Sombreness, murmurings, books, and more books, we are talking about the unmistakable storehouse of knowledge – libraries. Libraries are a source of wonder for many. The thought of delving into the pages of a good book in an undisturbed social space is surely enticing for a reader. In fact, most avid readers love the feel and smell of books, hard-bound covers, and everything that a library has to offer. Almost all of us are acquainted with the libraries in our schools or colleges, but have you ever come across the largest libraries in India? If not, we acquaint you with the top 10 libraries in India which you must surely visit at some point in your life.
So, without any delay, let us start our reading adventure!
List of Largest Libraries in India
India’s biggest library list is as follows:
1. The National Library of India, Kolkata
- The National Library of India located in Alipore, Kolkata houses the largest number of books and public records which equals 2.2 million.
- It is the largest library in India that is built across 30 acres of land. It was the residence of the Governor General in pre-independent India.
- The historical building was formed by combining the public library with the imperial library. The Imperial Library changed to the National Library under the Imperial Library Act, of 1948. The name was further modified to the National Library of India under the National Library of India Act, 1976.
- Printed materials within India are also collected by the library. It has around 86,000 maps and more than,3,200 manuscripts.
- A hidden chamber is found within the building that is assumed to be a room for punishment used by Warren Hastings and other British officials.
2. Delhi Public Library
- Delhi Public Library is situated in the Indian capital and Union Territory of New Delhi. It is the second largest library in India after the National Library of India.
- The library received donations from Shri Ramakrishna Dalmia in 1944 and was collaboratively initiated by the Indian government and UNESCO in 1950.
- It was opened on 27 October 1951 by then PM of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
- It is the busiest Public Library in Southern Asia.
- The library has been providing knowledge and training opportunities for student librarians and social education workers since its inception.
- It consists of nearly 18 lakh books on various subjects in different languages like Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, English etc.
- It has been proliferating its services to provide different facilities under a single roof. For example, the DPL is trying to make intellectual pursuits and community rapport as inclusive features.
- The Delhi Public Library is also the 4th recipient library under the Delivery of Books & Newspapers (Public Libraries) Act 1954.
- It has a total of 36 wings and the library also has newspaper archives, vintage photographs, magazines, and DVD collections of Hollywood, Bollywood and children’s films.
3. State Central Library, Hyderabad
- State Central Library in Hyderabad, Telangana was built by Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk in 1891.
- It was formerly known as Asafia State Library.
- The library is spread over 72,247 square yards.
- It was declared a Heritage by INTACH, Hyderabad in 1998.
- The library has more than 0.5 million books. Out of this collection, 36,000 rare books housed in the library have been digitized. The funding has been provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania.
- These rare collections date back to the 5th and 6th centuries. It mostly includes manuscripts and magazines that have been written in different languages like Arabian, Persia and Urdu. These manuscripts are palm-leaf manuscripts that have been preserved by the library.
- It is also the repository for a monthly newspaper, Hyderabad Samachara started in 1941 by HEH Mir Osman Ali Khan.
4. Anna Centenary Library, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Anna Centenary Library was inaugurated on September 15, 2010, and is located in Tamil Nadu.
- The library is dedicated to ‘ANNA’ or the former CM of Tamil Nadu (the 1960s), Dr C. N Annadurai.
- It is a centralized air-conditioned library that is built over an area of 3.75 lakh square feet.
- The library is an eight-floor building housing 5 lakh books.
- One can find information on the public, academic and corporate communities in this library.
- Anna Centenary Library has an expansive Conference Hall that can accommodate 150 members.
5. Krishnadas Shama Central Library, Goa
- Krishnadas Shama Central Library is one of the oldest libraries in India that was constructed on September 15, 1832, by Viceroy Dom Manuel de Portugal e Castro.
- Initially, it was called Publica Livraria, and eventually, it got the status of a National Library on February 15, 1897.
- It has a collection of over 40,000 books from pre-independent India and more than 1.8 lakh books written in different languages.
- There are volumes in this library that date back to the 1960s.
- The books are digitized and the library has switched to RFID technology. RFID system uses microchips to store information that is used to identify objects, animals or persons.
6. Allahabad Public Library, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
- Allahabad Public Library is located at Chandrashekhar Azad Park in Prayagraj, Allahabad.
- It was constructed in 1864 and is the biggest library in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
- It has a total of 125,000 books, 28 newspapers in different Indian languages, 40 different types of magazines, and 21 manuscripts written in Arabic.
- It has also different study materials in languages like English, Hindi, French, Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, Bengali, etc.
- The library consists of other Parliamentary papers, journals, government publications, etc.
7. Smt. Hansa Mehta Library, Baroda, Gujarat
- Hansa Mehta Library in Baroda, Gujarat is a university library of M S University of Baroda.
- The library was established on May 1, 1950, and its foundation stone was laid out by the then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
- It is dedicated to Smt. Hansa Mehta who was the first Vice-Chancellor of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and an Indian freedom fighter of her time.
- The square feet area of the library is 80,025.
- It is the largest reading room of 10,600 sq. ft. that has space for around 1,100 readers.
- The books present in this library of Baroda are as old as the sixteenth century.
- The total books of Smt. Hansa Mehta Library equals 25,000. It consists of some rare notable titles that are out of print today.
8. Connemara Public Library, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Connemara Public Library, Chennai is a National Depository Library that receives a copy of popular print media published in India.
- It is also a depository library serving the United Nations.
- It is located at Egmore, Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu.
- Its foundation was laid on March 22, 1890, by the Governor of Madras, Lord Connemara from which the library derived its name.
- The library was opened in 1896 and now it is one of Asia’s largest libraries.
- In the 1970s, the additions made to the library included a Braille section, a periodicals hall, a reference room, a video room, etc.
9. State Central Library, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
- State Central Library came into being in 1829 A.D. It is the first established library in India.
- The affairs of the library were overlooked by Col. Cadogan who was the grandson of the founder of the British Museum, Sir Hans Sloane.
- The State Central Library in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala was also referred to as the “Trivandrum People’s Library”.
- It was declared the State Central Library of Kerala in 1958.
- It consists of 3,67,243 documents in multiple languages.
- The library has a subscription to 27 dailies and 215 journals, including international ones.
- Similar to Krishnadas Shama Central Library in Goa, it also has RFID technology.
10. Serfoji’s Sarasvati Mahal Library, Tamil Nadu
- Sarasvati Mahal Library in Tamil Nadu was established in the 16th century.
- It started as a royal library to the Nayak kings of Thanjavur and is located close to the Thanjavur palace.
- It consists of some of the rare and ancient palm leaf manuscripts in different languages.
- In 1998, computers were installed to digitize library activities.
- It is one of the oldest and most unique Asian libraries.
- It houses more than 35,000 manuscripts in Indian languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telegu.
- The manuscripts are preserved in the form of microfilms.
The next time you think of reading books online, try going out and experiencing the true pleasure of reading by visiting a library. A library has a lot to offer more than information. It imbibes you with an authentic experience of reading. You can also visit the aforementioned largest libraries in India and immerse yourself in the history of the building, the manuscripts, the journals and every print media you can come across. You are bound to have an exquisite feeling fondling books of such old times and in such old libraries.
Do you love libraries? What do you love most about them? Have you visited any of these largest libraries in India? What were your experiences? Share with us in the comment section below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which is the largest library in India?
The largest library in India is the National Library of India located in Alipore, Kolkata. It has around 2.2 million books, 86,000 maps, and more than,3,200 manuscripts.
Which is the 2nd largest library in India?
The 2nd largest library in India is the Delhi Public Library in the Union Territory of Delhi. It is the busiest library in Southern Asia.
Which state has the largest library in India?
The Belvedere Estate in Alipore, Kolkata has the largest library in India.
Which is the 1st library in India?
The State Central Library of Kerala is the first and oldest library in India.
Who is the father of the library in India?
S.R. Ranganathan is the father of the library in India. He was the first Indian to be appointed as a librarian at the University of Madras.
Who started the first library?
The earliest or the first library consisting of 30,000 cuneiform tablets was started by the Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal.
What are the 4 types of libraries?
The four types of libraries in the world are-
School library: It is for children and grown-ups in schools.
Academic library: This library is for college and university students.
Public library: It is for the general public residing in towns and cities.
Special library: Special libraries are present in a specific environment like hospitals, museums, businesses, government, etc.