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China has the Most Public Libraries in the World

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World Map Showing Public Libraries by Country
The World Map Depicts the Number of Public Libraries in Each Nation

 

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Public libraries are an indispensable part of the society and can be found in almost every country in the world. As these institutions are open to all and comprise a rich collection of books and journals, they play a vital role in the advancement of knowledge. Apart from providing areas for students and professionals to study and work, public libraries also undertake valuable activities such as organizing book clubs which go a long way in increasing people’s interest in literature and providing educational programs.

Currently China has the largest number of public libraries in the world. According to an OCLC data updated in 2016, there are 51,311 public libraries in China. Coming at the second place is Russia with 46,000 public libraries while India stands third with 29,800 libraries spread across the entire country. Coming fourth is Ukraine with 18,323 public libraries.

Some nations where the number of public libraries range between 1,000 and 10,000 are the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Switzerland, the Philippines, Brazil, Iran, Thailand, South Africa, Australia, and many others. There were quite a lot of countries where the number was less than 1,000 but more than 100. Some of the nations that fell in this category were South Korea, Israel, Morocco, Belgium, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, etc.

The next category, i.e. 10 to 100 comprised nations like Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Egypt, Nigeria, Malta, Lithuania, to name a few. Meanwhile, nations standing at the bottom of the list and having less than 10 libraries were Uzbekistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Myanmar, Oman, Barbados, Zambia, and a few others.

The table below will provide information on the number of libraries in each nation.

Location Public Libraries
China 51,311
Russia 46,000
India 29,800
Ukraine 18,323
United States 9,042
Poland 8,290
Germany 8,195
Mexico 7,260
Italy 7,000
Vietnam 6,691
Brazil 6,545
Czech Republic 5,407
Belarus 5,000
Azerbaijan 4,382
Spain 4,164
Kazakhstan 4,004
Iran 3,950
France 3,410
Canada 3,311
Japan 3,126
Romania 2,943
Bulgaria 2,722
Georgia 2,251
Thailand 2,116
Sweden 2,090
Switzerland 2,000
Tajikistan 1,994
Slovakia 1,916
South Africa 1,800
Colombia 1,609
Argentina 1,545
Austria 1,473
Hungary 1,465
Australia 1,429
Malaysia 1,392
Moldova 1,381
Philippines 1,224
Sri Lanka 1,185
Turkey 1,156
Cambodia 1,100
Indonesia 1,062
Kyrgyzstan 1,038
Armenia 1,034
South Korea 930
Israel 870
Peru 820
Latvia 815
Nepal 800
Norway 744
Venezuela 728
Belgium 641
Morocco 600
Serbia 554
Chile 526
Greece 520
Iraq 489
Estonia 487
Cuba 407
Bolivia 400
Pakistan 400
Dominican Republic 398
Tunisia 371
Ireland 348
Croatia 319
Finland 308
New Zealand 296
Mongolia 281
Ghana 257
Taiwan 256
Syria 250
Ethiopia 249
El Salvador 228
Uruguay 215
United Kingdom 208
Portugal 194
Netherlands 177
Cyprus 142
Jordan 135
Honduras 116
Bosnia and Herzegovina 108
Panama 108
Denmark 97
Mali 97
Algeria 83
Côte d’Ivoire 83
Afghanistan 82
Botswana 82
Maldives 80
Saudi Arabia 80
Iceland 78
Benin 70
Guatemala 70
Lebanon 70
Bangladesh 68
Lithuania 65
Namibia 65
Slovenia 60
Puerto Rico 58
Costa Rica 57
Madagascar 57
Republic of the Congo 56
Malta 56
Burkina Faso 50
Egypt 50
Zimbabwe 49
Palestine 43
Chad 42
Guinea 42
Laos 41
Albania 40
Tanzania 37
Bahamas 36
Nigeria 36
Togo 36
Belize 35
Paraguay 35
Macedonia 33
Democratic Republic of the Congo 30
Haiti 30
Nicaragua 30
Cameroon 29
Guyana 27
Kuwait 26
Senegal 26
Uganda 24
Singapore 23
Trinidad and Tobago 23
Luxembourg 21
Cape Verde 20
Montenegro 20
Papua New Guinea 20
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 20
United Arab Emirates 20
Angola 19
Greenland 19
Saint Lucia 17
Mauritius 16
San Marino 15
Swaziland 15
Jamaica 13
North Korea 13
Sudan 13
Burundi 12
Fiji 12
Gambia 12
Lesotho 12
Channel Islands 11
Gabon 11
Mozambique 11
Brunei Darussalam 9
Grenada 9
Uzbekistan 9
Zambia 9
Andorra 8
Barbados 8
Isle of Man 8
Qatar 7
Virgin Islands, US 7
Oman 6
Dominica 5
Rwanda 5
Virgin Islands, British 5
Antigua and Barbuda 3
Aruba 3
Ecuador 3
Equatorial Guinea 3
Eritrea 3
French Guiana 3
Liberia 3
Liechtenstein 3
Réunion 3
Saint Kitts and Nevis 3
Solomon Islands 3
Yemen 3
American Samoa 2
Bahrain 2
Bermuda 2
Cayman Islands 2
Guadeloupe 2
Kenya 2
Kiribati 2
Libya 2
Marshall Islands 2
Martinique 2
Mauritania 2
Micronesia 2
Monaco 2
Palau 2
Samoa 2
Seychelles 2
Timor-Leste 2
Åland Islands 1
Anguilla 1
Bhutan 1
Cook Islands 1
Curaçao 1
Falkland Islands 1
Faroe Islands 1
Gibraltar 1
Guam 1
Holy See (Vatican City) 1
Kosovo 1
Macao 1
Malawi 1
Mayotte 1
Montserrat 1
Myanmar 1
New Caledonia 1
Niue 1
Northern Mariana Islands 1
Saint Helena 1
São Tomé and Príncipe 1
Sierra Leone 1
Suriname 1
Turks and Caicos Islands 1
Vanuatu 1

(Data sourced from OCLC)

(oclc.org/en/global-library-statistics.html)

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