Add The World's Biggest Libraries To Your Vacation Bucket List

by Julia Seales
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Whether a library has ten books or ten million, it’s already a wonderful place because there are books there. Of course, for avid readers, libraries with sprawling collections are alluring — after all, if you read constantly, you need enough books to keep you occupied. There are several libraries around the world that would have enough items to keep you reading for a lifetime and beyond.

So many books, so little time — this should be the motto of the largest libraries around the world. They’re constantly acquiring new materials, but many of them also specialize in antiquated collections, so you can admire books of the past and also appreciate the greatest authors of all time. Also, not only do the largest libraries have impressive collections, they’ve also got beautiful architecture and reading rooms. These books are housed in style. If you get the chance to visit some of the world’s largest libraries, you’ll feel like Belle in Beauty and the Beast – you’ve never seen so many books in all your life. No matter where you are in the world, you’re probably close to a massive library, so add the following largest libraries in the world to your to-visit checklist.

Library Of Congress

Number of items: 162 million+

Located in Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress is the national library of the United States and the largest library in the world. Established in 1800, it contains materials in over 450 languages. Some of those materials include one of the smallest books in the world (you have to turn the pages with a needle), Stradivarius violins, and digitally archived Tweets.

British Library

Number of items: 150 million+

The national library of the United Kingdom, located in London, is the second largest library in the world. Their impressive collection includes handwritten Beatles lyrics and an original draft of Chapter 10 and 11 from Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Library And Archives Canada

Number of items: 54 million

Canada's national library, located in Ottawa, acquires and preserves Canada's documentary heritage. This doesn't just mean serious items: the LAC has, among its collection, plenty of antique photos such as one of a man wrestling a bear (a 19th century hobby that somehow fell out of fashion).

New York Public Library

Number of items: 53.1 million

The New York Public Library is in Manhattan and it's the fourth largest library in the world. It was also the place people used to go for inquiries pre-Google, such as, "why do 18th century English paintings have so many squirrels in them, and how did they tame them so they didn't bite the painter?"

Russian State Library

Number of items: 44.4 million

Located in Moscow, the Russian State Library was established in 1862, and even has a nickname: "Leninka."

National Diet Library

Number of items: 41.88 million

The National Diet Library in Tokyo was established in 1948 to assist public policy research.

Bibliothèque Nationale De France

Number of items: 40 million

Paris is the home of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, a national repository of everything published in France and home to the beautiful Oval Reading Room.

National Library Of Russia

Number of items: 36.5 million

Established in 1795, the National Library of Russia is in St Petersburg, and has been digitizing many titles — over 80,000 titles are available to view electronically.

Royal Danish Library

Number of items: 35.1 million

Denmark is home to the Royal Danish Library, founded in 1648. It houses many ancient manuscripts, notably The Gutenberg Bible and the manuscripts and letters of Hans Christian Andersen.

The National Library of China

Number of items: 35.1 million

The National Library of China in Beijing has many rare Chinese items such as ancient books, oracle bones and tortoise shells from the Shang dynasty, and Buddhist manuscripts from the sixth century.