This week (April 23-29) is National Library Week. To kick this awesome celebration of libraries off, let’s take a trip to some of the world’s most beautiful libraries!
1. Abbey Library of Saint Gall, St. Gallen, Switzerland
This library in Switzerland is one of the oldest in the world and one of the most important historical sites in Europe. First built as a monastic library in the 8th century, the Abbey Library of Saint Gall was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The library was secularized in the 1800s – its focus moved beyond simply serving the church, and towards serving the community and Switzerland as a whole. Today it is one of the most beautiful and historic sites in all of Europe.
2. Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The Library of Parliament in the Canadian province of Ontario is the official library of the Canadian Parliament. The main branch is known for its awe-inspiring Gothic architecture.
3. Seattle Central Library, Seattle, Washington, USA
Libraries often conjure images of old, historical buildings – but modern architecture can also be beautiful. Completed in 2004, the building is known for letting copious amounts of light into the inviting space.
4. George Peabody Library | Baltimore, Maryland, USA
The George Peabody Library is an academic library in Baltimore, Maryland. The library has a broad collection of items and is known for its open East Wing boasting neoclassical revival architecture.
5. Vancouver Public Library Central Branch | Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library in downtown Vancouver is simply stunning. The library evokes images of the Colosseum on the outside, with modern green space on the top. On the inside, a collection of over 1.4 million items awaits your exploration.
6. Library of Trinity College Dublin | Dublin, Ireland
Established in 1592, this historical library is not only stunning but holds great importance in Irish history and culture. The library serves important roles for the Irish government, such as that of a copyright office, as well as an academic library for Trinity College.
7. National Library of the Czech Republic | Prague, Czech Republic
Part of the Clementinum complex of buildings in Prague, the National Library is the biggest library in the Czech Republic and tasked with preserving Czech culture. It was established in 1777 and houses over 7 million total items. The building is known for its beautiful Baroque interiors.
8. Bibliotheca Alexandrina | Alexandria, Egypt
This national library serves to commemorate the historic Library of Alexandria of antiquity, which famously and tragically burned. The beautiful site is a new Library of Alexandria for the modern age, partnering with the Internet Archive to preserve digital ephemera and data.
9. Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This historic library honors the heritage of Portuguese immigrants in culture in Brazil. The colorful Gothic architecture is striking and makes this public place one of the most beautiful places to read and learn.
10. La Biblioteca Vasconcelos | Mexico City, Mexico
Another 21st century marvel, this library offers a cool escape from the outside world. Fraught with political and structural problems upon its opening, the library has since become an icon and the largest library of the Latin-speaking world.