Beautiful Libraries Around the World
the Sifter has compiled another collection of beautiful libraries from your comments and suggestions. Ultimately, it is the books within these buildings that make it special, but many of these pillars of learning stand as landmarks in the cities and universities they reside. For all lovers of books, these libraries deserve to be cherished and revered.
2. Kirby Library, Lafayette College | Easton, Pennsylvania, USA
3. Library of Congress | Washington, D.C.
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States (1800). Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and number of books (22.19 million).
4. Belarus National Library | Minsk
The National Library of Belarus, founded on 15 September 1922, is a copyright library of the Republic of Belarus. It houses the largest collection of Belarusian printed materials and the third largest collection of books in Russian behind the Russian State Library (Moscow) and the Russian National Library (St Petersburg).
It is now located in a new 72-metre (236 feet) high building in Minsk, Belarus. The building has 22 floors and was completed in January 2006. The building can seat about 2,000 readers and features a 500-seat conference hall. Its main architectural component has the shape of a rhombicuboctahedron. The library’s new building was designed by architects Mihail Vinogradov and Viktor Kramarenko.
5. Abbey Library of St. Gall | Switzerland
The Abbey Library of Saint Gall was founded by Saint Othmar, the founder of the Abbey of St. Gall. The library collection is the oldest in Switzerland, and is one of earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world. It holds 2,100 manuscripts dating back to the 8th through the 15th centuries, 1,650 incunabula (printed before 1500), and old printed books. The library holds almost 160,000 volumes. The manuscript B of the Nibelungenlied is kept here.
6. Graz University Library Reading Room | Austria
7. Geisel Library, University of California, San Diego
The Geisel Library is the main library building on the University of California, San Diego campus and contains four of the six libraries located on campus. It is home to the Arts Library, the Mandeville Special Collections Library (SPEC), the Science & Engineering Library, and the Social Sciences & Humanities Library.
The building is named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) for the generous contributions they have made to the library and their devotion to improving literacy. The Geisels were long-time residents of La Jolla, where UC San Diego is located.
8. TU Delft Library | South Holland, Netherlands
The TU Delft Library, constructed in 1997, was designed by Delft-based Mecanoo architecture bureau. It is located behind university aula. The roof of the library is covered with grass, which serves as a natural insulation. The structure lifts from the ground on one side allowing to walk to the top of the building. The library is topped by the steel cone, giving its unique shape. The wall, opposite to the Aula is completely filled with glass. The library has won the Dutch National Steel Price in 1998 in the category buildings of steel and hybrid constructions.
9. Stockholm Public Library | Sweden
Stockholm Public Library is a rotunda library building in Stockholm, Sweden, designed by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund. The library was prepared from 1918 and onwards by a committee in which Asplund himself took part. Construction began in 1924, and the library was completed in 1928. It is one of the most notable buildings in Stockholm and one of Asplund’s most important works. In fact it was Sweden’s first public library to apply the principle of open shelves.
10. Bibliotheca Alexandrina | Alexandria, Egypt
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina or Maktabat al-Iskandariyah is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It is both a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity, and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier center of study and erudition represented.
11. British Museum Reading Room | London, England
The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. In 1997, this function moved to the new British Library building at St Pancras, London, but the Reading Room remains in its original form inside the new British Museum.
12. The Library of Sofia University | Bulgaria
13. Seattle Public Library | Washington, USA
The Seattle Public Library’s Central Library is the flagship library of The Seattle Public Library system. The 11-story (185 feet or 56 meters high) glass and steel building in downtown Seattle, Washington was opened to the public on Sunday, May 23, 2004. Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN were the principal architects and Hoffman Construction Company of Portland, Oregon, was the general contractor. The 362,987 square foot (34,000 m²) public library can hold about 1.45 million books and other materials, features underground public parking for 143 vehicles, and includes over 400 computers open to the public. Over 2 million individuals visited the new library in its first year.
14. The Joanina Library, University of 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 Joao 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.
15. Vancouver Public Library | British Columbia, Canada