The United States boasts a great number of big libraries that house precious collections of rare and exclusive books. The American Library Association has compiled a list of the 100 largest libraries in the country by volumes held. The list was last updated in the fall of 2012, but most of the latest data is based on the report prepared by the Association of Research Libraries in 2009–2010 and the 2011 Statistical Report by the Public Library Data Service.
Sometimes it is rather difficult to compare the size of library collections because public and academic libraries use different definition of holdings or volumes. While the Association of Research Libraries relies on the definition of volume by National Information Standards Organization, the Public Library Data Service Statistical Report, a division of the American Library Association, gives definition of holdings as cataloged items in addition to paperbacks and videocassettes. Here is the list of the top ten libraries in the country.
Thebookhouse - Library of Congress in Washington
Thebookhouse Library of Congress in Washington Hall
The largest public library in the U.S. is the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., which is also considered the country's national library. Home to about 35 million volumes, it is the official research library of the United States Congress. The oldest federal cultural institution in the country, the library occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as well as the Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia, where the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center is located. In fact, the library is considered the largest in the world by the size of its collection, the British Library being the second largest. The library's collections are not limited by subject or national boundary, and contain books from all countries of the world published in over 450 languages. The library continues to enlarge its huge collection and two-thirds of the newly acquired books are in foreign languages.
Thebookhouse - Boston Public Library Frontage
Thebookhouse - Hall of Boston Public Library
The second-largest public library in the U. S. after the Library of Congress, the Boston Public Library is a municipal public, founded in 1848. It houses nearly 23 million items, including books, maps, visual materials, DVDs and music scores. In 2014, the library run more than 10,000 free programs to the public, and lent 3.7 million books and other materials. Containing research collections of great importance, the Boston Public Library joined the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), with the New York Public Library being the only other public library member of the ARL, a not-for-profit organization that comprises the research libraries of North America.
Thebookhouse - Library Frontage of Harvard University
Thebookhouse - Hall of Harvard University Library
Thebookhouse New York Public Library
Thebookhouse New York Public Library Research Room
The fourth largest in the world, the New York Public Library (NYPL) was founded in 1895 and houses approximately 16 million volumes. It is a nonprofit corporation, independently managed and relying on both private and public financing. The library system features branches in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island, in addition to affiliations with academic and professional libraries in New York State. The Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Library serve Brooklyn and Queens respectively. The branch libraries that include both research and circulating libraries are open to the general public.
Thebookhouse Library Urbana Illinois
Thebookhouse Hall of Library Urbana Illinois
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign boasts the second-largest university library in the country after Harvard University. This public university is well- known for its extensive research activity. Founded in 1867, it is the second oldest public university in the state, and a member of the Association of American Universities. Its campus library system is known throughout the world as one of the largest, with more than 20 department libraries and divisions. Its public academic collections number over 24 million items, with more than 12 million print volumes. In 2012, it had as many as 5 million books directly accessible in stacks in a single location. The University of Illinois is also home to Grainger Engineering Library which is the largest public engineering library in the USA.
Thebookhouse Grainger Engineering Library
Thebookhouse Grainger Engineering Library Hall
Thebookhouse Yale University in New Haven Connecticut
Thebookhouse Yale University in New Haven Books Hall
Facade University of Michigan Library
Reading Room University of Michigan Library