1- Beyazıt State Library (“Kütüphane-i Umum-i Osmanî”) (open to public)
Beyazıt State Library is one of the oldest and the largest library of Istanbul opened in 1884 as a part of the Süleymaniye Mosque Complex (külliye). Following the cabinet decisions in 1948 was 1953 the library complex was extended. In 2015 the library was renovated by Tabanlıoğlu Architects, a well known Turkish architecture company.
The library houses over 800.000 books, 55.000 volumes of newspapers and repositories of postgraduate dissertations with over 1.000.000 documents available in Beyazit Library. Beside the written documents, the library also has a section for blind and visually impaired people with 5000 audio books.
The Library is located adjacent to Beyazıt Mosque in Beyazıt Square which is one of the most vibrant squares in the old city.
Beyazit State Library has a very spacious inner patio where you can feel like in the old days….
Visiting Hours: Every Day: 24 hours
Location: Beyazıt Mh., Çadırcılar Cd. No:4, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul
2- Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality – Atatürk Library (open to public)
Atatürk Library is one of the first modern libraries of the Turkish Republic built in Şehremaneti (İstanbul Municipality town hall) in 1924. The library moved several times due to lack of space.
For the 50th year of Republic of Turkey in 1973, Koç Holding A.Ş. built a structure in Taksim Avenue designed by Hakkı Eldem, one of the pioneers of modernist architecture in Turkey. This building is called Atatürk Library since 1981. Osman Ergin, Muallim Cevdet, Haşim İşcan and Muhsin Ertuğrul are the founders and main donators of IMM Atatürk Library.
Together with all the donations and supports, Atatürk Library reached approximately 500.000 books. The library keeps digitising its printed books into pdf docs.
Other than it’s rich book collection, Atatürk Library also gets attention with its restoration atelier, physical archive, conference room, exhibition hall and other cultural assets.
The Library has wide range of users from elementary school students to international researchers and academicians. Therefore, it is not a surprise to see a long queue at its entrance door. You will be rewarded with a surprising Bosphorus view while reading your books inside Atatürk Kütüphanesi.
Visiting Hours: Every Day: 24 hours
Location: Miralay Şefik Bey Sok. No: 6 Taksim, Beyoğlu – İstanbul
3- Library of the Center for Islamic Studies (İSAM) (open for Master and PhD students and Academicians)
The library of the Center for Islamic Studies (İSAM) in Istanbul is the most significant of its kind. It started its activities in 1988 in the same building as the General Directorate of TDV Encyclopedia. In 1993 these two organizations merged, forming the TDV Center for Islamic Studies (ISAM).
Beside the rich collection of books and periodicals on Islamic culture, history and civilization, the library has grown its collection to other areas of social sciences, especially with respect to Turkish history, culture, and literature. It is operated by the Turkish Religious Foundation based on modern methods and houses over 230,000 books, 3,500 magazines and 19,400 other documents.
You can also find many private collections such as those belonging to Ziyad Ebuzziya, Albert Hourani and İlber Ortaylı. Some of the collections include significant rare archival documents as well.
Visiting Hours: Every Day: 09.00 – 23.00
Location: Library of the Center for Islamic Studies (ISAM), İcadiye Bağlarbaşı Caddesi, No: 40, 34662 Üsküdar/İstanbul
4- Millet (or People’s) Library (open to public)
The building itself was built in 1700 by (shaykh al-Islām/Mufti) Seyyid Feyzullah Efendi and has a considerably rich collection of manuscripts including 3704 in Arabic, 519 in Persian and 2485 in Turkish. It houses a total of 27.603 work in 28 different languages.
Millet Library is the one and only place where you can see the last original remaining of (Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk) Divanu Lügati’t-Türk written by Kaşgarlı Mahmut which is considered to be the most important language relic after Orkhon Inscriptions.
Visiting Hours: Monday – Friday: 08.30 – 17.00, Reading Section: Everyday: 08.30-20.30
Location: İskenderpaşa Mahallesi, Macar Kardeşler Cad. No:85, 34080 Fatih/İstanbul
5- SALT Galata Library (open to public)
SALT Galata, one of the most important art institutions of Istanbul, is housed in the former Ottoman Bank building. The building is considered by many as an architectural masterpiece due to its distinct architectural styles—neoclassical and oriental—applied on opposite façades. SALT Research is located in the first floor of the building and serves as a public library with a large selection of books including in English, Turkish, and French. Approximately 100.000 printed publications, under a 40.000 different title, are available in SALT Galata Library. Beside the physical resources SALT also has a very rich digital archive.
SALT Research collections mainly cover Istanbul oriented content. There visual and textual sources are mostly on the modern art history of Turkey and the transformation of the Turkish society following the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
Beside the library you can visit SALT’s exhibitions in the basement, enjoy it’s café with the terrace, have a look at the bookstore inside and most importantly savour a delicious meal in Neolokal. Neolocal is a modern restaurant focusing on local ingredients with a great mix of traditional and contemporary Anatolian cuisine. Yes, all located in the same building!
Visiting Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday: 10.00 – 19.00, Sunday: 12.00 – 18.00
Location : Arap Cami Mahallesi, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
6- Süleymaniye Public Library (open to public)
Süleymaniye Public Library is situated in two of the medreses built in the 1550s as part of the mosque complex (Süleymaniye Mosque). The building is designed and built by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan; commissioned by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. In early 20th century, the library was detached from the Süleymaniye Mosque complex and became a public research library.
Süleymaniye Library is the largest manuscript library in Turkey and preserves one of the world’s most extensive collections of Islamic hand writings. The library’s vast collection of manuscripts has made it one of the most important centers for researchers working on all periods and regions of the Islamic world. It is home to 80.000 volumes manuscripts and 50.000 volumes press printed documents in Arabic. There are also cine visions available for hearing impaired people.
The library is located within the Süleymaniye Mosque complex in the Fatih district of Istanbul.
After the digitisation of manuscripts between 2002 and 2011 you can now access to the library’s entire collection from the computers in the reading room.
Visiting Hours: Every Day: 08.30 – 23.00 excluding national holidays
Location: Süleymaniye Mahallesi, Kanuni Medresesi Sk. No:24, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul
7- Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Literature Museum Library (open to public)
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Literature Museum, named after one of Turkey’s most important novelist in the twentieth century, is located inside the Gülhane Park which is right next to Topkapı Palace. The museum building was originally a military tower named as Alay Köşkü (Alay Manor).
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Literature Museum Library, opened in 2011, is home to approximately 9.000 books of from nearly 1.000 different authors including Istanbul oriented, international and nobel prize winner books.
Here you can also see literary and personal belongings of Turkey’s most renowned authors. The library is a hidden gem both for locals and travellers who would like to take a short break, grab a book and enjoy reading it towards the refreshing views of Gülhane Park.
Visiting Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10.00 – 19.00
Location: Alemdar Mah., Alemdar Cad. Alay Köşkü, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul
8- Istanbul Research Institute Library (open to public)
Istanbul Research Institute (IRI) is an important arts and cultural center which is part of Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation. The institute is housed in a historical building, from 1800s, which was designed by the famous architect Guglielmo Semprini.
Istanbul Research Institute Library aims to provide a productive environment where the researchers’ and academics can meet each other and collaborate.
The Library is divided in different sections according to subjects and divisions as follows:
1st floor: Atatürk and the Republic Studies Section
General Reference Library
2nd floor: Ottoman Studies Section
Şevket Rado Library
Semavi Eyice Library
Pera Museum Art Library
3rd floor: Byzantine Studies Section
Semavi Eyice Library
It is located in one of the most vivid parts of Istanbul where you can reach with just a few minutes of walking from Istiklal Street.
Visiting Hours: Monday – Friday: 09.00 – 17.30, Wednesday: 09.00-20.00, Saturday: 10.30-17.00
Location: Meşrutiyet Cd. No:47, 34443 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
9- Kadıköy Municipality History Literature and Art Library (open to public)
The Kadıköy History, Literature and Art Library (TESAK) is the former Kadıköy Municipality building (Şehremaneti) which was designed and built by Armenian architect Yervant Terziyan. The building of the library is considered as a prominent example of cultural heritage of modern Istanbul.
The building was renovated back in 1995. In the following years, it was used as Kadıköy District Governor’s Office and then as an office building for Kadıköy municipality. On the 100th year of its establishment, in 2014, the building was reopened as a library. In addition to Nilüfer Gülsoy’s (who donated the 30,000-book collection of her late father, former Turkish President Celal Bayar) books, a number of other valuable works have also been donated to the library, which will also host talks and various events.
If you are lucky enough to find a seat by the window you can watch Kadıköy ferries come and go while studying.
Visiting Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 09.00 – 21.00
Location: Caferağa Mahallesi,, Rıhtım Caddesi, No:2 D:3, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
10- Boğaziçi University Library – Aptullah Kuran Library (open to students and library members)
Aptullah Kuran Library’s first book stock consisted of 200 books which was donated by Harvard University and were housed in an old building at Bebek in 1863. By 1871 the number of books had reached 5.000 as the College moved to its present south campus at Hisar. The College’s library building, Van Milligen Hall was completed in 1932 and was home to 40.000 books by 1950s.
The collection rose steadily to over 100.000 by 1971 as the Boğaziçi University was established. Due to lack of space, the library was transferred to its present location on the North Campus in Rumelihisarı in 1983.
By 1995, the library collection reached approximately to 285,000 and by 2004, it reached 452.000 with the donations increased significantly. It is also home to a rare collection with books dating back to 16th Century. The administration is following a pretty innovative path in order to improve the efficiency of services to users. The Library outstands with its Braille collection which is known to be the largest in the country.
The library building is considered to be one of the iconic examples of brutalist architecture in Turkey designed by two architects, Sevinç Hadi and Şandor Hadi.
Location: Rumeli Hisarı, Hisar Üstü Nispetiye Cd. Boğaziçi Üni. Kuzey Kampüsü No:5, 34342 Sarıyer/İstanbul
11- Halki Theological School (Heybeliada Ruhban Okulu) Library (special permission required)
The library is a part of the Halki Theological School which began its education in 1844 and continued until its closure in 1971. It is located at the top of the Hill of Hope on the second largest of the Prince Islands’ (Heybeliada) in the Sea of Marmara.
With its deep rooted history and religious heritage dating back to the Byzantine period, the library is home to over 100.000 books, manuscripts and journals including some of the oldest printed documents. You can find unique materials on sacred science and modern theological researches as well as critical editions of patristic literature. The collection includes books in various languages mostly in Ancient Greek, Latin, Turkish and Arabic.
Due to political issues and conflicts between Turkey and Greece, the school is closed for over 40 years but the library is open to students, researchers or visitors with permission. Together with its beautiful building and garden surrounded by pine-trees you will be accompanied with the fascinating view of the island while doing your research.
Visiting Hours: upon request
Location: Heybeliada Mahallesi, Adalar No:45, 34973 Adalar/İstanbul
12- American Research Institute – Turkey (open to public)
The American Research Institute located in Beyoğlu is an important platform for English-speaking researchers with around 14.000 volumes and journals. Various documents on the Byzantine, Ottoman and modern Turkish periods are accessible in ARIT and also available online via the Digital Library for International Research (DLIR) server for some pre-browsing.
Visiting Hours: Monday: 09.00-18.00 , Tuesday-Friday: 09.00-21.00, Saturday: 10.00-18.00
13- Orhan Kemal Public Library (open to public)
Orhan Kemal Public Library is located in Şimkeşhane building which was built with the commissions of the famous Ottoman Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet in the late 15th Century. It was first built as a mint and have suffered in several fires and earthquakes in the following years. The building was reconstructed in 1707 and reopened with additional diverse functions including a fountain, a primary school and a praying room (mescit).
In 1950s the building was almost desolated and with the attempts by Prof. Bedii N. Şehsuvaroğlu, and was taken under renovation between 1960 and 1976 and reopened as a public library in 1981.
While climbing up the stairs from the street, you can see the unique Byzantion ruins found during the renovation in the patio of the library.
Visiting Hours: Every Day: 08.00 – 22.30 excluding national holidays
Location: Mimar Kemalettin Mahallesi, Ordu Cd. No:19, 34130 Fatih/İstanbul