Top 10 Biggest Libraries in the USA in 2024

In the diverse expanse of the United States of America (USA), other than historical buildings and the rich culture and landscape, it has the world’s largest libraries. The libraries of the US contain a rare ecosystem of books in both forms print and digital. They contain millions of research materials, historical manuscripts, and human creativity. From the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to the University of Minnesota Library housed millions of books and artifacts open for students, teachers, scholars as well US officials. In the following blog, we will cover the top 10 biggest libraries in the USA. 

List of Top 10 Largest Libraries In The United States

Here is the list of the 10 biggest libraries in the USA: 

1) Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is one of the largest libraries in the world and the largest public library in the United States.  It is the US’s national library with 34, 528,818 volumes. It was founded in 1800 and encompasses three buildings on Capitol Hill and the Packard campus in Virginia. There is an underground passageway that connects these buildings. These tunnels were built using cast irons and steel. It has more than 3000 employees and 173 million items. It contains research material in more than 470 languages. The library’s primary mission is to serve the United States Congress and the Houses, overseas and houses the United States Copyright Office. It serves the public as well as high-grade government officials. 

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2) Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library is the second-largest public library in the United States, situated in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1848 and is open to all. It is one of the US’s largest municipal public library systems which holds 24,079,520 volumes. It is also the Massachusetts Library for the Commonwealth which allows all the adult citizens of the state to borrow research materials and privileges. It contains 24 million items with 1.7 million rare manuscripts and books. Every year, the Boston Public Library conducts thousands of free public programs including the Lowell Lecture Series, Family History lectures, Author talks, Concerts in the courtyard, and history and art exhibitions. 

3) Harvard University Library

Harvard University Library is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is the network of the libraries and services of Harvard University. It is the third-largest library in the United States and the largest private and academic library in the world. There are more than 70 libraries combined to establish the system of Harvard Library. The volume of Harvard University’s library is 20.4 million, containing 400 manuscripts, one million maps, and 10 million photographs. It is the country’s oldest library, as it began in 1638 by John Harvard when he donated 400 books. Harvard Library is a member of the Columbia University Libraries, Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP), New York Public Library, and Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation. 

4) NewYork Public Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is the fourth-largest public library in the World. It was established in 1895. It is spread over 92 locations and contains 53 million items. The volume of the library is 16,342,365. It operates with both public and private financing and is a non-governmental, independent, private, and non-profit corporation. The New York Public Library has branches in Manhattan, Bronx, and Staten Island and is affiliated with professional and academic libraries in the New York metropolitan area. The library is the essential provider of books and is free to everyone who walks through the door. 

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5) The University Of Michigan Library

The University of Michigan Library is an academic library system and the fifth-largest library in the United States. It holds 16,025,996 volumes of books. Due to its affiliated libraries and the 38 constituent, it is the second-largest research library in the United States. It was established in 1838 and Lisa Carter is the director of the library. The library contains 17,000 individual fragments dated back from 1000 BC to 1000 AD and 7,000 items in inventory. It contains a Papyrology collection of the world’s ancient manuscripts and is one of the most prestigious collections in the library. 

 6) Yale University Library

The Yale University Library is the sixth-largest library in the United States, located in New Haven, Connecticut.  It originated in 1701 and holds 15.0 million electronic and print volumes.  It is the third-largest academic library in North America. There are more than 500 staff members. It contains a rare book collection housed in the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Lewis Walpole Library, the Beinecke Rare Book, the Cushing Medical Library, and the Manuscript Library. There are many departments in the library including Historical Medical, Music, Divinity, Lewis Walpole libraries, and Center for British Arts.  

7) Columbia University Library

The Columbia University Library is the library system of Columbia University, spread over 22 locations. It is the seventh-largest library in the United States and one of the largest in North America. It contains 15 million volumes of digital and print books and research material. There are 615 staff members in the library and it also employs students for part-time. The library is visited by 3.5 million visitors every year. It has 850 databases that hold 1, 014,000 e-books, 115,000 images, and 645,000 e-images. The library was begun in 1754 when more than 1000 volumes from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and the Law Library of Joseph Murphy were given to the school. In the current times, the library is more focused on becoming digital. 

8) University Of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign Library

The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus is the eighth-largest library in the United States. The library was established in 1867 and held over 14 million volumes. The library has significant achievements and has a legacy of containing materials documenting the life of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It has also been added to the list of the National Register of Historic Places. Since its establishment, the library has continued its objective of increasing knowledge, enhancing research, and fostering critical thinking. 

9) University Of California – Berkeley Library

The University of California – Berkeley Library is the ninth-largest library in the United States by its volume which is over 13.5 million. It is a system of 27 libraries ( 20 subject libraries and 7 affiliated libraries). Some of the libraries are the Bancroft Library, Moffitt Library, Doe Library, and East Asia Library. The library was established in 1868 and holds material in more than 400 languages. It is one of the highest-ranking public research libraries providing intellectual resources, research activities, and diverse teachings. 

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10) University of Texas

The University of Texas  Library is a public research library in Austin, Texas. It was established in 1884 and is spread to six locations. The volume of the University of Texas Library is 10 million. The library contains a diverse and rich ecosystem of books. The most well-known establishment of the library is The Alexander Architectural Archives as they entertain the research of national level. The library has 850 databases which are easy-to-use online databases. The library provides the latest web resources and digital journals. The University of Texas Libraries have been committed to research and have become one of the largest libraries in the US. 

Sr.NoBiggest Libraries (United States)Size
1)Library of Congress34.5 million
2)Boston Public Library24 million
3)Harvard University Library20.4 million
4)NewYork Public Library16.3 million
5)The University Of Michigan Library16.02 million
6)Yale University Library 15 million
7)Columbia University Library 15 million
8)University Of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Libraryover 14 million 
9)University Of California – Berkeley Library13.5 million
10)University of Texas10 million


In conclusion, the libraries in the United States are the epitome of knowledge, historical manuscripts, and culture. The innovative programs, vast collections, and assessability to the world of books have made the biggest libraries in the United States and the top libraries of the world. They all contain millions of books, and research materials in the form of print and e-books. They contain the life and legacy of the scholars and the presidents of the US. They contain materials in different languages and accommodate millions of students and visitors every year. This is also one of the reasons that US universities are the best in the world as the  US has the treasures of knowledge. 


What is the biggest library in the US? 

The Library of Congress is the largest public library in the US, situated in Washington, D.C.. It is also the national library of the United States. 

How many Libraries are there in the US? 

According to the American Library Association (ALA), there are 117,341 libraries in the United States of all kinds. 

Name the largest public libraries in the world. 

The largest public libraries in the world include the Library of Congress, Shanghai Library, the New York Public Library, and Library and Archives Canada. 

What is the oldest library in the US? 

The Sturgis Library in Cape Cod, Massachusetts was established in 1644. It is the oldest library building in the United States. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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