National Library, Kolkata


The National Library is the largest library in India, situated at Kolkata. It serves as a prominent repository of all reading and information materials produced in India as well as abroad concerning India.

Lord Curzon established the Imperial library at Kolkata by merging Calcutta public Library and the Imperial Library in 1903. After Independence the Government of India changed the name of the Imperial Library to the National Library, with the enactment of the Imperial Library (Change of Name) Act, 1948.

Functions and Powers

Designated as an institution of national importance under the Ministry of Culture, the National Library is designated to collect, disseminate and preserve the printed material produced in the country. It is the recipient library under the Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public Libraries) Act, 1954 and the repository library in South Asia. The objectives of the museum are:

  • Acquisition and conservation of all significant national production of printed material, excluding ephemera.
  • Collection of printed material concerning the country, no matter where it is published, and as a corollary, the acquisition of photographic records of such material that is not available with in the country
  • Acquisition and conservation of foreign material required by the country.
  • Rendering of bibliographical and documents services of current and retrospective material, both general and specialised.
  • Acting as a referral centre purveying full and accurate knowledge.

It has a rich collection of Persian, Sanskrit, Arabic and Tamil manuscripts and also rare books.