National Library, Kolkata — India’s Largest Public Library


The National Library of India happens to be the first public library in Eastern India. Today National Library has carved a niche for itself and is providing quality library services that are comparable to the best in the world. Read this full article to get more details of this heritage building.

Information about National Library, Kolkata


The National Library in Kolkata is the largest library in India. It is an institution of National importance under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. Today National Library is the biggest public library which has a collection of 22,70,954 books and a huge collection of manuscripts, periodicals, and newspapers that cater to the demands of Kolkata intellectuals.

Location of National Library, Kolkata


The National Library of India is constructed on 30acres Belvedere Estate in Kolkata, near Alipore Zoo. The exact location is 1A Belvedere estate, Alipore, Kolkata.

How to reach National Library, Kolkata


One can avail local buses or taxi from any part of the city to reach there.

History of National Library, Kolkata


The origin of national library can be traced back to the year 1836 when the Calcutta Public Library was established. That was a non-governmental institution and was run on a proprietary basis. At that Lord Metcalf, the then Governor General, transferred 4675 volumes from the Library of the College of Fort William to the Calcutta Public Library. Then theImperial Library was formed in the year 1891 by combining a number of Secretarial libraries in Calcutta. In 1903 Lord Curzon, the then Governor General of India, conceived the idea of opening a library for the use of public. He amalgated Calcutta Public Library with the Imperial Library. The library was formally opened to the public in the year 1903 at Metcalf Hall. After the independence of India the Government of India changed the name to National Library. On 1st February 1953 the National Library of Kolkata was inaugurated by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and was opened to the pubic.


National Library, Kolkata Details


There are exclusive divisions of Indian and Foreign language books and publications.

In the Indian language division there is a rich collection of books, periodicals, and manuscripts of all major Indian languages like Gujrati, Marathi, Punjabi, Kanada, Tamil, and Telugu etc.

The Sanskrit Language division has rare Pali and Prakrit manuscripts.

The Foreign language division has been categorized into sections like German Division, East Asian Division, West Asia, African and Raman Division.

There is also a section namely Rare Books Section which comprises of books, monographs, and manuscripts that date back to the pre 1860 era.

Asa far as newspapers and periodicals are concerned, all major Indian newspapers are received by the National Library.

It also plays a pivotal role in preserving printed matters for tomorrow's generation. Apart from the old fashioned physical and chemical preservation, this library has embraced digitization and has already archived rare books and documents on CD's.


If you happen to be a research scholar, then a trip to the National Library in Kolkata will be a very rewarding experience. It has the facilities of very well organized reading rooms and other facilities, which have been attracting readers to the very wide range of literary materials, which is unavailable elsewhere.


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