Photos from China peddled as ‘world’s largest library’ in U.S. named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
December 20 2023

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Photos from China peddled as ‘world’s largest library’ in U.S. named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Screenshots of the viral posts claiming the images depict the American library named after Dr. Ambedkar. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral images feature China's Tianjin Binhai Library. There is also no widely known library in the U.S. named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Claim ID 0393dd44

What is the claim?

Four pictures of a huge library are circulating on social media, claiming to show a library in the United States dedicated to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, independent India's first law and justice minister, social reformer, and principal architect of the country's Constitution. One of the viral images shows a large white spherical structure at the center of the building. Bookshelves running from the floor to the ceiling line the white walls in all the photos. 

One Facebook account shared the set of photos with a Hindi caption, which translates to: "America opened the world's largest library in the name of India's messiah Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar! Jai Bhim Jai India Jai ​​Constitution.". Archived versions of the post and similar others can be viewed here and here.

Screenshots of the viral posts. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Contrary to the viral claims, the pictures do not show a library in the U.S. named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar; instead, they depict the Tianjin Binhai Library in China.

What do the photos show?

Upon conducting a reverse search, we found the viral photos were featured on 'Arch Daily,' a website specializing in architectural content. According to the article, the images show the Tianjin Binhai Library in the Binhai district of Tianjin, a coastal metropolis outside Beijing, China. The article stated that the library was completed through a collaboration between MVRDV, a Dutch architectural company, and local architects from the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI).

MVRDV's official website featured two of the images in the viral post, one showing the huge sphere and one showing two women standing in front of some shelves. The website noted that the Tianjin Binhai library is a 33,700-square-meter facility with a radiant spherical auditorium and floor-to-ceiling cascading bookcases. The website indicates that the project was completed in 2017. 

In November 2017, CNN also published an article that provided glimpses of the Tianjin Binhai Public Library. The report also featured the same two photos as mentioned above.

On November 29, 2017, Time Magazine released a video titled "Take A Peek Into China's Futuristic—And Controversial—New 1.2 Million-Book Library | TIME." The video showcased visuals of the Tianjin Binhai Library, which officially opened to the public on October 1, 2017. The footage matched the visuals captured in the viral images. The Times video report said that some shelves were stacked with printed aluminum plates that mimicked books, a feature criticized by some.

Is there a library dedicated to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the U.S.?

Logically Facts came across no mention of a widely known or recognized library in the U.S. named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. 

However, in October 2023, the tallest statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar outside of India was unveiled in a Maryland suburb. The statue is located at the Ambedkar International Center (AIC) in Accokeek township, approximately 22 miles south of the White House. The AIC, an upcoming project, is said to include facilities such as a library, convention center, and Buddha Garden.

It should also be noted that in contrast to the captions accompanying the viral images, the Library of Congress, as stated on its official website, is recognized as the largest library in the world. According to information from Guinness World Records, as of November 2021, the U.S. Library of Congress holds the title of the world's largest library, as measured by catalog size, with a staggering 173,731,463 items.

The verdict

The viral images, inaccurately shared as representing a U.S. library named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, actually feature a library in China, which opened to the public in 2017. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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