Libraries. A most wonderful place for us book lovers to hibernate and delve into another world. A place which is our Narnia. Where we seek adventure and be around others who also love to get lost in a story.
1. Jay Walker Privare Library, Ridgefield, Conneticut
If I could have a library in my house, I can pretty much guarantee that it'll look like this. I love the tall bookshelves and how crisp and exciting it is in there. I'd spend hours on end in here. Although this library is private, it's still so beautiful to look at.
2. The Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra, Portugal
Stunning. The colours, the grand bookshelves and how beautifully crafted it looks in there. I can't even imagine visiting a library this incredible.
3. Vennesla Library and Culture House, Vennesla, Norway
Going for the futuristic look, I love how tidy and organised it seems to be in here. Each section seems to have some kind of seating, and that's always an issue in libraries for me. Never enough seating. I wish to admire my book before taking it out, thanks! Plus, it's in Norway. I've always wanted to visit!
4. Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Wow. Chandeliers, various floors and very tall bookshelves in such a stunning hall. I'd be in complete awe if I walked in here. It's classy, posh and incredibly breathtaking. If our local library was even a tenth of this, I would be happy.
6. Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland
When I first saw this, it reminded me a little of Downton Abbey if I'm honest! But I just love old buildings, and this just looks so charming and elegant. I can imagine so much history from the Trinisty College, and one day, I hope to visit as I've yet to see Ireland.
7. Seattle Central Library, Seattle, WA
The architecture of the Seattle Central Library is so quirky and different. Not only is it in such a beautiful city but I could see myself getting lost between the bookshelves in here. It's modern, stylish and delicate. Definitely want to visit here in the future.
8. Philological Library of the Free University, Berlin, Germany
It looks like a hot air balloon library! How cool is this library, the shape really makes it different from the rest and I love unusual looking buildings. Unique and modern, yet holds thousands of fantastic stories, a wonderful getaway for any book lover.
9. Geisel Library, University of California, San Diego
This is something else. I love the simple and clean look, the students at the University of California are lucky people! Such a gorgeous building and it holds such wonders inside.
10. Kansas City Central Library, Kansas City
It's a library that's a bookshelf. It's a giant bookshelf. How could you not love this library? As soon as I saw it, I knew it had to go on my list. Book spines and some absolute classics covering the outside - they're smart people!
1. The Hogwarts library, Scotland, UK
It's not a Top 10 list unless we cheat, and it's not cheating unless we manage to work Harry Potter into it. In the case of the Hogwarts library, however, it's more than mere capriciousness on our part. As two souls who have grown up with this book series and were in many ways molded by it (look at us now, raving about libraries), the Hogwarts library was our first foray into a love of that quiet place, both inside and out, through which we step into different lives, different shoes, different worlds. And it all started with a library.
2. Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal
While on the subject of Harry Potter, Livraria Lello in Portugal is partly famous for its stunning art nouveau decor and diversity of choice in books, and partly for hosting J.K. Rowling while she worked on the Harry Potter series during the time she spent in Portugal. It doubles as both a bookstore and a coffee shop, and it has an added benefit of being somewhat reminiscent of Borgin & Burke's. Consider us enthralled.
3. Cafebrería The Pendulum (Mexico City)
Architects struggle and struggle with ways to bring the outdoors - indoors. Especially with libraries and bookstores, which have a particular propensity for floor-to-ceiling shelves which effectively eliminate the possibility of natural lighting. Bub then Cafebrería The Pendulum comes along and combines the best of the outdoors with the best of the indoors, and then adds books to the mix. It is also very much another copout pick for us, as The Pendulum is more of a bookstore/coffeeshop mix than an actual library. But, hey, it was just too special to leave off this list.
4. Karlovačka Gimnazija Library, Serbia
When it comes to libraries at large, to state that one has a rare manuscript collection is really not that rare. But to have this rare manuscript collection in one of the two high school libraries in a school nearly as old as the United States is an achievement in its own right, and merits a place on this list, no questions asked. It is also one of the only picks on this list which doubles as nothing - not a bookstore, nor a coffee shop. Don't you dare spill anything on that regal-looking table which is probably older than your great-great grandfather!
5. Mill Valley Public Library, California, USA
Alongside the previous pick, Mill Valley is probably the smallest library in our list. But like the previous pick, it's one which abounds in charm. (Also, let us take a moment to appreciate that view.) Inside, the Mill Valley library also boasts the feat of being well-lit, airy, and reminiscent of the outdoors without the hassle of actually being outdoors and exposing the books to the elements. I sure love my outdoors, though. So it is perhaps no surprise that this is my pick.
6. Beauty and the Beast library, Disney
Cheating? I think not. Much like the Hogwarts library, this is one which may not be all that real (yet), but which nourished a love of books for an entire generation. The protagonist of the movie was the first-ever role model who advocated a love of literature which surpassed all other hobbies for many of us out there. And this library is the reason many of us like this list.
7. Admont Abbey, Austria
It's white. Probably a lot whiter than you think. Many of the books in this expansive library have been rebound in white and golden tones to match the decor of the library as a whole. Despite the costliness of this endeavor, we'd call the result a stunning, marvelous success - enough to earn it a place in our list(s). Also, let us all take a moment to appreciate that alliteration - Admont Abbey, Austria.
8. Strahov Monastery Library, Czech Republic
In true spirit of Czech Republic as a whole, and it's stunning architecture, the Strahov Monastery library is older than most modern nations, more impressive than most modern libraries, and more majestic than... just about anything, really. It's a feat to distract a reader from books in a library, but few can resist looking up in this beauty and admiring the art in the ceiling murals.
9. Selexyz (Maastricht), The Netherlands
No surprise - it doubles as a bookstore (it is, in fact, mostly a bookstore). Surprise - it's located in a former church, and every bit as grandiose as it seems. Unlike the previous pick, the Selexyz library/bookstore was not what the architects had in mind when they were first designing the building which now houses it. But it is exactly what the people of Maastricht wanted, needed and ultimately got once the chuch was converted to a reader's paradise - on several floors.
10. The George Peabody Library, Baltimore, USA
For all of us who admired Lara Croft's mansion in the first Tomb Raider movie and thought "If only it were twice as big - and made entirely out of books", the George Peabody Library is the answer to our prayers. (That size, that size!).
Share your favorite libraries with us! Share any libraries with us! Share your favorite bookstores with us and claim that they're libraries even when they're not. We don't mind. Or opt for fictional bookstores instead. As long as it's filled with books and we can look at it / imagine it, we're in love and you're our favorite person ever. We also welcome any and all recommendations/discussions/impressions on social media. Come one, come all.
TOP 10 BEAUTIFUL LIBRARIES
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub