The Nation's Largest Libraries: A Listing By Volumes Held
ALA Library Fact Sheet 22
This fact sheet lists the top 100 largest libraries in the United States by volumes held.
For lists of the largest public libraries only, see ALA Library Fact Sheet 13 - The Nation's Largest Public Libraries: Top 25 Rankings, which lists the top 25 public libraries in the United States by population served, by library collection, by circulation, and by library visits.
See below for definitions of "volume" for both public libraries and academic (college and university) libraries.
|Number||Source||Library Name||Volumes Held|
|1||L||Library of Congress||34,528,818|
|2||P+A||Boston Public Library (Branches + Research Collections)||19,090,261|
|4||P+A||New York Public Library (Branches + Research Collections)||16,342,365|
|5||A||University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||13,158,748|
|7||A||University of California - Berkeley||11,545,418|
|9||A||University of Michigan||10,778,736|
|10||A||University of Texas - Austin||9,990,941|
|11||A||University of Chicago||9,837,021|
|12||A||University of California - Los Angeles||9,151,964|
|13||P||Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County||8,819,759|
|16||A||University of Wisconsin - Madison||8,421,198|
|19||A||University of Washington||7,203,156|
|20||A||University of Minnesota||7,111,311|
|21||P||Detroit Public Library||7,070,433|
|22||A||University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill||7,012,787|
|23||P||County of Los Angeles Public Library||6,795,552|
|24||P||Queens Borough Public Library||6,544,609|
|25||P||Los Angeles Public Library||6,459,552|
|26||A||University of Pennsylvania||6,438,305|
|28||A||Ohio State University||6,161,657|
|29||A||University of Pittsburgh||6,148,036|
|30||A||University of Arizona||5,998,148|
|31||P||Chicago Public Library||5,790,289|
|32||A||University of Oklahoma||5,662,666|
|33||A||Michigan State University||5,609,761|
|34||A||University of Virginia||5,607,915|
|35||P||San Diego Public Library||5,535,415|
|36||A||University of Iowa||5,490,825|
|37||A||Pennsylvania State University||5,441,121|
|38||A||New York University||5,382,424|
|40||P||Free Library Of Philadelphia||5,043,943|
|41||P||Dallas Public Library||4,972,494|
|42||P||Hennepin County Library||4,961,514|
|43||A||University of Georgia||4,810,192|
|45||A||University of Colorado||4,681,261|
|46||A||Texas A&M University||4,577,498|
|47||A||Arizona State University||4,497,114|
|48||A||University of Florida||4,414,450|
|49||A||University of Cincinnati||4,379,445|
|50||A||North Carolina State University||4,332,899|
|51||A||Washington University - St. Louis||4,323,958|
|52||A||University of Kansas||4,318,644|
|53||A||Brigham Young University||4,292,056|
|54||P||Cleveland Public Library||4,273,202|
|55||P||Brooklyn Public Library||4,233,304|
|57||A||University of Southern California||4,180,515|
|58||A||University of California - Davis||4,175,047|
|60||A||Louisiana State University||4,128,626|
|61||A||University of Connecticut||4,096,396|
|62||P||King County Library System||4,044,907|
|63||A||State University of New York - Buffalo||4,029,865|
|65||A||University of South Carolina||3,963,958|
|66||A||University of Maryland||3,930,013|
|67||A||University of Kentucky||3,915,579|
|68||A||University of California - San Diego||3,830,802|
|69||A||University of Rochester||3,826,916|
|70||P||Hawaii State Public Library System||3,776,405|
|71||A||Johns Hopkins University||3,701,215|
|72||A||University of Massachusetts - Amherst||3,697,796|
|73||P||Miami-Dade Public Library System||3,674,651|
|74||A||University of Notre Dame||3,673,092|
|75||A||Wayne State University||3,655,805|
|77||A||University of Hawaii||3,602,058|
|78||A||University of Missouri - Columbia||3,561,607|
|79||A||University of Alabama||3,533,794|
|81||A||University of Nebraska - Lincoln||3,500,601|
|82||P||Broward County Libraries Division||3,477,312|
|84||A||Oklahoma State University||3,468,428|
|86||A||University of Utah||3,441,965|
|87||A||University of New Mexico||3,430,200|
|88||P||Mid-Continent Public Library||3,419,516|
|89||P||Allen County Public Library||3,412,830|
|90||P||Saint Louis Public Library||3,352,775|
|91||A||University of Miami||3,348,622|
|92||A||University of Tennessee - Knoxville||3,330,181|
|94||P||Cuyahoga County Public Library||3,252,456|
|95||A||University of California - Irvine||3,223,679|
|96||P||Buffalo & Erie County Public Library||3,211,709|
|97||A||Southern Illinois University - Carbondale||3,203,455|
|98||A||MIT/Massachusetts Institute of Technology||3,119,157|
|99||A||University of California - Riverside||3,066,630|
|100||P||Houston Public Library||3,061,773|
L=Library of Congress - Annual Report, FY 2011 - Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress: For the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2011. Member of Association of Research Libraries (ARL http://www.arl.org).
A= ARL Statistics 2009-10. Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
P= PLAmetrics (FY 2011). Public Library Association (PLA, a division of the American Library Association).
P+A= PLAmetrics (FY 2011) plus ARL Statistics 2009-10: Both the Boston Public Library and the New York Public Library appear on both reports, reporting their public library collection number in the former and their research library collection number in the latter. For accuracy in counting these institution's true holdings, these collection numbers have been added together.
S= Stanford Facts: Libraries & Computing. Former member of ARL.
Users should be aware that public library and academic library collections are dissimilar.
The ARL academic library study takes its definition of volume from the National Information Standards Organization (NISO): A single physical unit of any printed, typewritten, handwritten, mimeographed, or processed work, distinguished from other units by a separate binding, encasement, portfolio, or other clear distinction, which has been cataloged, classified, and made ready for use, and which is typically the unit used to charge circulation transactions. Either a serial volume is bound, or it comprises the serial issues that would be bound together if the library bound all serials. ARL has been modifying the interpretation of the standard definitions to address questions posed by library staff at various member institutions that complete the survey and with feedback from the ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee (PDF; page 98). Include duplicates and bound volumes of periodicals. For purposes of this questionnaire, unclassified bound serials arranged in alphabetical order are considered classified. Exclude microforms, maps, nonprint materials, and uncataloged items. Include government document volumes that are accessible through the library’s catalogs regardless of whether they are separately shelved. Include e-book units, as long as these e-books are owned or leased and have been cataloged by your library. Include electronic books purchased through vendors such as NetLibrary® or Books 24x7, and e-books that come as part of aggregate services. Include individual titles of e-book sets that are treated as individual reference sources. Include locally digitized electronic books and electronic theses and dissertations. Include volumes purchased collectively where the cost is shared at the time of purchase.
The PLAmetrics public library report defines "holdings" on its worksheet (PDF): For the purpose of this data service, holdings will be defined as the number of cataloged items (number of items, not number of titles). Include print materials (including periodicals), electronic books, audio materials, and video materials acquired as part of the collection and cataloged, whether purchased, leased, licensed, or donated as gifts.
Last updated: October 2012
For more information on this or other fact sheets, including copies of previous versions, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.