information, Russian Academy of Sciences

This library is a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, located in Moscow and built in 1724. It is one of the largest publishers of scientific literature in the Russian Federation. To gain access to information contained within this library, you must be a member of one of three membership types: Academician, Corresponding Member or Foreign Member. The first two classes must be citizens of the Russian Federation. Members are elected based on their contributions to science.

8) Harvard University Library

Located in Massachusetts, the Harvard University Library is the oldest library system in the United States and is also the oldest on this list. It was built in 1638 and is the largest private system library and largest university library in the world. It is home to 18.9 million catalog items.


Source: Reality Pod

9) Vernadsky National Scientific Library of Ukraine

Established in 1918 and in possession of 16 million items, the Vernadsky National Scientific Library of Ukraine contains the most complete collection of Slavic writing, and also contains a large collection of manuscripts, rare printed books and incunabula.


Source: Wikimapia

10) New York Public Library

Containing nearly 53 million items, the New York Public Library is one of the largest libraries in the United States that is open to the general public. It was built in 1895 and the Main Branch was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.


Source: Resource


Which lovely library would you most love to visit?


Featured image via Travel and Leisure

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