With over 160 million number of items cataloged, from books to manuscripts, “Google” the Library of Congress and one might find that it said to be the largest library in the world.
Yet, another impressive structure in England is now boasting a larger assortment of documents, magazines, journals, newspapers and more. The British Library in London is the largest library in the world with well over 170 million cataloged items on its premise, according to various reports.
With an infinite supply of reading material, the British Library is a must-see location for its vast catalog of items. Here are 20 quick facts about the world’s largest library.
- The library has over 260,000 journal titles, according to the Library's fact sheet.
- It receives every publication created in both Ireland and in the U.K.
- The building itself is made up of 180,000 tons of concrete and 10 million bricks.
- No stamp? No problem. The library is also home to around 8 million stamps.
- Made up of a total of 14 floors, the library has five floors below ground and nine above ground.
- If one ever wanted to actually see, say, five items in the library a day, it would take over 80,000 years to see the complete collection of cataloged items.
- The building was the largest public structure created in the U.K. during the 20th century.
- On display in the library (sometimes) is the Diamond Sutra, known to be the world’s earliest dated book that was printed.
- Among some of the library’s treasures are Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the Magna Carta, the very first edition of The Times (March 18, 1788) and original Beatles manuscripts.
- Some material within the library is well over 3,000 years old.
- The library sees over 1.75 million visitors a year.
- Enjoy maps and topography? The library also has over four million maps.
- On-site, the library has enough space for 1,200 readers.
- The library’s holdings also include 310,000 manuscript volumes, from James Joyce to Jane Austin.
- The library was erected in 1973.
- For its online catalog, which is also impressively extensive, six million searches are generated by the library’s online catalog.
- The library reports that almost 400,000 visits are paid to one of its reading rooms each year.
- Its online website features an assortment of resources and databases for scientists, entrepreneurs and authors, among others.
- Visitors can also attend special events and exhibitions on the library’s grounds.
- Original fine art prints from the archives are for sale.