Calcutta Public Library was opened for all ranks and classes without distinction in the year 1836 as a ‘public library of reference and circulation’. On the other hand few public libraries had also started their function in the society during this period. As per Bengal Library Directory, published by the Bengal Library Association it is observed that 86 Public libraries were established in 19th century at undivided Bengal.
National Library

The Central Reference Library, Kolkata is a unique repository of Indian National Bibliography collections and was established in the year 1955 by the Department of Culture.

However at present it comes under the purview of the Ministry of Culture, government of India. It is situated in the same campus of the National Library in the annexe building. However it is administered by an independent Librarian who also plays a dual role as its Editor. The primary objective of this institution is to compile and sell the Indian National Bibliography, an authentic record of books published in 14 different Indian languages and English. Apart from that, the assimilation and sale of The Index Indiana a unique selection of articles in contemporary Indian language periodicals also comes under its ambit.

To keep the tune with the need of the hour, Directorate of Library Services under the Mass Education Extension and Library Services Department, Government of West Bengal, has implemented the computerized networking programe of the libraries.

State Central Library along with 7 other Government Libraries and 19 Government Sponsored District Libraries are now connected in intranet. The bibliographical database of these libraries in the form of Union Catalogue will be available online through this portal along with various other services. All the public libraries of West Bengal [ sponsored and non sponsored ] may share this bibliographical database at free of cost.

A digital archive of rare books has been also build to cater the scholars and interested people of our society. Dissemination of information of various Government departments. In connection with life and livelihood of people is also a part of this portal along with various other library related information.
Membership at Central Reference Library, Kolkata:The library offers reading facility but there is no lending facility. Because of its huge collection of bibliographic materials it attracts research scholars from far and wide. Apart from the usual members, individuals who are members of The National Library can also avail the facilities of CRL,Kolkata.

Address: The Librarian
Central Reference Library
Government of India
Department of Culture
Belvedere, Calcutta – 700 027

Telephone: 24791721 / 24791722
Email: crlinb@cal3.vsnl.net.in