A national library
is established by the government
of a nation to serve as the pre-eminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries
, they rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works; such as the Gutenberg Bible
. National libraries are usually notable for their size, compared to that of other libraries in the same country. Some national libraries may be thematic or specialized in some specific domains, beside or in replacement of the 'main' national library.
Some national entities which are not independent but who wish to preserve their particular culture, have established a national library with all the attributes of such institutions, such as legal deposit
The list below is organized alphabetically by country, according to the list of sovereign states
, including, at its end an 'other states' section for non-sovereign states. A "♦" indicates a national library of a constituent country or dependent state. It is listed under the sovereign state which governs that entity. Sovereign states are listed even when they have no national library or when the existence and name of a national library could not yet be ascertained. Other states, constituent countries and dependent states are listed only if they have a national library.