Though they are losing ground to the e-book and the audio book, libraries were once central hubs of human intellectual progress. But I am sure, after browsing this list of some of the world’s most beautiful, unique, and impressive libraries, you may be inspired to put the eBook reader down and make a trip to your own public library. There’s something about them that still attracts people, however – whether it’s their magnificent architecture or the unmistakable smell of books and dust, scholars and dreamers alike still enjoy perusing their hoards of literary treasures. Library offers more than you think. Places with books need to be amazing and beautiful – here’s a great collection of 25 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World. From richly decorated baroque spaces to minimalist cubes, there’s something for everyone in the world’s coolest libraries. And now, a question: Where do you prefer to read – in classic or modern space?
Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria
The Austrian National Library is the largest library in Austria, with 7.4 million items in its various collections. The library is located in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. The library complex includes four museums, as well as multiple special collections and archives.
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, Connecticut, Usa
The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is the rare book library and literary archive of the Yale University Library in New Haven, Connecticut. Situated on Yale University’s Hewitt Quadrangle, the building was designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1963. Established by a gift of the Beinecke family and given its own endowment, the library is financially independent from the university and is co-governed by the University Library and Yale Corporation.
Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, Portugal
The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is the Baroque library of the University of Coimbra, built in the 18th century during the reign of the Portuguese King João V (and named after him). It is located in upper Coimbra, the university historic centre, near the university tower, and is part of University of Coimbra General Library.
Biblioteca Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura, which roughly translates to royal reading room, was built in 1837. It houses more than 350,000 works from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, as well as a small collection of paintings and old coins.
Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris, France
The Bibliothèque Mazarine was initially the personal library of Cardinal Mazarin (1602–1661), who was a great bibliophile. His first library, arranged by his librarian, Gabriel Naudé, was dispersed when he had to flee Paris during the Fronde.
Bibliothèque Nationale De France, Paris, France
The Bibliothèque nationale de France is the National Library of France, located in Paris. It is intended to be the repository of all that is published in France. The current president of the library is Bruno Racine.
Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, Paris, France
Sainte-Geneviève Library is a public and university library in Paris, which inherited the collection of the Abbey of St Genevieve. The library contains around 2 million documents.
George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland, Usa
The George Peabody Library, housed in the world-renowned Peabody Institute of Music, is part of the Sheridan Libraries Special Collections at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to its traditional use as a research library, the George Peabody Library has now become the premiere wedding and event venue in Baltimore.
Handelingenkamer – The library of the Dutch government, Netherlands
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a public library system in New York City. With nearly 53 million items, the New York Public Library is the second largest public library in the United States (and fourth largest in the world), behind only the Library of Congress. The library was developed in the 19th century, founded from an amalgamation of grass-roots libraries, and social libraries of bibliophiles and the wealthy, aided by the philanthropy of the wealthiest Americans of their age.
St John’s College Library, Cambridge, Uk
St. Florian Monastery, Austria
The Monastery library belongs to the most ancient and most impressive ones in Austria. The gorgeous main hall in late-Baroque impresses by the mighty bookshelves that practically isolate the sphere of the spirit. The colourful ceiling fresco (1747) by Bartolomeo Altomonte (figures) and by Antonio Tassi (architectural painting) shows the marriage of virtue and science under protection of the religion.
Technical College “Gheorghe Asachi” Library, Iasi, Romania
The Gheorghe Asachi Technical University is a public university located in Ia?i, Romania. It has the oldest tradition in Romania in engineering education.
The Admont Library, Admont, Austria
A jewel of the Baroque era meets contemporary art. 70.000 restored books, ceiling frescoes and sculptures in Admont Monastery’s magnificent library meet creations by names such as Erwin Wurm, Rudi Molacek and Lois Renner.
The Iowa State Law Library, Iowa, Usa
Located in the Capitol building, the law library provides Iowa lawmakers, government employees, the Iowa legal community and the general public with a highly specialized legal collection of treatises and both state and federal statutory, regulatory and case law. The collection also contains the abstracts and arguments of the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, legal periodicals, and materials produced by the Iowa legislature. Research assistance is available.
The Library Of Congress, Washington, D.C., USA
Take a free one-hour walking tour of the historic Thomas Jefferson building to learn about its symbolic art and architecture. Volunteer docents tell the story of the Library, America’s oldest cultural institution: its history, collections, and services for Congress and the nation.
The National Library Of China, Beijing, China
Nearly every seat is filled at the National Library of China in Beijing, which has more than 24 million items—including 35,000 pieces of scripted turtle shells—in its collection. At 1.8 million square feet of total floor area, it’s touted as the fifth largest library in the world.
The National Library Of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
The National Library of the Czech Republic is the central library of the Czech Republic. It is directed by the Ministry of Culture. The library’s main building is located in the historical Clementinum building in Prague, where approximately half of its books are kept.
Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland
Welcome to the Old Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition – a “must see” on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of Dublin City, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin will bring visitors back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed.
Walker Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Usa
A 21st-century library built to serve and enhance the Uptown community both now and well into the future. The Uptown Walker library serves as a welcoming place for people of all ages and walks of life. This modern library was built with technology, sustainability, and improved access in mind. Other enhancements include comfortable places to read with natural light, gathering spaces to support a variety of needs, an inviting area for children and youth, access to more public computers and wi-fi, flexible spaces to work and study, outdoor areas, exhibit space for art, and a coffee shop to enhance customer experience and community identity.
The new Anacostia Library in Washington, D.C., designed by the Freelon Group along with Associate Architect R. McGhee & Associates, exhibits the qualities of a 21st century library. Its eco-friendly design welcomes the neighborhood and doubles as an educational tool for children.
Zaha Hadid’s Library and Learning Center
Mississauga Library Project
A Library Designed for the Post-Print Era
Stuttgart City Library
Designed by architect Eun Young Yi, this city library looks like a complicated two color Rubik’s cube puzzle from the outside! But step in and you will be surprised at its simplicity.