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Public libraries are plays a vital role in the society in terms of social, cultural and economic developments. Availability of public libraries in a society directly and indirectly reflects the knowledge of the people. By examining the historical movement of public libraries in different regions, we are better equipped to identify the existing gaps in the field of libraries and thereby provide valuable directions in the establishment of new libraries. The scope of this study is to give a bird’s eye view and critical analysis of age-old public libraries which existed in pre-independence India. Further it provides a detailed accounts of selected prominent public libraries during the same period. The existence of public libraries in pre-independence India can be broadly divided into three parts -ancient period (before 1200 AD), medieval period (1200 A.D. – 1757 A.D.) and the British period (1757 A.D. – 1947 A.D.). Hence, historical research of public libraries using perspective approach will help us understand the effectiveness and impact of public libraries in the society.