Goldina Encarnacion

Goldina Encarnacion

Published: 23 Sep 2023


Firestone Library is a truly remarkable landmark that holds a wealth of knowledge and history within its walls. As one of the largest libraries in the world, it serves as the main library of Princeton University, offering an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and other resources for academic research and study. But beyond its role as a repository of knowledge, Firestone Library also boasts a number of fascinating facts that make it truly extraordinary. From its striking architecture to its renowned collections, this landmark has a story to tell. In this article, we will delve into nine extraordinary facts about Firestone Library that highlight its importance, uniqueness, and cultural significance. So, let’s unlock the secrets of this iconic institution and discover what makes it truly exceptional.

Table of Contents

The Largest Library in Princeton University

As the main library of Princeton University, Firestone Library stands proud as the largest library on campus. With nearly 4 million volumes of books, it houses an extensive collection of materials spanning various disciplines, making it a hub of intellectual resources.

An Architectural Marvel

Firestone Library is not just a functional space; it is also an architectural marvel. Designed by the renowned architecture firm OMA, led by architect Rem Koolhaas, the library stands out with its unique design and striking features. The exterior is adorned with a distinctive ochre-colored precast concrete facade, creating an instantly recognizable landmark on the campus.

An Abundance of Rare Books

One of the most remarkable aspects of Firestone Library is its vast collection of rare books. With over 150,000 items in the Rare Books and Special Collections, bibliophiles can find a treasure trove of rare manuscripts, incunabula, and early printed books. The collection spans centuries, offering a glimpse into the rich history of literature and knowledge.

The B Floor: A Hidden Underground Oasis

Deep beneath the library lies the B Floor, a hidden gem that is not open to the public. This underground storage area houses a vast collection of books and documents, all meticulously preserved in carefully controlled environmental conditions. It’s like a secret world of knowledge beneath the bustling campus.

A Panoramic View from the 100s Stacks

Visitors who venture up to the 100s stacks are rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the campus. The glass-paneled walls provide stunning vistas while surrounded by the vast collection of books, making it a favorite spot for studying and inspiration.

Home to the Largest East Asian Library Collection

Firestone Library is renowned for its extensive East Asian Library collection. With over 400,000 volumes, it boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of East Asian materials in the Western Hemisphere. Scholars and researchers flock to Firestone Library for its exceptional resources in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean studies.

A Sanctuary for Scholars

Firestone Library serves as a sanctuary for scholars, providing them with the ideal environment to delve into their research and studies. With its vast study spaces, comfortable seating, and serene atmosphere, it’s a place where deep intellectual endeavors can flourish.

A Mecca for Bookworms

For bookworms, Firestone Library is a mecca that caters to their literary cravings. With multiple reading rooms, cozy nooks, and endless shelves of books, it’s a paradise where one can immerse themselves in the joy of reading.

Home to the Princeton University Archives

Firestone Library is not only a repository of books but also the home of the Princeton University Archives. The archives preserve and provide access to a wealth of historical records, manuscripts, and university publications, offering invaluable resources for researchers and historians.

There you have it – 9 extraordinary facts about Firestone Library that showcase its significance and allure. Whether you’re seeking knowledge, inspiration, or simply a quiet place to study, Firestone Library is a beacon of intellectual pursuit that continues to captivate visitors from all walks of life.


In conclusion, Firestone Library is truly an extraordinary landmark that combines architectural grandeur, rich history, and exceptional collections. From its iconic Collegiate Gothic design to its impressive book collection, this library offers a unique experience for visitors and researchers alike. Whether you are interested in exploring rare manuscripts, delving into scholarly resources, or simply immersing yourself in the ambiance of a world-class library, Firestone Library has something to captivate everyone. With its combination of beauty and functionality, it continues to inspire and educate generations of scholars, making it a truly remarkable institution in the world of libraries.


1. What is the history of Firestone Library?

Firestone Library was built in 1948 as the main library of Princeton University. It was named after Harvey S. Firestone, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

2. How many volumes does Firestone Library house?

Firestone Library houses over 4 million books, making it one of the largest open-stack research libraries in the world. It also contains numerous rare manuscripts and special collections.

3. Can anyone visit Firestone Library?

Yes, Firestone Library is open to the public. However, access to certain areas and collections may be restricted to researchers and Princeton University affiliates.

4. Are there any guided tours available at Firestone Library?

Yes, Firestone Library offers guided tours for visitors interested in learning more about its history, architecture, and collections. These tours provide a fascinating insight into the library’s significance and can be arranged through the library’s website or in person.

5. Can I borrow books from Firestone Library?

No, Firestone Library operates on a non-circulating basis, which means materials cannot be borrowed. However, visitors are welcome to use the library’s resources within its reading rooms.