National Library in Kolkata

The library houses more than two million books.

The library houses more than two million books. | Photo credit: Wikimedia commons/Biswarup Ganguly

National Library Overview

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India's largest library by volume - the National Library is a place worth visiting. Built in the campus of Belvedere, which is spread in 30 acres of land, this library has an extensive collection of over 2.2 million books.

The origin of the National Library dates back to the year 1836, when Calcutta Public Library, a non-governmental institution, was established. The purchase of Indian and foreign books, and transfer of 4,675 volumes from College of Fort William by Lord Metcalfe led to the increase of the library's book collection. In 1903, this library was amalgamated with The Imperial Library (found in 1891 by uniting several Secretariat libraries) by Lord Curzon, former Governor General of India, for the use of public. After independence, this library was renamed as 'National Library'.

A treasure trove of knowledge, National Library is surrounded by subtropical trees, flower plants and verdant lawns from all sides. The grand white structure of the building that flaunts an impressive façade, with tall pillars, arches and green doors, is an attraction in itself. The interiors boast of Corinthian pillars, Roman beams, alcoves and off-white ceiling. The main reading room of the library was earlier used as a banquet hall by the viceroys. The dining table used by viceroys, fireplaces and a London-made grandfather clock are well-preserved in the library.

  • Opening Closing Time 9 am to 08 pm (Monday – Friday)
    9:30 am to 6 pm (Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays)

  • Entrance Fee Membership is required for using the Reading Room and Lending Section of the library. <br /><br /> Re. 1 Per Exposure (Photocopying charges; Minimum charge Rs. 5) <br /><br /> Microfilming: <br /><br /> Rs. 4 Per Exposure (Microfilm Negative; Minimum charge Rs. 20) <br /> Rs. 20 Per Metre (Microfilm Positive; Minimum charge Rs. 100) <br /><br /> Microfilm Reader Printer Copy (A3 and A4 only): <br /><br /> Rs. 5 Per Copy from Microfilms <br /> Rs. 7 Per Copy from Microfilms Already Available at the National Library <br /><br /> Enlargement Prints (Bromide Copy) in Different Sizes: <br /><br /> Rs. 20 Per Print (600 sq cm or part thereof; Minimum charge Rs. 50)

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Belvedere, Kolkata, 700027, West Bengal