The four largest libraries in the world hail from English-speaking countries, with the other one rounding out our top 5 being found in Moscow, Russia.
5. Russian State Library
The Russian State Library is the fifth largest library in the world, and one where at least one copy of every Russian publication is stored. Today, the library houses 17 million books as well as is a repository for 13 million journals, 150,000 maps, and thousands of musical records and scores. This huge collection of literary and musical work is neatly stored in storage shelves that covers a total distance of 275 kilometers in the library. The Russian State Library is located in the capital city of the country, Moscow and is freely accessible to the public of the country. It was founded on July 1st, 1862.
4. New York Public Library
The system of libraries in New York, the New York Public Library, is world famous for its extensive collection of nearly 53 million items including books, periodicals, musical records and other publications and albums. The amalgamation of small and large libraries including libraries of book lovers and wealthy millionaires of New York resulted in the creation of this large network of libraries which are currently funded by both government and private institutions. The main branch of the library is located on Fifth Avenue in New York at the intersection with 42nd Street. In 1965, it was assigned the title of National Historic Landmark of USA.Today, the New York Public Library library has 4 research libraries, branch libraries in Bronx, State Island and Manhattan and several smaller libraries affiliated to it.
3. Library and Archives, Canada
Canada can proudly claim to host the third largest library in the world, the Library and Archives of Canada which is an institution, located in 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, maintained directly by the federal Government of the country. The institution is assigned the immense task of preserving Canada’s heritage documentaries and making it available to the people of the country. The current collection includes nearly 20 million books, 24 million photographs, private and government archives, aboriginal magazines, non-fiction and fiction films, Canadian periodicals, and more. Some of the most prized items of the library include the proclamation of the Canadian Constitution Act, a 1st Century book by historian Flavius Josephus, a chair belonging to Glenn Gould, and the British North America Act. The Library and Archives of Canada was formed in 2004 by the amalgamation of the functions performed by the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada and reports directly to the Parliament of the country.
2. Library of the U.S. Congress
The Library of the U.S. Congress is the largest library in the United States and the second largest one in the world. The library is a federal institution in Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. with a separate campus, the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Virginia. The library houses research material from all parts of the world. 450 languages of the world find their representations in this library. The library was established in Washington, D.C. in 1800, and witnessed several periods of damage and destruction including the ravages created by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812 and a raging fire in 1851. It grew and expanded after the American Civil War, and started accumulating literature and important publications from all across the world. Today, though the library is open to the public for touring, only high profile government officials can access its books and materials. Several projects are undertaken by the library to promote American literature and arts.
1. British Library
The British Library is the world’s largest library, and can proudly boast of its collection of nearly 170 million books, manuscripts, magazines, music recordings and scores, patents, databases and much more. The library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is located in the capital of England, between the Euston and St. Pacras railway stations in London. The library was established by the British Library Act 1972 as an independent entity on July 1st, 1973. Some of the notable collections of this library include the Diamond Sutra, the earliest printed publication of the world, a notebook of Leonardo da Vinci, Codez Arundel, Gutenberg Bibles, and Lewis Carroll’s famous manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground. The library is extremely lenient in terms of opening its doors to all with a legitimate address proof to access its enormous treasures.
This page was last updated on April 25, 2017.