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Biggest Library in India, List of Top-10

India, a land known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse history, is home to one of the largest repositories of knowledge in the world – the National Library of India. Situated in Kolkata, West Bengal, this iconic institution stands as a testament to India’s commitment to preserving its intellectual treasures and fostering a love for learning.

India’s Biggest Library 2023

As of 2023, the National Library of India, situated in Kolkata, stands as the nation’s largest and the world’s seventh-largest library. Established in 1836, it houses an impressive collection of over 2.2 million books, including rare manuscripts and the personal library of Rabindranath Tagore. Open to the public for reference and research, this iconic institution continues to be a beacon of knowledge and cultural heritage. Other notable libraries in India include the Asiatic Society Library in Mumbai, renowned for its ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, and the S. R. Ranganathan Memorial Library in Bangalore, dedicated to library science and information technology.

Key Facts Related to Biggest Library of India

Here are some of the interesting facts related to the National Library of India, the biggest library of India:

  • Location: The National Library of India is situated in Belvedere Estate, Alipore, Kolkata.
  • Size and Scope: It is India’s largest library by volume and public record, boasting a collection in excess of 2.5 million books and records.
  • Government Oversight: The National Library operates under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • Director General: As of 2020, Dr. Prof. Ajay Pratap Singh serves as the Director General (additional), also heading the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation, Kolkata.
  • Historical Significance: Originally the residence of the Governor General of Bengal and India during British rule, it later became the Lt. Governor’s residence.
  • Merger of Libraries: The National Library is a result of the merging of the public library with the Imperial Library and several other government libraries.
  • Multilingual Collection: It collects books, periodicals, and titles in virtually all Indian languages, with special collections housing at least fifteen languages.
  • Imperial Library Origins: The Imperial Library, formed in 1891, housed many books from East India College, Fort William, and the East India Board in London.
  • Name Change: After independence, the Imperial Library was renamed the National Library by the Imperial Library (Change of Name) Act, 1948.
  • Public Opening: On February 1, 1953, the National Library was officially opened to the public by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • Name Change (1976): The name was further changed to the National Library of India by the National Library of India Act, 1976.
  • Hidden Chamber Discovery (2010): During restoration in 2010, a previously unknown room was discovered, leading to speculation about its purpose and historical use.
  • Visiting Hours: The National Library is open from 9 am to 8 pm on working days and 9:30 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and Government of India holidays.
  • Closure on National Holidays: It remains closed on Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15), and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2).

Check This: Biggest Library in the World

List of Top-10 Biggest Libraries in India

National Library of India, located in Kolkata, holds the title of the biggest library in India with the collection size of 2.2 million, followed by Raza Library, Saraswati Mahal Library and Anna Centenary Library.

Here is the list of top-10 biggest libraries in India:

Biggest Libraries in India
Rank Library Name Location Establishment Collection Size
1. National Library of India Kolata, West Bengal 1836 2.2 million
2. Raza Library Rampur, Uttar Pradesh 1951 30,000 +
3. Saraswati Mahal Library Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 16th century 49,000 +
4. Anna Centenary Library Kotturpuram, Chennai 2010 500,000 +
5. Krishnadas Shama Central Library Panaji, Goa 1832 180,000 +
6. Trivandrum Public Library Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 1829 300,000+
7. Smt. Hansa Mehta Library Vadodara, Gujarat 1950
8. The Asiatic Society Mumbai, Maharashtra 1804 15,000 +
9. Delhi Public Library New Delhi 1951 1.8 million
10. Seshadri Memorial Library Bengaluru 1915 300,000 +

Biggest Library in India – National Library of India

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The National Library of India, based in Kolkata, is India’s largest and the world’s seventh-largest library. Established in 1836, it houses over 2.2 million books, featuring rare manuscripts and a diverse collection in various Indian and foreign languages. Notably, it preserves Rabindranath Tagore’s personal library and offers a spacious reading room for public reference and research.

India’s Second Biggest Library – Raza Library

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Ranked as India’s second-largest library, the Raza Library in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, resides within a palace. Founded by Nawaz Faizullah Khan, this expansive repository boasts rare Islamic calligraphy, historic documents, palm leaf manuscripts, and miniature paintings. Housing over 30,000 books, it stands as a rich treasure trove of knowledge and history.

India’s Third Largest Library – Saraswati Mahal Library

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As India’s third-largest library, the Saraswathi Mahal Library, founded as a royal repository for the Nayak Kings of Thanjavur, stands among the country’s oldest. Its unparalleled collection of palm-leaf manuscripts in diverse regional languages reflects India’s cultural richness. A vital destination for history and culture enthusiasts, it preserves a unique slice of the nation’s heritage.

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FAQs

Which is the biggest library in India?

National Library of India, located in Kolkata, holds the title of the biggest library in India.

Which university has the biggest library in India?

The Maulana Azad Library is the central library of Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. It is the largest university library in Asia.

Which is the oldest library of India?

The oldest library in India is the Sarasvati Mahal Library, located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.

Name the top-5 biggest libraries of India.

The top-5 biggest libraries in India are: National Library of India, Raza Library, Saraswati Mahal Library, Anna Centenary Library and Krishnadas Shama Central Library.