If you are one of those people who thinks that libraries are only for studying, these libraries will prove you wrong!
These amazing buildings can be found all around the world and certainly have the most eye-catching design and architecture. When entering these places, it is not like going to a normal library; moreover, is like entering a wonderful world made of books. Reading in a place like this will makes you to not ever want to stop reading again! The surroundings and atmosphere is further remarkable, the buildings are made with care, the books are written with a purpose and the city tells you a story. The libraries make you relax and give you the peace to feel the joy of reading.
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# 1 François-Mitterrand Library, Paris
The National Library of France is the most important library in France and moreover one of the oldest in the world; it is on Quai François Mauriac street in Paris, but its activities are spread over different locations in France. In addition, a decree of the year 1537, which is still in force, requires that the BnF keep a copy of all the works published in the country!
# 2 Mazarin Library, Paris
The Mazarin Library is the oldest public library in France. It is on the Conti quay, specifically in the Moneda neighborhood of the 6th district of Paris. This place constitutes a “library of a center of scientific and literary interest”. In addition, its collections, created over time, were originally born in the personal library of Cardinal Mazarino (1602-1661); and today contain around 600,000 volumes.
# 3 Angelica Library, Rome
The Angelica Library is, by virtue of the nature of its books, a point of reference for those who wish to study the thought of Saint Augustine and the history of his order, the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. It is in Rome, in the Piazza Sant’Agostino. Most importantly, the library’s assets are around 2,700 Latin, Greek and Oriental manuscripts, 24,000 individual documents, and much more. Likewise, it has large stocks of contemporary books.
# 4 Boston Public Library, Boston
The Boston Public Library is the largest and first municipal library in the United States; in addition, it was the first large bookstore open to the public in the United States and further the first public library that allowed the loan of its funds to take home. According to the American Library Association, this library has for instance more than 15 million books and is the third largest in the United States after the Library of Congress and Harvard University. Its collections also include for instance 600,000 photographs, works by Rembrandt, Dürer, Goya, Daumier, Toulouse-Lautrec and 350,000 old maps.
# 5 Bodleian Library, Oxford
The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, England. It is one of the oldest libraries in Europe; and in England it is only outnumbered by the British Library. In 1911, the “Copyright Act” maintained the agreement with the stationary; subsequently making the Bodleian one of the UK libraries depositories of a copy of each copyrighted book.
# 6 Thomas Fisher rare book library, Toronto
The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is a library in the University of Toronto; further making itself the largest repository of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada. In addition, the library is home to the university archives; this contains, for instance, the papers of many important Canadian literary figures including Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen.
# 7 Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, Paris
The Biblioteca de Santa Genoveva is a French public library in Paris, on the Place du Pantheon and houses approximately two million documents; Its collections include more than 4,300 manuscripts, printed matter, photographs and art objects. Its architectural interest lies in being one of the few examples of iron architecture that remain from that century; although on the outside it imitates the Renaissance style.
# 8 Sorbonne Interuniversity Library, Paris
The Sorbonne Interuniversity Library is further an inter-university library in Paris, France. In addition, it is a medieval institution of the Sorbonne; which subsequently evolved over the centuries as part of the University of Paris. The library consists of five sections and furthermore by 2005 the number of books had increased to 2.5 million under 17,750 headings with 3,500 manuscripts and more. The collection occupies 40 km of shelf space. It has two reading rooms with seating for 318 and has 13,780 registered members.
# 9 Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
The Thomas Jefferson Building is the oldest of the four buildings in the United States Library of Congress. Built between 1890 and 1897, it was originally known as the Library of Congress Building and is on First Street SE. This library is essentially both the national library of the U.S. and the country’s oldest federal cultural institution. The development of a new building was necessary in part because of the growth of Congress, but also in part because of the Copyright Act of 1870; which required all copyright applicants to submit two copies of their work to the Library. That resulted in an avalanche of books, brochures, maps, music, prints, and photographs.
# 10 Abbey Library of Saint Gall, St. Gallen
The Abbey Library of Saint Gall is the oldest library in Switzerland. In addition, the library is home to roughly 160,000 volumes, including manuscripts dating back to the 8th century. In 1983, the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization named the library a World Heritage site; moreover, calling it a “a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery”.
# 11 The Senate Library, Paris
The Senate Library is the heir to the libraries of the assemblies which subsequently have followed one another at the Luxembourg Palace; since the creation of the first Senate at the end of the French Revolution in 1799. The Library’s collection for instance includes 370,000 volumes, of which 12,800 are old (prior to 1830) and 9,300 are considered precious, as well as 6,500 manuscripts and 45,000 prints.
# 12 Austrian National Library, Vienna
The Austrian National Library is responsible for further managing the collection of all publications that appear in Austria. Moreover, the library is currently at Hofburg Palace and the baroque Palais Mollard-Clary; housing 7.4 million items within its comprehensive collection. For instance, works of special prominence include the world’s foremost Globe collection, rare books dating from the 4th century, a UNESCO Memory of the World Program item and a map collection that dates back to the 16th century.
# 13 Vallicelliana Library, Rome
The Vallicelliana Library is a library in Rome, Italy; in the Oratorio dei Filippini complex. The library holds about 130,000 volumes of manuscripts, incunabula, and books. In this number of manuscripts written in Latin and Greek, you will find for instance the Bible of Alcuin from the 9th century, lectionary from the 12th century etc. In addition, the library holds documents from the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.
# 14 Barcelonian Athenaeum, Barcelona
The Ateneo Barcelonés is a civil association; founded in Barcelona in 1860 with Joan Agell as president and Manuel Milà i Fontanals as librarian. Certainly, from the beginning of its creation it gained great prestige as a center for promoting culture: it held conferences and exhibitions. However, the headquarters was remodeled and declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest by Royal Decree 476/1981 and is included in the Heritage Catalog of the Barcelona City Council.