Libraries are not just a place to store books, they are also a treasure trove of knowledge, culture, and history. My love of reading and writing (learn more about my published books and newspaper columns here) was instilled at a very young age, always visiting my little library in elementary school and also walking to the local library. I remember how fun it was going through the little wooden drawers to retrieve an index card!

Today, I belong to a wonderful women’s book club where we meet to discuss the month’s book over wine and appetizers. It was my idea for each person to bring a food dish that was mentioned in (or reflective of) the book. If you love reading and book clubs, be sure to visit my Goodreads Author page and follow me here.

For convenience, I purchase most of my books online and when I have time, I love to stop in at a large chain bookstore near the mall. While on a cruise, you can find me at the pool or at the library!

If you miss going to the library as much I do, there are many fascinating libraries in the world, each with its own unique architecture, collections, and stories.

Here are some of the most captivating libraries in the world:

  1. Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with over 170 million items in its collections.

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The library was established in 1800 and has since then grown to become a symbol of American knowledge and culture.

It is home to some of the most important historical documents in American history, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Gutenberg Bible.

  1. Trinity College Library, Dublin

Trinity College Library in Dublin is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

The library was established in 1592 and is home to over 6 million books, manuscripts, and other treasures.

The library’s most famous room is the Long Room, which is lined with over 200,000 books and features a stunning barrel-vaulted ceiling.

  1. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France is the national library of France and is located in Paris.

The library was established in 1461 and has since then grown to become one of the largest libraries in the world with over 14 million books and other materials.

The library’s most notable feature is its four glass towers, which house the library’s most valuable collections.

  1. The Royal Library of Alexandria, Egypt

The Royal Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world.

It was established in the 3rd century BC and housed a vast collection of books, manuscripts, and other documents from around the world.

Although the library was destroyed centuries ago, its legacy lives on in modern-day Alexandria.

  1. Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Bodleian Library in Oxford is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, dating back to the 14th century.

The library is home to over 12 million items, including manuscripts, rare books, and maps.

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The library’s most famous room is the Divinity School, which was built in the 15th century and features stunning Gothic architecture.

  1. The National Library of China, Beijing

The National Library of China is the largest library in Asia and one of the largest in the world.

The library was established in 1909 and is home to over 37 million items, including books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s most notable feature is its striking modern architecture, which includes a massive glass dome.

  1. The Vatican Library, Rome

The Vatican Library is one of the oldest and most significant libraries in the world.

It was established in the 15th century and is home to over 1.1 million books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s collections include some of the most important works of Western literature, including Dante’s Divine Comedy and Galileo’s letters.

  1. New York Public Library, New York City

The New York Public Library is one of the largest and most important libraries in the world.

It was established in 1895 and is home to over 55 million items, including books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s most famous room is the Rose Main Reading Room, which features stunning architecture and a ceiling mural by artist James Wallis.

  1. The Austrian National Library, Vienna

The Austrian National Library is one of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in Europe.

It was established in the 14th century and is home to over 12 million items, including manuscripts, rare books, and maps.

The library’s most notable feature is its stunning Baroque architecture, which includes ornate ceilings, marble floors, and intricate frescoes.

  1. The Library of Alexandria, Egypt

The Library of Alexandria is a modern-day reincarnation of the ancient library that once stood in the city.

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The new library was established in 2002 and is home to over 8 million books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s stunning modern architecture includes a glass facade and a tilted roof that offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

  1. The Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro

The Royal Portuguese Reading Room is one of the most stunning libraries in South America.

It was established in the late 19th century and is home to over 350,000 books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s most notable feature is its ornate Neo-Manueline architecture, which includes intricate carvings and stunning stained-glass windows.

  1. The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is one of the most important libraries in the world for rare books and manuscripts.

It was established in 1963 and is home to over 1 million items, including rare books, manuscripts, and photographs.

The library’s most notable feature is its stunning modern architecture, which includes a massive cube made of translucent marble.

  1. The Library of Birmingham, England

The Library of Birmingham is one of the most modern and innovative libraries in the world.

It was established in 2013 and is home to over 1 million books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s most notable feature is its striking modern architecture, which includes a glass facade and a rooftop garden.

  1. The National Library of Sweden, Stockholm

The National Library of Sweden is one of the oldest and most significant libraries in Scandinavia.

It was established in the 16th century and is home to over 18 million items, including books, manuscripts, and other materials.

The library’s most notable feature is its stunning architecture, which includes a beautiful reading room with a vaulted ceiling and ornate decorations.

  1. The John Rylands Library, Manchester

The John Rylands Library is one of the most important libraries in the UK for rare books and manuscripts.

It was established in the late 19th century and is home to over 1.4 million items, including rare books, manuscripts, and archives.

The library’s most notable feature is its stunning Gothic architecture, which includes intricate carvings and beautiful stained-glass windows.

The End

In conclusion, these are just a few of the most fascinating libraries in the world. Each library offers a unique experience and a wealth of knowledge, culture, and history. Whether you are a book lover, a history buff, or an architecture enthusiast, these libraries are definitely worth a visit.

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Image by Tünde from Pixabay.