Libraries are incredible and complete tributes to the human understanding imaginable. With their huge array of resources, they are unquestionably priceless in terms of research and study. Researching and reading need not be done in a boring and bland building. You need to step into a stunning whose architecture and surroundings inspire you to work and study harder.
Whether they feature extravagant interiors, eye-catching architecture or sleek exteriors, the ones we have featured here are indeed a marvel to behold.
30 most beautiful libraries in the world
Admont Abbey Library – Admont, Austria
The Admont Abbey Library is located right along the Enns River, in Austria’s southeast area. Constructed in 1776, this library is captivating in its beauty. Joseph Hueber, a baroque architect, came up with the dazzling hall’s design.
Resplendent in white and gold hues, seven cupolas characterize this library. Another notable feature is Joseph Stammel’s Four Last Things. They convey life illustrations of different things such as hell, heaven, and death. More than 70,000 of the abbey’s 200,000 volumes call this place home. It stands out as the biggest library worldwide.
Its location borders beautiful mountains and the popular Gesause National Park whose scenic beauty is out of this world.
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Library – Galway, Ireland
De Blacam and Meagher, Dublin architects, used an open-minded system to come up with an eye-catching building that hosts the library at the stylish Galway-Mayo Institute. The impressive dynamic modeling tech was employed in the development of this building.
The elaborate sails on the building’s exterior are aesthetically pleasing and excellently done. They serve a useful purpose as they allow daylight while at the same time shielding the exterior from excess sunshine. Through tech utilized in making this library, it reduces the need for mechanized climate control systems. It features six hundred reader spaces.
It has two innovation Hubs and several research specialists’ centers.
Mediatheque Sandro Penna – Perugia, Italy
Named after Sandro Penna, the Peruginian poet, it started operations in 2004. An architect by the name Italo Rota was the brains behind it. He conceived the library as a huge pink disk, entirely illuminated and glazed by night.
Over the years, it has turned out to be a point of reference to those that want to study or read because of its architectural position and shape. A huge book patrimony that pays attention to the necessities of various generations complements the library’s charming design.
This library unlike many others on this list mainly focuses on teenagers and children – both in the construction of various sections as well as dedicated areas and in its selection of books.
Klementinum National Library – Prague, Czech Republic
The Klementinum National Library opened its doors in 1722 as part of the Jesus University. Today, it is home to the country’s new National Library. It contains more than 20,000 international religious works.
Its impressive interior includes gold spiral pillars and rich amber. The library’s ornate ceiling frescoes were done by Jan Hiebel. Emperor Joseph II’s picture hangs at the hall’s end. The portrait is a symbol of the work done by conserving pieces of literature from all the obliterated Spartan libraries.
It has trompe l’oeil frescoes that mimic sweeping domed ceilings. Tortuously carved wooden Corinthian columns in between the bookshelves coupled with marble flooring create an extraordinarily flamboyant space. Gilded rails and scalloped balcony add extra bling to its mezzanine level.
Today, the library’s main room is full of clocks, antique globes, books, and more books.
Bibliotheca Alexandria – Alexandria, Egypt
The Bibliotheca Alexandria library features a combination of historical interior and etched exterior that combine excellently to create a dazzling look. It was inaugurated in 2002 to honor it as the world’s largest library. Before a fire that razed it down 2000 years ago, the original library had the largest book collection in the world.
An architect from Norway, Snohetta, redesigned the new library. This library has a planetarium, a manuscript restoration lab, four museums, four art galleries, and eight million books. The building’s exterior etches portrays an evolution of human language. Without a doubt, the Bibliotheca Alexandria Library is one of the most beautiful libraries worldwide.
Old Library, Trinity College – Dublin
Visiting the old Library is one of the must-dos while in Dublin. It is in the city center. Going to Trinity College to have a glimpse of the Book of Kells is also necessary. Just like the 9th-century manuscript, the Old Library’s surroundings are spectacular.
The eighteenth-century, 65m long room is home to more than 200,000 old books. It also houses an array of valuable books highlighting life in the western world. Exhibitions are usually held inside the Long Room to highlight the library’s rich holdings. High-end art imaging tech has been handy at rescanning the Book of Kells transparencies to offer highly accurate resolution images.
The library was completed in 1733. This 213-foot wooden masterpiece houses more than 6 million texts in its four separate buildings. Architect Thomas Burgh was the brains behind the barrel-like ceilings as well as a detailed column that house the institution’s oldest collection.
Bodleian Library and Divinity Schools – Oxford
This is the United Kingdom’s foremost library. Humble-bragging students call the library the ”Bod.” It is among the oldest in Europe.
For the last four hundred years, it has stocked all books printed in the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that it is a remarkable sight. The library has 12 million books that are spread across various underground passageways and buildings around town.
Tours that are guided begin from the main, butter-colored quadrangle through to the ”Duke Humfrey’s Medieval Library.” Tours can also take you to the circular Radcliffe Camera which is immortalized in several episodes of Inspector Morse.
While touring the library, create some time for visiting the 15th-century Divinity School. It constitutes a similar intricate building featuring an arched roof wafting over the extended hallway. The fact that the Harry Potter lot commandeered this part as a film set paints a picture of its beautiful nature.
Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana – Florence
It is almost given that a library in Florence, Italy’s renaissance capital, is beyond beautiful. It forms part of the San Lorenzo church, the Medici’s family church. This library started operations in 1571. Michelangelo was the library’s designer.
The library has an isolated section that stores the Medici rule collection. It is full of early printed texts and illuminated manuscripts. Vasari was bowled over by the building’s design which wraps around a cloister. The impressive reading space features unique desks and seats that span centuries.
This library has over 4,500 early printed books and more than 11,000 manuscripts. Regular exhibitions are also available.
Austrian National Library – Vienna
This is Austria’s most spectacular library. Situated in Vienna, it is the country’s biggest.
In 1723, it opened its doors as a royal library. It brings with it an extraordinary combination of traditional library design and baroque flair. Outstanding marble statues alternate between shelves. Frescoed ceilings and ionic columns prop up the bookcases. Marble carpeting offers the library the eccentric elaborate touch.
Guided tours are on offer upon visit. Alternatively, you can visit alone. A tiny display section exists inside the public library.
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana – Venice, Italy
More than 40,000 visitors visit Venice every day. Many of them visit the library. It is located several floors into the Museo Correr, which is a beautiful arcade that stretches along the top floor. It encompasses the well-known U-shaped square.
The library is among Italy’s oldest surviving libraries. It was designed by Sansovino, hung with Tintoretto’s and Titians. The library is full of antique manuscripts and globes from the 15th century onwards.
This public library in Venice was founded in 1468. The world’s highest selection of classical scripts worldwide. The library derived its name from St. Mark, the city’s patron saint.
Central Library of Vancouver – Canada
This popular library in Vancouver, Canada is modeled after the Roman Colosseum. It takes up an entire city block. The Central Library, with nine floors, also houses offices, cafes, and shops. The public can access the open roof garden that is open round the clock.
It is dedicated to addressing lifelong learning, reading as well as the needs of Vancouver residents. It has been serving residents of the city and surrounding areas for over 100 years. It is home to more than 9.5 million digital and physical items including magazines, music, movies, eBooks, and books.
Compared to libraries in 21 locations within Canada, this one is the most visited city library per capita.
George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland
It dates to 1857 when the Peabody Institution was founded. In that year, a Massachusetts-born philanthropist, George Peabody, dedicated the library to Baltimore citizens in appreciation of their ”hospitality and kindness.”
Designed by Baltimore architect, Edmund G. Lind, the library opened its doors in 1878. Edmund partnered with Dr. Nathaniel H. Morrison, the first provost of the institute to come up with the design.
The library’s stack room has five attractive cast-iron gallery tiers that rise to 61-feet above. Over 300,000 volumes of scripts majorly from the nineteenth century are available. Most of them touch on history, topography, architecture, British art, and religion.
New York Public Library – New York
The New York Public Library, part of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, has four major research libraries. It features 88 branch libraries that are situated in Staten Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Often referred to as the ” main branch,” it houses outstanding research collections in the social sciences and humanities.
A circulation collection of children is also available. Over the years, the library has evolved to become one of the leading public resources for the study of human experience, action, and thought. Everything from archaeology and anthropology to literature, world history, sports, and history is available here.
Whenever you are in the City of New York and need a quiet place to hang out, this is the place to be.
Bodleian Library, Oxford, England
This library is among the most recognized and celebrated in the world, not only for its outstanding building but also incomparable book collection. The Bodleian Library in Oxford, England offers outstanding amenities to back the study, training, and cultural objectives of Oxford University. It advances and upholds admittance to the city’s inimitable collections touching on culture and student grants.
It holds over 13 million printed items and more than 80,000 e-journals. In addition to that, there is an outstanding special collection that includes manuscripts, rare books, and printed ephemera. Are you into classical art, music, maps, and papyri?
Interested parties can learn more about the collections through the library’s online portal here.
Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic
This is among the most attractive ancient libraries worldwide. It is located close to Petrin Hill and Prague Castle. The library is regularly listed among the top sightseeing locations in the world. It was established in the twelfth century.
Ranking among the Czech land’s oldest monasteries that still serve their purpose, it is open to the public throughout the year. Tours are conducted almost every day. Theological Hall, is the library’s oldest section. It was founded between 1671-1674. In this section, plenty of theological writings and different Bible publications and translations are available.
The Library of El Escorial, Spain
This is an important Resurgence-era library. At one point, monks and monarchs used to hang out here. In the 16th century, Spain’s King Phillip II wanted to erect a library that would hold manuscripts and books of theology and philosophy. King Phillip also wanted his library to house instruments of scientific learning like astrolabes both terrestrial and celestial, maps of the world, and ornate globes.
Architectural and mathematical genius Juan de Herrera designed the library. It is the premier library in Europe to discontinue the medieval rigid beliefs on beautification and construction. Some folks opine that the plan and beautification of Rome’s Vatican library borrowed its ideas from the Library of El Escorial.
Rampur Raza Library, Rampur, India
A fortress and pearl home of Indo Islamic sculptures and education, this is another beautiful library in the world. The one-time Rampur State, founded in 1774 by Nawab Khan, set up the library. Nawab was the ruler of the State until 1794. The library hosts Mughal miniature paintings, historical documents, and valuable manuscripts. Over several years, Nawab added countless collections to the library.
This is without a doubt among the world’s magnificent and unparalleled repository of cultural treasure and history. In addition to the above-mentioned items, the library also houses rare illustrated works in Persian and Arabic languages on top of 60,000 printed books.
Wiblingen Monastery Library
The Wiblingen Monastery library was founded in 1093. It features a beautiful ornate interior with a zigzagging gallery that is buoyed by several columns. The sweeping ceiling fresco and numerous statues represent the architect’s vision of the library is a place that preserves ‘treasures of science and wisdom.’
Over the years, the library has undergone countless restorations. Today, it stands out as one of the most beautiful historic libraries in the world. Both the library and church nearby are always open to the public. The busts of color that radiate from the sculptures to books and portraits take you back in time.
Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading
The Royal Portuguese library is a Lusophony cultural institution. It is situated in Rio de Janeiro. The time magazine listed this library as the world’s 4th most beautiful library. The publication displays its style, antiquity as well as a vast selection of lusophone items. It houses the largest selection of Portuguese works outside the country.
43 Portuguese immigrants and political refugees formed this institution to promote culture among the community in the then main capital of Brazil’s empire. Its architectural design conjures the boisterous Gothic-Renaissance design which was popular during the Portuguese ancient time.
Biblioteca Joanina – Coimbra, Portugal
One of Coimbra’s headlines sight is the University of the Baroque library. It derived its name from King Joao the V. He funded the construction of the building between the years 1717 and 1728. The library features a striking central hall that is decorated with intricate ceiling murals coupled with big ebony, rosewood, and jacaranda tables.
Its towering gilt chinois Erie shelves hold more than 40,000 books touching mainly on theology, philosophy, and law. Curiously, it also houses a colony of bats that ‘protect’ the book by eating potentially harmful insects.
The library strictly regulates admission. The entry is in groups at set times. Entrants use a side door to gain access and must wait for admission to the main hall.
The Morgan Library & Museum – New York
Pierpont Morgan, whose name the library bears was an influential financier of the 1920s was a voracious collector of books and a host of other items. He purchased on an astonishing scale. Morgan collected art objects in almost every medium including ancient artifacts, prints, drawings, manuscripts, and even rare books. All these are at the core of this library.
The new reading space is currently twice its previous seating size. It comes complete with electronic services and an array of new workstations. Currently, it addresses the requirements of researchers. It is among the best well-maintained and fully stocked libraries not only in the city of New York but also across the country.
Biblioteca Vasconcelos Library – Mexico, City, Mexico
This is a jaw-dropping ” mega library” which turns book-browsing into a geometric adventure. While the world is teeming with stunning libraries, few manage to seamlessly cater to design, history, and people in such an admirable manner as this one. Situated on the northern side of Mexico City, it was designed by Alberto Kalach.
It was completed in 2007 after several years of consecutive building. The library covers more than 38,000 square meters. This temple of knowledge boasts the nickname megalibrary due to its undeniable sense of massive size.
Visitors get lost in the library’s transparent walls, intricate networks of paths and balconies coupled with intentionally slightly mismatched floors.
The Tianjin Binhai Library – Tianjin, China
The Tianjin Binhai Library is nicknamed The Eye. So why is it also known as ‘The Eye?’ It has that name because of the sphere that looks like an iris because it is visible from outside the library via an iris-shaped opening.
Featuring five levels, it takes a total space of 33,700 square meters. It has interlinked bookshelves with a capacity of 1.2 million books. A big and glowing space at the middle acts as an amphitheater. It can hold 110 people.
The library’s second and first rooms contain reading rooms and lounge areas. The floors above have offices, meeting rooms and computer rooms.
Library of the Canadian Parliament – Ottawa, Canada
The Library of the Canadian Parliament was founded in 1876. Thomas Fuller and Chilion Jones were the brains behind its design. They got inspiration from the Britain Museum. This beautiful library acts as the main research center of the Canadian government. The statue of Queen Victoria is placed over the countless volumes of text in the library.
There is more to the Library of Parliament in Canada than being just an iconic building. Annually, roughly 350,000 visitors found their way into the library. Countless educational resources and programs are available to equip visitors with all the information they need to know regarding Canada.
Beitou Public Library – Taipei, Taiwan
This is the city’s foremost green library. It started its operations in November 2006. Designers of this two-story building constructed it to curb electricity and water consumption. Bio-Architecture Formosana is the brains behind the library’s design.
A striking feature of the library is its large windows that are handy at reducing electricity consumption. Its roof is partially covered with photovoltaic cells for purposes of generating electricity and capture rainwater for storage and flushing toilets.
You can access the library easily within walking distance east from the Taipei Metro’s Xinbeitou Station.
Tama Art University Library – Tokyo, Japan
Located in Tokyo, Japan, the Tama Art University Library is associated with Tama Art University. It has two library branches in Tokyo, Japan – one on the Kaminoge campus and the Hachioji campus. Together, these serve university faculty and students as an information hub and database with a focus on research and art education.
The collection in the library includes materials on photography, film, architecture, and design. Collections of other related areas of study are also available. You can find over 1,500 periodicals, 47,000 foreign books, and 77,000 Japanese books. Most of the reference materials focus primarily on subjects like design, art, and architecture.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France – Paris, France
This library also goes by the name ”National Library of France” is France’s national library. It is situated in Paris. The library acts as a national repository of everything published in the country. In addition to that, it holds extensive historical collections.
Its roots go back to the imperial library that was established in 1368. Charles V, who instituted its construction, had gotten a collection of manuscripts from John II his predecessor. He transferred them to Louvre from the Palais de la Cite.
As of 2016, the library has approximately 14 million books. Other items that constitute the collection here include sound documents, photographs, prints, manuscripts, printed documents, scenery elements, and multimedia documents.
State Library of South Australia – North Terrace, Adelaide, Australia
Formerly known as the Public Library of South Africa, it acts as South Australia’s official library. In terms of public research, it is the biggest library within the state. Its assortment emphasizes information touching on South Australia. It is a repository of all audiovisual material that is printed and published in the state.
All files documenting South Australia from pre-European settlement up to date are available in the library. There is also general reference material that comes in an array of formats including microfiche, photographs, video recordings, sound recordings, film, and digital recordings. Other resources such as journals and newspapers are also available.
Stuttgart City Library – Stuttgart, Germany
Boldly plundering historical sources, this library is full of surprises and rich in allusion. The opening ceremony of the library was on October 21, 2011. This library enjoys a grand physical presence. It takes the form of a cube featuring an edge length of 45 meters.
Pale gray fair-faced concrete was utilized to construct this library. The shell’s double façade contains a glass brick-level as well as an inner transom/mullion façade that acts as a thermal building shell. ”Cenotaph for Newton” inspired the symmetry and form of the building’s entrance.
Borrowing of media items happens at the ground floor’s self-service terminals. You will need a library pass to borrow anything from the library.
Seattle Central Library – Seattle, USA
The lustrous and unique design and style of this library give it an upper hand in Seattle. Among the designers of the impressive building is Architect Rem Koolhaas. Together with others in this team, they sought to develop the library to be among the most stunning in the world.
The library has been part of the Seattle community ever since it was founded. From its inception in 1891, it has tremendously grown from just one reading room at Pioneer Square to owning a renowned library system in the world. Currently, it has 27 branches. Find more information about this library here.
Some of the other dazzling libraries in the world include:
- Macquarie University Library
- National Library of Brazil
- UNAM Central Library
- Peckham Library
- Brandenburg University of Technology Library
- Vennesla Library and Culture House
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