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Libraries are buildings filled with towers and rows of – books, manuscripts and periodicals. With the availability online resources, one must think that the Libraries are doomed.  But they still exist, adopting to current trends and surprisingly, collecting more Information and Admirers. Here are some famous Libraries in India….

National Library of India, Kolkata

The National Library of India in Kolkata was established 1836 as Calcutta Public Library.  But it was open to general public only in 1953.  It was set up as merger of Public library, Imperial Library and many other government libraries.

Spread across 30 acres in Belvedere Estate, it comes under the Ministry of culture, Government of India.   Inside you will find 2,270,000 books, periodicals, 3200 manuscripts, 86000 maps, Public records and more.

Check out Books titles and periodicals in Hindi, Punjab, Telugu, Urdu, Sindhi and various Indian languages in this famous Library in Kolkata.

All this has been set up in 45 kilometers of shelf space.

Delhi Public library

Delhi Public Library was initiated as UNESCO PROJECT. It was established in the year 1951.  This Library has the biggest collection of books in Indian languages – about 18 lakhs in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, English and other languages.

The other collections include Newspapers, Paintings, Digital media, Gramophone records, Braille books and periodicals.  It has more than 72000 members at present.  You can visit their website for more information at

Anna centenary library, Chennai

This library is named after a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, C.N. Anna Durai. It was setup in 2010 at a cost of Rs.172 crores.

It has an area of 3.75 lakh sqft with 9 floors all having centralized AC.  Built to accommodate up to 1250 persons at a time, it has a place for 5 lakh books in its premises.  It also holds the LEED NC Gold rating from IGBC, a first in Asia.

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Some other distinct features of the Library are:

  • A  Braille section for blind readers
  • An amphitheater and conference rooms
  • Children’s section with multimedia kits and theme based reading area
  • Integrated Library System that allows automatic issue and return of books, access controls Radio Frequency Identification, user smart cards and self-check counters.
  • Parking section for 420 cars and 1000+ two wheelers
  • Separate power substation
  • CCTV cameras at 493 locations
  • Food court with a seating capacity of 180

Goa State Central Library

Also called Krishnadas Shama Central Library,   it is one of the important libraries in Panjim, Goa. According to its website it is the oldest Library in India, initiated as it was in the year 1832.

It became a national Library in Feb 1897. 

At present it has more than 1.8 lakh books, journals, periodicals newspapers in Marathi, Portuguese, Konkani, English and various languages. This number includes 40000 pre-1961 books.

  • Allahabad Public library, UP
This distinctly looking library was established in 1864 at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.  It is one among the oldest Libraries in India. Its architecture was designed by Richard Roskell Bayne.

It has around 125000 books that include numerous Arabic manuscripts.  Do not miss the huge collection of old parliamentary papers, old Government publications and books of 19th Century here.

State Central Library, Thiruvananthapuram

The State Central Library in Thiruvananthapuram was established in 1829 during the rule of King Swati Thirunal of Travancore.

About 3,67,243 documents in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit and Tamil are available in its premises. The subscriptions include to 27 dailies and 215 journals of both Indian and foreign nature.  Some of the sections in the Library are

  • Circulation Section holding books and periodicals
  • English Section
  • Technical Section
  • Hindi/Sanskrit Section
  • Children’s Section
  • Malayalam Section
  • Reference Section
  • Internet Browsing section
  • Multimedia Section
  • British Library section and
  •  Digital section
See Also -   Goa - A tourist paradise

Smt Hansa Mehta Library Baroda, Gujarat

This Library was established in May 1950.  It is an attached to the MS University of Baroda. It has a large reading room with seats for 1100 members spread in an area of 10,500 sqft.  Some of the books here date to 16th century. 

The foundation stone for this library was laid by Dr.Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India on 16th November, 1954.

Connemara Public library, Chennai

Another famous library in Chennai is the Connemara Public Library that was established in 1896.  It is one of four National Depository libraries, which means it receives one copy of all books, newspapers, periodicals published in the country. It is a depository library for UN as well.

State Central Library, Hyderabad

This library in Hyderabad has about 5,01,861 books, which includes some 17000 rare books and manuscripts from the 5th and 6th centuries.

Saraswathi Mahal Library Tamil Nadu

This Library, also called Tanjore Maharaja Serfoji’s Sarasvati Mahal Library, is housed in Thanjavur palace, as the royal library of Nayak kings.

Check out some rare palm leaf manuscripts of regional languages that were collected by the library in 1918. Completely computerized now, all manuscripts are available in form of micro films at present.

Other notable Libraries in India are Asiatic Society of Mumbai Library with a huge collection of 20,000 rare books, Nehru memorial Museum and Library located in a  building which served as residence of first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru at one point of time and became a library in 1930 and  Raza Library with 17000 manuscripts, 5000 miniature paintings and 205 written palm leaf documents.  This library has books in Sanskrit, Urdu Pashto, Hindi. The Pashto language books include original translations of the holy Quran

Few Must Visit Libraries In India

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