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National Library of India

The National Library on the Belvedere Estate in Alipore, Kolkata, is the largest library in India by volume, 14th in the list of largest libraries, 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. The National Library of India is the county’s largest library and the library of public record. The library "operates under the national government’s Department of Culture and is designated to collect, disseminate, and preserve all printed material produced in India, and all foreign works published about the country—where ‘every work about India…can be seen and read’" (Murray, 2009). The National Library is a result of the merging of the public library with the Imperial Library—several government libraries. The National Library (1953), then the Imperial Library housed several foreign (British) and Indian titles and was open to the public. Of further note, the National Library of India collects book, periodicals, and titles in "virtually all the Indian languages, with Hindi, Kashmiri, Punjab, Sindhi, Telugu, and Urdu" maintaining the largest stacks (Murray, 2009). The Special Collections in the National Library of India house at least fifteen languages including "Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati…and Tamil with many rare works (Murray, 2009). The Hindi department has books that date back all the way to the nineteenth century and the first ever books printed in that language. The collections break down and consist of 86,000 maps and 3,200 manuscripts. The National Library is located on Belvedere Road in Alipore, Calcutta. It is open between 9 am and 8 pm on all working days and between 9.30 am and 6.00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Government of India holidays.[2]It remains closed on three national holidays, 26 January *(Republic Day), 15 August (Independence Day) and 2 October (Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi). 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.

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