19 Must-Visit Libraries In India For A Lifetime Experience

The ultimate bookworm destination!

Genia Giri

May 25, 2021|7 min read


Finally, a perfect article for all the bookworms is right here. In a world full of kindle and e-books, libraries are an oasis in a desert. 

Technology may have altered everything, but couldn’t replace the love that we have for libraries. The drastic change in the education system, like online classes, e-books, kindle, and a lot has made everything fast and reliable. But there’s nothing like a library. 

The bookshelves, ambiance, the sense of peacefulness- a library is not only about books, but a sort of therapy. One can sit there for hours and feel relaxed, without even getting bored. It’s the place where all chaos disappears, all chapters and formulas get solved, our brain screams - “I wanna study more!” Bookworms will always love paperback books over anything. 

The same goes with a library, smell of old/new books, the calm personal space will always be the first preference. There are so many libraries in India that are of great historical importance and deserve special mention. Visit and sink deep into the world of books.

Must-Visit Libraries In India

1. Kolkata–The National Library of India:

The legend of all libraries, Kolkata National Library is the biggest library in India. Besides having an enormous volume of books of around 2.2 million books, Kolkata National Library has a rare collection of manuscripts and other notable documentaries. 

It also has vast international e-sources like Oxford and Cambridge available to all people. One of the prestigious libraries in India that is worth visiting for its varied resources.

2. Delhi–Delhi Public Library : 

Over one million books in different languages, even with languages like English like Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit, are available here. One of the largest libraries in India with specialized categories of the book of early Indian literature and law. 

You need to provide proof of Delhi residency to access full membership in this library.

3. Nehru Memorial Museum and Library:

True to its name, this library has some of the most significant resources on Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, and the independence movement, and related documents like photos, newspapers, and books. Its rare resources on social sciences, Ph.D. thesis, reports, and journals have made this one of the popular libraries in Delhi and India. 

The historical interiors like timber panel, dusty shelves, Nehru Memorial Museum will give you the typical 90s old-school vibe, worth visiting for sure.

4. Parliament Library of India:

Do you love Indian politics and national affairs? Then this library is for you. Designed by famous Indian architect Raj Rewal, this library is notable for its well-constructed interiors. It contains Acts and Bills, gazette, and debate sections from both government-central and the state. 

Original acts, rules, reports, and journals centering on Lok Sabha and Raj Sabha are also available. You will also get books of diverse Indian regional languages, including all other official languages of India.

5. Sahitya Kala Akademi Library:

“Sahitya” means literature. One of the prominent libraries of India remarkable for its historical connection. Connected to the Indian literary movement, this library is noted for its rich collection of women’s studies and cultural histories, and some rare literary pieces. 

The highlighted part is the availability of different texts available in twenty-four Indian languages. 

6. The Akshara Library:

Just not a library, Akshara represents itself as one of the eminent social justice activist organizations of India, working for women's empowerment. With time, this literary program has gained its popularity and has some literary programs spreading all over India. 

You can visit this library to work on your communication, as it focuses on community development too. The best part is that it’s completely free.

7.Khuda Baksh Oriental Library (Patna, Bihar):

Claimed to be ‘The Pride of Patna’, the Khuda Baksh library of Bihar is famous for its collection of Mughal miniatures, documents, and military history. 

8. Maulana Azad Library (Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh):

The Aligarh Muslim University has an official library named Maulana Azad Library, which is also the second biggest library in Asia. 

Apart from a grand collection of various books, this library has some distinct resources on the independence movement, South Asian religious history, theology, and other documentaries of the Mughal period. The broad and exceptional collection of Antiquarian texts makes this library more special.

9. Saraswati Mahal (Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu):  

One of the ancient libraries of India as well as Asia was founded in the sixteenth century. At Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, Saraswati Mahal has one kind of art piece in its store. 

You can get to see one of the world’s best-preserved sets of palm-leaf manuscripts, dating back to the days of old medieval history. Besides Sanskrit texts, there is a vast collection of books and resources in classical South Indian languages as well.

10. Anna Centenary Library(Chennai- Tamil Nadu):

At Kotturpuram, Anna Centenary Library has been named after the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, C. N. Annadurai, and has been established by the Government of Tamil Nadu. It has over 1.2 million books including books from leading publishers throughout the world. 

You can even get eight-year-old editions of journals in the racks. A particular hall named ‘own book reading section’ has gained popularity for its book collection for cracking civil service exams.

11. Krishnadas Shama Central Library (Goa):

Claimed to be the ‘oldest public library in India’, has a rare collection of books dating back to the 16th century, even the first printed book of India. 

Apart from books, Krishnadas Shama Central Library has Indo-Portuguese literature, early published newspapers of Goa, and a good well-designed digital library for the public. Enter this library with your bare feet. 

The special fact about this library is the vast collection of Konkani books, Konkani is the local language of Goa.

12. Allahabad Public Library (Allahabad - Uttar Pradesh):

One of the historical libraries of India has a rare collection of Arabic manuscripts along with papers of Parliament, blue books of the 19th century. Also called the ‘Thornhill Mayne Memorial library’ has a collection of over 1.25 lakh books on various subjects and in different languages.

13. Smt. Hansa Mehta Library(Baroda- Gujarat):

The official library of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda is known as the Smt. Hansa Mehta library. Over 25,000 books belonging to the two-state Libraries (Huzur Political Office and Secretariat Library) were handed over to this University Library. 

You can get access to free wi-fi in this fully air-conditioned library.No wonder why this library has owned so many awards.

14. Connemara Public Library (Chennai- Tamil Nadu):

Lord Connemara founded this library and was named after him.  The central government has awarded this library with the designation ‘The National Depositary library’. Over 600,000 publications and books, century-old archives, rare literary pieces embrace the shelves of this library. 

The interior decors are worth exploring. You can read these books for free, and the annual membership of this library comes with a price of only Rs.50 per individual.

15. State Central Library(Thiruvananthapuram-Kerala):

The 188-year-old heritage building of ‘Trivandrum Public Library’ is situated at the center of the state. Spread over 20 sections, this library provides a set of diverse sections like technical section, Malayalam section, multimedia section, digital section, and so on. 

The special section made for visually impaired people deserves special mention.

16. State Central Library- (Hyderabad):

One of the oldest libraries in India built around 1932 by prince Mir Osman Ali Khan with a collection of around 500,000 books published during the initial 19th century. The library has a rare collection of Palm-leaf manuscripts.

17. Prakrit Bharati Academy - Jaipur:

One of the public libraries in India deserves a salute for its mission. The library aims to publish books in Prakrit, Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian languages to a simplified English version for benefitting scholars and the general people. 

The publication and research activities of this library earn a good name. It serves as a literary and cultural hub too. It offers post-graduate courses too. The most notable work by this academy/library is research work. 'The Encyclopedia of Aprigraha'.

18. Sayaji Rao Gaekwad Library - Varanasi:

The official library of Banaras Hindu University is known as the Sayaji Rao Gaekwad Library. The library was built in 1917, in the pattern of the British Museum. It accompanies a designation- ‘Manuscript Conservation Centre’ with itself under the National Mission for Manuscripts. 

It has a collection of over 13 lakhs of books and the manuscript collection has a lot of ancient texts in its store.

19. Vishakapatnam Public Library:

It is a public library in the city of Vishakapatnam. It offers free library services, wi-fi, and a study room to the common mass. The reading environment and social space are full of bliss. You get over 12 lakhs of books to access.

That’s it. Make your list and start planning where you gonna visit first. Have a list of books that you want to read -that’s it, dream completed! We all are so busy in our lives, but for books, libraries, we are always free. The feeling, the enthusiasm are different, and you can never match it with your room. 

Do you seriously feel that library thing while you are reading a book in your room? 

Nah, never? Like a cinema hall, libraries come with a full package of happiness, read and feel free. 

Do like and share with your bookworm friends.

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