National Library Of India

National Library Of India

The National Library of Indiaon the Belvedere Estate in Alipore, Kolkata, is the largest library in India by volume and India’s library of public record. It is under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. The library is designated to collect, disseminate and preserve printed material produced in India. The library is situated on the scenic 30-acre (12 ha) Belvedere Estate. It is the largest in India with a collection in excess of 2.2 million books. Before independence, it was the official residence of Lt. Governor of Bengal. That was a non-governmental institution and was run on a proprietary basis. People contributing ₹300 (US$4.50) in subscription became the proprietors. Prince Dwarkanath Tagore was the first proprietor of that Library. ₹ 300 at that time was a significant amount, so poor students and others were allowed free use of the library for some period of time. Access to the National Library main reading room (Bhasha Bhavan) is strictly controlled. The visitors need to have an approved Reader’s pass to reading hall. For that they need to fill in an application form (available on the National Library website) and get it attested by a Government Gazetted officer. The reader’s passes are issued only between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm, and between 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm, from Monday to Friday, excluding a string of National and State holiday.