So many books yet so little time – this should be the guiding phrase of every library. Whether the library is owned by a state, college, or by a proprietor, it is a wonderful place because it has books. For any avid reader, libraries are like magnets that pull you towards enhanced knowledge. The more the magnets (books) there are in the collection, the more the attractive power. With that said, include these libraries on your to-visit checklist.
Library of Congress
Visitors per year – About 1.9 million
Imagine being in a building with over 167 million collections! Well, that can be a reality if you go to the Library of Congress. Established in 1800, it is not only the largest in the United States but also in the world. Thirty-nine million of the collections are books and printed materials, 14.8 million are photographs, and 5.5 million are maps. Also, there are 72 million manuscripts, 3.6 million recordings, and 8.1 million pieces of sheet music. Besides being the haven for research, the Library of Congress is also responsible for issuing copyrights.
Visitors per year – 1.48 million
Located in London, the library is the largest in Europe and comes second in the global rankings. British library boasts of an impressive collection of 150 million-plus items. It was launched in 1972 but didn’t become an independent entity until July 1973. Some of the most significant collections include handwritten Beatles lyrics and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook.
New York Public Library
Visitors per year – 17.3 million
It is the second-largest library in the States and the third in the world. It has a total collection of 55 million research materials and books. Unlike other libraries on the top-five list, this one is made up of several branches throughout New York City. A surprising fact is that it took 16 years to construct the building and used up about $9 million.
Library and Archives
Visitors per year – Unspecified
It was opened in 2004 in Ottawa, Canada. Library and Archives (LAC) is the largest research center in the country and the fourth largest in the world. The LAC combined the functions of the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. Today, it is the largest repository of both documents and heritage in Canada. The 54 million materials are available to the public. In 2017, the LAC received federal funding worth $14.9 million to revamp Canada’s cultures and indigenous languages.
Russian State Library
Visitors per year – 800,000
The Russian State University opened its doors to enthusiastic readers in 1862. It is the largest in the country and in Eastern Europe too. At the moment, there are 47 million items in its collection; 17 million of which are books, 13 million are journals, and 150,000 are maps. It also has thousands of musicals records. Interestingly, every Russian is required to get a library card when they turn 14 years. If you would like to read its digital catalog, worry not, because you can access all of it for free as long as you have an internet connection.