The Most Beautiful Libraries Around the World

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is among one of the most beautiful libraries in the world (admitsee)
In today’s world, we can choose a book with the touch of a button on our iPads, download the newest release in less than a minute to our Kindles, or turn to Amazon for our next must-read. But often lost in the ease, convenience, and speed of reading a book nowadays is the reading ritual itself - the true pleasure of making your way down a library's long aisles, skimming rows upon rows of books, picking up a potential read, flipping through its pages. So let’s shine a little light on these houses of knowledge and celebrate the ubiquitous symbol of information with this collection of beautiful libraries across the world.

1. THE 'CLASSIC'

WHAT: Trinity College Library
WHERE: Dublin, Ireland
WOW FACTOR: This library boasts a 200-foot long room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. Known as the Long Room, this striking room is lined with marble busts of famous writers, like Jonathan Swift.

Trinity College Library in Dubling, Ireland

2. THE RULER OF THE RARE

WHAT: The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript LibraryWHERE: New Haven, Connecticut
WOW FACTOR: This library is one of the world's largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts. They even have an original Gutenberg Bible!

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
(Flickr user Lauren Manning)

3. THE MEGALIBRARY

WHAT: Biblioteca Vasconcelos
WHERE: Mexico City, Mexico
WOW FACTOR: Known as the “megalibrary,” this giant library takes up a whopping 409,000 square feet. Inside, over 500,000 books are displayed on glass shelves hanging from the building’s five stories.


Biblioteca Vasconcelos
(Flickr user CIINKer)

4. THE COLOSSEUM

WHAT: The Vancouver Public LibraryWHERE: Vancouver, Canada
WOW FACTOR: This library was designed to resemble a modern-day Colosseum. The entrance is through a huge skylit concourse and bridges inside the library connect to reading and study areas in the outer walls.

The Vancouver Public Library

5. THE CUBE

WHAT: Stadtbibliothek StuttgartWHERE: Stuttgart, Germany
WOW FACTOR: From the outside, the nine-story building looks like a monolithic cube. But inside, the dramatic all-white interior has a five-story reading room shaped as an upside-down pyramid, plus meeting rooms, a café, and a rooftop terrace.

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart
(Flickr user O Palsson)

6. THE MIDDLE EASTERN MAMMOTH

WHAT: Bibliotheca AlexandrinaWHERE: Alexandria, Egypt
WOW FACTOR: Opened in 2002, the massive disc-shaped building has a huge reading room that tilts toward the sea with a facade that’s covered in letters and characters from more than a hundred different languages. The building also contains a planetarium, four museums, and academic research centers.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

7. THE GREEN MACHINE

WHAT: Beitou LibraryWHERE: Taipei, Taiwan
WOW FACTOR: This eco-friendly library has a slanted roof that collects moisture from humidity and rain, and then recycles it for the restrooms and gardens. The Beitou Library has also been fitted with solar panels, as well as deep-set and latticed windows to reduce energy use.

Beitou Library

8. THE SUSTAINABILITY STANDARD

WHAT: Villanueva Public LibraryWHERE: Casanare, Colombia
WOW FACTOR: Villanueva Public Library was constructed using only locally-sourced materials, and was solely by the people of the village who were trained to help construct the building. The design, created by four college students, focuses on natural ventilation and plenty of shade to keep the interior nice and cool.

Villanueva Public Library

9. THE TIMELY MASTERPIECE

WHAT: Mortlock Wing State LibraryWHERE: Adelaide, Australia
WOW FACTOR: This two-story library, opened in 1884, features an extraordinary Dent and Sons clock on a wrought-iron and gold ornamented balcony at the end of the reading room. A staff member winds it once a week.

Mortlock Wing State Library

10. THE NEW, OLD LIBRARY

WHAT: The National Library of ChinaWHERE: Beijing, China
WOW FACTOR: The National Library of China houses a vast array of historical and ancient books and manuscripts - even inscribed tortoise shells. Completed in 1987, the buildings that make up the library were all designed in a traditional Chinese style.

The National Library of China

11. THE MODERN PHENOMENON 

WHAT: Delft University of Technology LibraryWHERE: Delft, Netherlands
WOW FACTOR: With a massive skylight in the ceiling that looks like a steel cone from the outside, the Delft University of Technology Library is also has a grass-covered roof to add to its eco-friendly and modern design.

Delft University of Technology Library

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