When it comes to keeping and sharing information, libraries are indispensable. They are a wealth of knowledge from which you can glean information on any topic imaginable, from chess and about ancient India to financial markets and finance.
Since the invention of smartphones and e-readers like the Kindle, it has felt like the days of reading actual paperback books are behind us. If you were to ask a bookworm about their ideal day, most would still answer they’d spend it curled up in a quiet corner of a big library.
Despite technological advancements, nothing beats the allure of curling up with a paperback book and the allure of spending time in a quiet library.
Fortunately, India is home to some of the world’s oldest and largest libraries and archives of historical documents, including books and manuscripts.
Let’s know about top 10 biggest libraries of India in detail:
1. The National Library of India of Kolkata
Located in Kolkata, this National Library of India is both India’s and the world’s seventh-largest library. Over two million books, including ancient and rare manuscripts, can be found in the library, which first opened its doors in 1836.
The library houses some of the world’s oldest and rarest books, in addition to literature written in a wide range of Indian languages and other languages.
It includes the personal library of famous Rabindranath Tagore, who was one of India’s most known writers, is among the large collection of books and manuscripts that were donated to the library. The library also features a large reading area that is accessible to the general public.
2. The Delhi Public Library
In 1951, the foundation of Delhi Public Library was laid. More than 2 million books, journals, and newspapers are available throughout the system’s 35 locations throughout Delhi. Students, academics, and members of the general public all love using the library system.
This library offers numerous services to its patrons, such as reference assistance, interlibrary lending, and copying. There is also a hardworking staff that sees to it that the books collection is always updated and suitable for its users.
The library system is well-known for its extensive collection of Hindi books, which makes it a useful resource for scholars of Indian culture and literature.
3. State Central Library of Hyderabad
Hyderabad is home to the State Central Library, one of the biggest public libraries in Telangana. In 1891, this Hyderabad Residency Library opened under its original name.
Over 5 lakh books, particularly rare manuscripts, periodicals, and newspapers, are housed at the library, making it among the most important information resources in the state.
In addition to lending books and providing reference assistance, the library also offers photocopying services and the ability to print documents. The library also provides access to electronic materials including books and periodicals through its digital collection.
4. Anna Centernary Library of Chennai
When it comes to public libraries in South India, none compare to Chennai’s Anna Centenary Library. C. N. Annadurai, the ex chief minister of the state called Tamil Nadu, has a public library opened in his honor. There are more than 1.2 million books in the library’s collection, some of which are long out of print.
The digital library section allows access to e-journals, e-books, and other electronic resources, and the library’s computerized catalogue and automated book issuing system are also cutting-edge features. The library is equipped with a Braille section for those with visual impairments and a children’s area for younger patrons.
The library hosts a variety of events and programs all year long, such as book sales, meetings with authors, and talks on various literary topics. The reading room of the library is a quiet and relaxing space for visitors to engage in reading and study.
5. Krishnadas Sharma Central Library in Goa
The capital of the Indian state of Goa, Panaji, is home to this Library. The library first opened its doors in 1832, and since then it has expanded to be one of Goa’s largest and most well-stocked libraries.
Krishnadas Shama, a historian and writer from Goa, is honored with a library named in his honor; it is a treasure trove of resources on Goa heritage and history.
Books, magazines, and newspapers in English, Portuguese, Konkani, Marathi, Sanskrit, and Hindi are only some of the many languages represented in the library’s extensive collection.
Important historical and cultural artifacts can be found in the library’s extensive collection of rare books, maps, and manuscripts. In addition, there is a reading room where patrons can relax with a book, newspaper, or magazine.
Goa’s government oversees and welcomes visitors to this Library. Members of the library can check out books and other items in exchange for a membership fee.
Reading and writing are encouraged through the library’s many activities and programs, such as book clubs, story times, and author talks.
6. Allahabad Public library
Located in the town of Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is the ancient Allahabad Public Library. The library was founded in 1864 and is now considered to be one of the most important public libraries of India.
The library was founded to serve the requirements of British officers posted in the city, however it was later expanded to serve the general public.
Uttar Pradesh government is in charge of the library, and anyone can use it. Members of the library can check out books and other items in exchange for a membership fee. The library also hosts a number of activities and programs that serve to promote literature and reading in the community, such as book clubs, guest talks, & literary festivals.
7. Hansa Mehta Library of Baroda
Located in the city of Baroda Smt. Hansa Mehta Library is an important resource for library patrons. Since its founding in 1950, this library has become among the most important in all of Gujarat. Miss Hansa Mehta, was a notable Indian freedom warrior and educator, who is honored with the naming of this library.
English, Gujarati, Hindi, & Sanskrit are some of the languages represented in the library’s extensive book, periodical, and newspaper holdings. The library also has numerous historical and culturally significant old books, writings, and maps. In addition, there is a reading area in the library where patrons can relax with a book, newspaper, or magazine.
8. State Central Library of Thiruvananthapuram
One of the largest and oldest libraries in India is this State Central Library, located in Thiruvananthapuram. The library first opened its doors in 1829 and now has a massive archive of printed materials, including books, magazines, newspapers, and manuscripts.
The library is divided into a children’s part and a reference section. The library features a huge reading area that can comfortably seat many people and offers complimentary internet access to its members.
9. Panaji State Central Library
In the heart of Panaji, Goa, stands the state library. It is a public library and one of the earliest and largest in the Indian state of Goa.
The library is located in a ancient building that serves as a point of interest in its own right. These libraries house extensive collections of literature in English, Marathi, Konkani, and Hindi.
There is a children’s section at the library with books, puzzles, games, and toys. There is a reading area in the library where patrons can relax and read in peace and quiet.
Visitors to the library can use the internet at no cost. Students, scholars, and bookworms alike can all benefit from the extensive holdings of this Panaji State Central Library.
10. The Connemara Public Library
One of India’s oldest and most notable libraries is the popular Connemara Public Library of Chennai. It was founded in 1896 and received its name in honor of Lord Connemara, Governor of Madras at the time. The library houses about 6 lakh books, many of which are rare and significant works on a wide range of topics.
Books on literature, science, history, &technology can be found in the library’s collection, which is organized by subject and is available in English, Tamil, and other Indian languages. The private library of honorable Sir Francis Spring was presented to the library in 1913, adding to the already extensive collection of rare books in the library.
Students, scholars, and others can enjoy reading and studying in peace in the library’s large reading room. Book borrowing, research assistance, and copying are only some of the other services offered by the library.
In conclusion, libraries are essential because they give individuals of all ages and walks of life equal access to information. In 2023, the aforementioned libraries are among the best in India, and their combined holdings of books, journals, and other materials are unparalleled.
These libraries not only house a wealth of information, but also serve as a catalyst for personal development and education.
So if you are a book lover and always eager to learn more through books, journals, magazines, etc, then these libraries are the one-stop solution for you.
Rahul Kumar is a passionate educator, writer, and subject matter expert in the field of education and professional development. As an author on CoursesXpert, Rahul Kumar’s articles cover a wide range of topics, from various courses, educational and career guidance.