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National Diet Library (NDL): Institution Main



About National Diet Library:

Japan's National Diet Library ( Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan 国立国会図書館, also known as NDL) is the national library of Japan.  NDL, like the Library of Congress in the US or the British Library in the United Kingdom, serves Japan's principal governing body, the National Diet, with additional services to the Executive and Judicial Branches.  It also serves as Japan's depository library and has special responsiblities for holding and preserving Japanese publications.

The Tokyo Main Library NDL is located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo next to the National Diet building.  The Google map below shows the general location.  The link directly above show's NDL's map and transportation routes page.  For the first time visitor taking a one-and-a-half hour guided tours the Tokyo Main Library may be a good introduction to services of the NDL.  NDL also has an extraordinarily well developed English language website that warrants the time it takes to learn its navigation.

A Brief History of NDL:  NDL was established in its present form in 1948 by the National Diet Library Law.  Historically NDL has two origins, derived from the libraries of the House of Peers and the House of Representatives in the former Imperial Diet established in 1890; and the Imperial Library established in 1872 under the Ministry of Education.The Imperial Library was a pre-war depository library established by law, it had a comprehensive collection of materials published in modern Japan from the Meiji Era onward. Most of those collections were transferred to the present National Diet Library and formed the basis of the current collection.  NDL continues to serve as Japan's depository library. 

Based on the advice of the US library experts during the Allied Occupation, a basic NDL plan was drawn up leading to the National Diet Library Law. In June 1948 the National Diet Library was opened to the general public with a stock of about 100,000 books originally intended for the two Houses, using the Akasaka Detached Palace (now the Guest Palace). In 1949 another one million books from the former National Library at Ueno, Tokyo (now the International Library of Children's Literature) were added to NDL's stock.

Full services in the present location of the NDL's main library in Nagata-cho adjacent to the National Diet began in August 1961, with a collection of some two million books. In 1968, the 20th anniversary of NDL's establishment, the present NDL Main Building was erected. In 1986 the Annex was completed to accommodate a combined total of 12 million books and periodicals. As the two buildings will be full to overflowing some time in the early 21st century, a third NDL building, the Kansai-kan, was opened in October 2002 in the Kansai Science City (Seika Town, Soraku County, Kyoto Prefecture). The former Ueno Branch Library was transformed into the International Library of Children's Literature (the first national children's library), which was partly opened in May 2000 and was fully open on May 5, 2002.

There are also 26 branch libraries in various Japanese goverment agencies.

NDL has a vigorous online presence and provides services globally. 


Institution: National Diet Libray (Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan)
Founded: 1948
Type: National Library, Parliamentary Library
Location: Tokyo, Kyoto

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