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Top 10 Largest Libraries in China

If you are a bookworm, a researcher or a scholar, you may must be interested in this article. Here is a list of the 10 biggest libraries in China.


  1. The National Library of China 中国国家图书馆

The National Library of China in Beijing is the largest library in China and Asia and the third largest national library in the world. It was originally founded in 1909 by the Qing government. It serves as the repository of the nation’s publications, a national bibliographic center, a national center for preservation and conservation of ancient books, as well as the national museum of ancient books.

It has a collection of over 31.1 million volumes of books and it’s total collection ranked the 7th among national libraries all over the world. Its Chinese collection ranks the first in the world, while foreign languages collection ranks the first in China. Also, it holds the largest collections of Chinese literature and historical documents.  Adhering to the principle of “Comprehensive collection of Chinese resources, selective collection of foreign language resources”, the NLC comprehensively collects all official publications in China. Besides, it pays great attention to collecting unofficial publications in China.

With the development of various new types of information media,The NLC has not only collected various microfilms and audio-visual products but also housed a large number of digital resources. It has established the biggest digital resources repository and service base in China. The total capacity of digital resources has exceeded 1000TB, and this number is increased by 100TB each year. The NLC carries out China Memory Project, which collects dictated, video historical data, visual historical data and other new types of literature on major modern events and important figures in China.

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major responsibility:

  • the collection and preservation of domestic and foreign publications;
  • national coordination of document preservation and conservation work;
  • provision of information and reference services to the central government, national authorities, social organizations, and the general public;
  • research in the theory of library sciences and development of librarianship, and guidance to other libraries in China;
  • the fulfillment of its function in international cultural exchanges through participation in the activities of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and other related international organizations, as well as the promotion of exchanges and cooperation with other libraries in China and abroad.


  1. Shanghai Library 上海图书馆

Founded in 1952, Shanghai Libraryhich houses the Shanghai Institute of Scientific and Technological Information (上海科学技术情报研究所) is the municipal library of Shanghai, China. It is the second largest library in China after the National Library in Beijing as we;ll as the second tallest library in the world. The building has a tower that looks like a giant lighthouse. Of its collection, the over 1.7 million volumes of ancient documents are the most valuable and representative, including 25,000 titles of rare ancient books in 178,000 volumes, many being the only copies extant in the world. The oldest document dates back nearly 1,500 years.


  1. Nanjing Library 南京图书馆

Established in 1907, Nanjing Library is the third largest library in China with over 7 million items as well as the oldest public library in China and used to serve as the national central library during the Republic of China. The library has 1.6 million ancient books and 10 thousands volumes of books, documents and manuscripts from Tang Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty.

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  1. The National Science Library 中国科学院国家科学图书馆

The National Science Library is the research library service system of CAS as well as the National Library of Sciences in Chinese National Science and Technology Libraries (NSTL) system.It is the key library nationally for collecting information resources and providing information services in natural sciences, inter-disciplinary fields, and high tech fields, for the researchers and students of CAS and for the researchers around the country. It has a collection about 11.5 million items.



  1. Peking University Library 北京大学图书馆

Founded in 1902, The Peking University Library, with more than 3 million volumes, one-fourth of them in foreign languages, was one of the earliest modern libraries in the Chinese nation. Approved by the State Council as the first batch of national key ancient books protection unit, has developed into a resource rich, modern, comprehensive, open research library. The library consists of a vast collection of books, numerous treasures, and rare items.



  1. Chongqing Library 重庆图书馆

Built in 1947, Chongqing Library is a comprehensive public library in China. It is also the main service center of document information exchange. It has a collection of over 3.8 million books.



  1. Shandong Provincial Library 山东省图书馆

Founded in 1909 (the first year of Xuantong Emperor, Qing Dynasty), Shandong Provincial Library is located at the bank of Daming Lake. Its building was constructed identically with the layout of “Tianyi Pavilion” in Ningbo City Zhejiang Province. Known as “the best scenery in Ningxia district”, the elegant and chic yard of the library is decorated with old trees, rockery, winding spring and arch bridge.

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  1. Sichuan Provincial Library 四川省图书馆

Established in 1912, Sichuan Provincial Library is one of China’s oldest public library. It holds more than 7.5 million volumes, including 650,000 ancient books, 220,000 documents in the Republic of China, and 150 TB of digital resources.


  1. Tianjin Library 天津市人民图书馆

Tianjin Library is located in the cultural district of Tianjin in China. Established in 1908, it was one of the oldest provincial public libraries in China and has a collection of 320 items.


  1. Zhongshan Library 广东省中山图书馆

Built in 1912, Zhongshan enjoys great popularity at home and abroad for its long history, book collection and excellent service. It is the only provincial public library named after Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. Till the end of 2002, the library has collected over 3,850,000, including 2600000 paper bounds 385,000 ancient books, 200,000 foreign books, 380000 periodicals and 130,000 newspapers.

The library has always given more attention to the collection and arrangement of the local documents. There are 2,600 kinds of the local magazines, 900 kinds of new and old family tree books, of which “Guangdong Magazine” by Huang Zuo in Ming Dynasty is the rare edition, besides, overseas Chinese, Hainan Island history information and Sunzhongshan document are also collected.

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