Hello bookish people! How are you? Can you feel summer’s coming??! I sure do! June was a busy month with work and since there were not a lot of days off like there were in May…it was back to that little routine. But damn I love it when the sun is shining, when the flowers are in full bloom, when the sky is clear blue.
I’m back today on the blog with a topic I wanted to talk about for a pretty long time : my top 10 dream libraries around the world. Yeah…it turns out you can judge a book by its cover or at least the library where it sits. Of course there are SO many gorgeous librairies across the globe, big ones, small ones, famous ones you can see everywhere on instagram and underrated ones we don’t even know about. So in my top 10 list, I probably missed a lot of them but well…here are some of the prettiest ones I found.
All pictures are from talented photographers on unsplash.com unless stated otherwise.
🌪 10. Beitou Public Library / Taipei, Taiwan
It’s Taiwan’s first green library! Its thoughtful design saves energy as the large amount of windows allow natural light to substitute interior lighting, and ventilation reduces the need for air-conditioning. The woods that used to build the library are woods from managed forests. The roof of this building is partially covered by photovoltaic cells to converts sunlight into electricity. Beitou Library also conserves water by capturing rainfall and stored to use for the library’s toilets. All those eco-friendly features and that unique architecture totally make it to my top 10!
🌪 9. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / New York, USA
This landmark Beaux-Arts building contains research collections in the humanities and social sciences plus a children’s library, home to the real Winnie-the-Pooh. It’s guarded by the world-famous marble lions Patience and Fortitude and it houses that breathtaking Rose Main Reading Room, nearly the length of a football field! It totally makes me want to study, it seems peaceful, quiet and just plain gorgeous! Did you know it was built on a reservoir? Were you aware that under the Reading Room lies 88 miles of bookshelves, on seven floors??! It’s all very fascinating!
🌪 8. Bodleian Library, Oxford University / Oxford, England
There are actually other Bodleian libraries, about 40, that all serve the University of Oxford. Together they hold 13 million printed items! It’s the second largest library in the UK, after the British library. I got lucky enough to see that building with my own two eyes and let me tell you it is gorgeous! Known to many Oxford scholars as ‘the Bod’, these buildings attract an ever-increasing number of visitors and students from all over the world. I can totally see myself with my backpack, going to the library to study for a big exam and ending up staring at that lovely architecture!
🌪 7. National Library of France / Paris, France
So I’m French, I live in France, I’ve been to Paris a thousand times and I haven’t see this yet! What the hell??! I’m putting it on my list right this second! The National Library of France, or BNF for short, is the national repository of all that is published in France and it holds extensive historical collections. There are actually seven sites in Paris, the main one being the library François Mitterrand located on the left bank of the Seine. On the photo below, you can see the oval reading room located at the Richelieu site and I’m in awe, aren’t you? It screams French and that architecture is pretty impressive don’t you think?
🌪 6. Stuttgart City Library / Stuttgart, Germany
From the outside, this 9-storey building looks like a giant cube, with an edge length of 45 meters. It’s one of the biggest public libraries in the world and it sets important standards concerning culture and the availability of knowledge and education. In fact, the architects chose to express the importance of this cultural center by giving the building a grand physical presence. The interior design is geometric and well-structured. And look at all that white! It looks so pristine! It makes the books really stand out.
🌪 5. Royal Portuguese Reading Room / Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I’m a sucker for floor to ceiling bookshelves and I would totally be in heaven here! This little gem contains the largest collection of Portuguese texts outside of Portugal itself. The plain exterior masks the inside which is absolutely beautiful! Look at all those lavish decorations, historical settings and wooden bookcases! Plus, the ceiling of the Reading Room has that gorgeous chandelier and pretty skylight. Who’s coming with me to admire it for real?
🌪 4. Zhongshuge Bookstore / Shanghai, China
I feel like I just stepped into a dream! This bookstore has a pretty gorgeous aesthetic with haphazard geometry and mirrored ceilings. Lots of people are saying that the designer got his inspiration from the movie Inception. There is this awesome section for children with vibrant colours and shelves shaped like mountains. There is also some cushioned ‘caves’ where you can read peacefully away from the crowd. Plus, you’re promised to be dazzled by ‘infinite tunnels’ and Alice In Wonderland themes! Okay…I’m moving in!
🌪 3. Central Library / Vancouver, Canada
This library, the third-largest public library in Canada, has more than 6.9 million visits. Its nine-story rectangular box, which is resembling the Colosseum in Rome, is surrounded by a colonnaded wall featuring reading and study areas that you access by bridges. The floor to ceiling windows offer natural light and an almost 360 degree view of the surrounding city. And you know what? There is a greenroof at the top of the building! Isn’t that amazing?
🌪 2. Geelong Library And Heritage Centre / Victoria, Australia
Constructed with 322 panels of glass reinforced concrete, this library is better known as ‘the Dome’ or even ‘the Brain’. It’s modern, contemporary and near-futuristic, I love it! There is this brilliantly red third floor (walls, furniture, ALL IN RED!), which is dedicated to history and is one of the more striking examples of the libraries’ devotion to showcasing both a digital and physical collection. Spread over six levels, you can catch a pretty awesome view from the open-air balcony at the very top.
🌪 1. Old Library, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland
And my number one is…this beauty!! I’ve visited this one with my sister and let me tell you it’s jaw-dropping! The photo below is displaying what it’s called ‘The Long Room’ which is 65-metre-long and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books in oak bookcases. Stepping into this room is like walking into a movie set. Actually, sci-fi fans may recognize the room’s resemblance to the Jedi Archives from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Plus, it smells like books…I promise you, it’s true!
What did you think of my choices? In your opinion, what are some of the most beautiful libraries or bookstores across the globe? Ever visited one?
Would you like to take a world tour and visit every single one of them? What are the things you enjoy the most in a library?
Let’s chat in comments 💬