The World’s Top Five Libraries – In One Reader’s Opinion
Libraries provide a haven for many people. They can be a place to escape reality and dive into new and distant worlds. But some libraries are just so amazing that it makes it hard to want to leave! Here are a few favorites to inspire your next library trip!
1. The Reading Room, The British Museum, London, England
This library is truly one-of-a-kind, with its dome constructed from a form of papier-mâché and its long list of famous visitors, including Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, and Mahatma Gandhi! This definitely isn’t a place you go to bury your head in a book – take the time to absorb your surroundings and feel the history in everything around you.
2. Vatican Library, Vatican City, Rome, Italy
As one of the oldest libraries in the world, this library has some unique offerings, from its intricately decorated interiors to the oldest complete manuscript of the Bible and other medieval manuscripts. Not many libraries are as beautiful to look at, and it certainly makes you not want to leave!
3. Seattle Central Library, Seattle, Washington, USA
This library is an architectural masterpiece in itself, with the glass and steel design drawing in admirers from around the world. Within this structure are over 1.45 million books arranged in an open and airy space designed to dispel the usual image of a library as dark and dinghy. This creative space is sure to inspire some reading or writing juices with a visit here.
4. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, New York, USA
Picture a library in your mind, and you won’t be far off what this amazing library looks like. This is the private collection of the banking giant J.P. Morgan, and it holds some incredible pieces, including Charles Dicken’s manuscript of A Christmas Carol and many drawings by famous artists including Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. The wooden shelving and delicately painted ceiling give this library the traditional feel without the imposing nature that can put some people off.
5. The Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt
The original library of Alexandria was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. However, it was sadly destroyed by a fire almost two millennia ago. The replacement is no less impressive, costing $220 million to rebuild in 2002. As a wonder of the modern world in its own right, this library also serves as a cultural hub, containing manuscript restoration labs, art galleries and exhibition spaces, and even a planetarium! The restocking of this library is ongoing, and it has space to hold over eight million books.
This is a mere handful of the world’s most amazing libraries, so as you can see, there are plenty to be discovered. What’s clear is that these incredible structures are keen to embrace their history and stay relevant for the modern world, which is crucial for keeping visitors engaged.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash