20 Libraries You Should Visit Before You Die

Take reading to another level in these spots around the world.

In today’s modern age, there aren’t as many people who go to the library as there were before. The truth is, not a lot of people go to the library just to bury their noses under books all day.

But the truth also holds that there are still a few people who appreciate the value of books and libraries. There are still those heroes who undeniably love to smell the pages or sit crookedly beside the window and get lost in the story of printed ink instead of facing a rectangular screen.

To all bibliophiles, feast your eyes! Here is a list of the world’s most beautiful libraries you need to see before you die:

1. University of Aberdeen New Library, Scotland

Aberdeen Scotland

Contrary to its shiny boxed exterior, the Aberdeen Library has a voluptuous interior, with curves that shape eight floors and gives just enough light for every corner. The library, which won a National Award in 2013, also offers 1,200 individual study spaces for its readers.

2. Library of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Library of Birmingham exterior

The interior of the new Library of Birmingham, England.

Britain’s biggest public library, also the largest facility in Europe, holds a variety of resources and sections, such as adult and kids’ libraries, music collections, a rooftop garden, a health facility, and a Shakespeare Memorial Room.

3. Macquarie University Library, Australia

Macquerie University Australia exterior

New Library tour

Unlike traditional library systems, the Macquarie University Library uses the Automated Storage and Retrieval System which uses robot cranes to collect and deliver books. The building was also constructed with recycled materials and houses 1.8 million collections.

4. Duluth Public Library, United States

Duluth Public Library

Via flickr

The Duluth Public Library in Minnesota, which has three branches, is known for its collection of books by Duluth residents themselves. The library also holds programs and events for the public, mainly a reading project that encourages citizens to read, a film series, storytelling for children, home services, and annual book sales.

5. Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

This is where art and history meet. The Royal Library of Alexandria is home to eight million books, four museums, four art galleries, and one planetarium. Standing tall at 11 levels, the building is etched with 120 scripts to promote the richness of human language.

6. Seattle Central Library, United States

Seattle Central Library Exterior

Seattle Central Library

Because of the near-transparent look of the building’s facade, the Seattle Central Library stands out in the groups of buildings close together in Seattle’s sleepless city. The building was praised twice for its transparent brilliance and it caters to citizens by providing 400 computers and 1.45 million books.

7. Melk Library, Austria

Stift Melk

Apart from having almost 90,000 books, the Melk Library is famous for its painted ceilings and the stories that go with it. Austrian painter Paul Troger depicted a picture of a woman, Faith, who is surrounded by angels representing the four cardinal virtues, wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. The library also has four wooden sculptures also representing Theology, Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence.

8. Handelingenkamer, the Netherlands

handelingenkamer-netherlands

Inspired by Chinese aesthetics, the Handelingenkamer library manifests on the colors of red, green and gold with iron works of dragon heads and claws along the walls, railings and its eye-catching spiral staircase. Although the library is originally for the parliament, its pleasing appearance is for everyone to see.

9. Unam Central Library, Mexico

UNAM

The Central Library is said to be the jewel in the crown of the Ciudad Universitaria at the National Autonomous University in Mexico. The exterior of the building immediately wows visitors because of the specific murals on each side, all made from mosaic of colored stones. The murals actually tell the tales of Mexico’s history.

10. National Library of France

Benjamin A. Monn Photography 2011

Originating from the 14th century, the National Library of France holds 30 million selections and some of history’s finest and most treasured relics, including the chess set of King Charlemagne from the 9th century. The library is also known for its circular reading rooms that are inspired by the Ottoman architecture.

11. Bodleian Library, England

Oxford-Bodleian-Harry-Potter-library

If you’re a big Harry Potter fan, you also probably pay attention to details, such as the location of the Hogwarts Library and Hospital Wing A.K.A. the Bodleian Library. It was Oxford University’s first library and home to 11 million collections. Apart from the study areas, books, and tea room, the library also allows passes for filming purposes.

12. Stuttgart City Library, Germany

stuttgart library exterior

stuttgart library

Via flickr

The Stuttgart Library was only opened in 2011 but is easily attracting tourists with its minimalist design. Both the interior and exterior appearances of the library gives that cool and calm feeling, especially because of its grid effect, and it takes on the monochromatic color of white or blue.

13. Vasconcelos Library, Mexico

vasconselos library

This “megalibrary” was designed with stacks of metal and glass boxes of sections for quiet and private learning. The library is most famous for its botanical garden and its collection of the works of Mexico’s artists, like Gabriel Orozco’s Ballena (whale skeleton).

14. Vennesla Library and Cultural Center, Norway

Vennesla Library

Another whale-inspired structure is Norway’s Vennesla Library in which the interiors are patterned after the ribs of a whale. Aside from giving ample space and lighting to the readers, the facility also provides a cafe and open meeting places.

15. Kanazawa Umimirai Library, Japan

Kanazawa Umimirai Library

Via flickr

Also completed in 2011, the Kanazawa Umimirai Library is famous for its white punching wall with 6,000 little holes to let in soothing light. The holes all over the building also serve as a quake-proof measure as it was designed to help distribute seismic vibration and help the building stand. Unlike other libraries, the Kanazawa Umimirai has floor heaters and coolers that help make the building’s interiors comfy and temperature-friendly.

16. The Royal Library of Copenhagen, Denmark

Library of Copenhagen

Library of Copenhagen interior

The Royal Library of Copenhagen was founded in 1648 by King Frederik III which is one of the reasons why it holds a lot of historical treasures, like scrolls, artifacts, and even the first Danish book published in 1482. Dubbed as the largest library in all of the Nordic countries, this structure also serves as the national library of Denmark and the university library of the University of Copenhagen.

17. Musashino Art University Museum and Library, Japan

Musashino

The 30-foot high library is a spacious, spiraling ground that consists of huge bookshelves entirely made of light wood. While not all bookshelves are filled, they serve as bridges to reading areas and study places. The library is known for its wide staircases that can also be used as an auditorium venue.

18. Vancouver Public Library, Canada

Vancouver_Public_Library,_Vancouver,_British_Columbia

Canada’s third largest library was inspired by the Colosseum in Rome and serves to all of Canada’s citizens with 22 branches. The architectural design attracts a lot of tourists, with almost 6.9 million visits last year. The library offers books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs, magazines, programs for adults and kids, and even home services and library loans.

19. Philological Library, Germany

Philological Library

Designed in the shape of a human brain, the Philological Library stands at the main campus of the Free University of Berlin. Named as “the Berlin brain,” it provides well-lit study spaces and is a well-known landmark in Berlin.

20. Kansas City Public Library, United States

Kansas City Public Library

Kansas City Public Library is popular for its bookshelf-like facade that features gigantic books around the building. Aside from the collection of books, there is also a rooftop deck, family center, and a digital store. It was also said that the locals can request which book to feature on the building’s facade.

With all these books, these study areas and those amazing designs, you can practically live there. Who ever said libraries were phased out?

About the Author

Leigh Bagtas

Leigh Bagtas

Leigh is just beginning. She dreams of traveling the world forever and imagines herself living in a peaceful and quiet house by the meadow. She also believes in magic and used to be a mermaid in her past life.