Last week, we spoke of four great libraries around the world. Here are a few more:
The National Diet
Library, Tokyo, Japan:
Its primary role is to collect and preserve Japanese publications. It has two main facilities in Tokyo and Kyoto, and other branch libraries across Japan. Its major sets include historical documents helping to trace the development of Japanese modern politics in and after the latter half of the 19th century; also the “Ito Bunko” and “The Shirai Bunko” — two collections of manuscripts and wood block-printed books on medicinal herbs, and the “The Shinjo Bunko” (collections of old writings on astronomy and calendars.)
British Library, London
It asks readers, visitors and researchers to explore its 14 million books, 9,20,000 journal and newspaper titles, 58 million patents and three million sound recordings. It says that if a visitor reads five items each day, it would take him over 80,000 years to see its entire collection. It gets a copy of every publication produced in the U.K. and Ireland.
The German National Library is the national bibliographic centre for the Federal Republic of Germany. Its “Anne-Frank-Shoah-Bibliothek” is its most recent special collection that records the literature published worldwide on the persecution and extermination of the Jews of Europe.
National Library, Canada
In 2004, the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada were clubbed together to form the Library and Archives Canada. Here are the facts about it: 20 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications, three million architectural drawings, maps and plans, 24 million photographs, 3,50,000 hours of film, 4,25,000 pieces of, 5,47,000 musical items and more than a billion megabytes of digital content.
National Library of China
The National Library of China is said to be largest library in Asia, and one of the largest in the world. Its collections are a treasure trove — inscribed tortoise shells and bones, ancient manuscripts, and block-printed volumes, rare documents and records from past dynasties in Chinese history and foreign language material in over 115 languages.
Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
It can be called the Emperor of Libraries, “the largest library in the world.” The Library of Congress was established by an Act of Congress in 1800 with the seat of power moving from Philadelphia to Washington. In 1814, invading British troops set fire to the Capitol Building, burning the contents of the small library. But President Thomas Jefferson stepped in, offering his personal library as a replacement. It was an irresistible offer, as he had spent years accumulating books and his collection was said to be “one of the finest in the U.S.” Its annual ‘National Book Festival' brings together famous authors and storytellers.