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World's Largest National Libraries with Over 10 Million Books

Posted in United States: National Libraries  ~  August 16, 2012 03:31:11 PM

When considering the size of a library’s collections, only the number of books is taken into account; other library materials such as manu scripts, serials (newspapers, journals and so on), microfilms, and maps are disregarded.

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

    Founded 1800
    30 million Books

    Library of Congress

    The national library with the biggest annual budget, currently about $613 million. The Library of Congress grows at a rate of about 10,000 items a day. The Library of Congress was the most expensive library building before the 20th century, when the Jefferson Building, the oldest part of the three buildings that make up the library, opened in 1897 at a cost of $10 million. Storage of its huge collections of books has meant going to extraordinary lengths such as constructing 500 miles of underground rooms beneath the library building. The rate at which the book collection in the Library of Congress has grown in size is staggering. In 1900 it had just over 2 million books. The first full time librarian of the Library of Congress was George Watterson in 1815.

  2. National Library of China, Beijing (Zhongguo Guojia Tushugan)

    Founded 1909
    27 million Books

    National Library of China

    It was previously called the Metropolitan Library of Beijing. A new building for the library was added in 1987. The are 21 provinces in China, each with one large main provincial library. The three largest such libraries are the Zhejiang Provincial Library, Sichuan Provincial Library and the Hubei Provincial Library.

  3. Russian State Library, Moscow (Rossiskaya Gosudarstvennaya Biblioteka)

    Founded 1862
    24.2 million Books

    Russian State Library, Moscow

    Known affectionately as the “Leninska” its 42 million bibliographic items of all kinds would make it the second largest library in the world (after the Library of Congress). It is also Europe’s largest library. It is the third largest library in the world in number of actual books (24.2 million). Formerly called the Lenin State Library of the USSR (until 1991), it was founded in 1924, a few years after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s October revolution. But the origin of  the library goes back to 1862, when it was part of the private collection of Count Nickolai Rumyantsev. It was then the first public library in Moscow.

  4. National Library of Germany, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Berlin (Die Deutsche Bibliothek)

    Founded 1912
    17 million Books

    National Library of Germany, Frankfurt

    Founded in 1990 following the merging of the former East German National Library in Leipzig (Deutsche Bücherei, founded 1912) with the Deutsche Bibliothek in former West Germany (founded 1946). The third location of the national library is in Berlin, where music materials are kept in the Deutsches Musikarchiv. Two other large state libraries also exist in Ger-many and are comparable with the national library in Frankfurt. The first one, the Bavarian State Library in Munich, currently holds 8 million books. The other, the Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin), holds about 11 million books. Smaller state libraries also exist in Stuttgart (Baden Württemberg State Library) and Dresden (Saxony State Library).

  5. National Library of France, Paris (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)

    Founded 1480
    15.3 million Books

    National Library of France

    Third largest in Europe. A new library building opened to the public in 1996, but the library’s actual foundation goes back to 1480. Among the millions of photographs at the French national library is the world’s oldest photograph, taken by Nicéphore Niepce in 1825 (which took 8 hours to develop). In 1997 the French national library was the first library to provide full text access to a great deal of its collections via the Internet.

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