Libraries have been and will always be a special place to me. Studying, reading, and learning in a calm environment is a privilege. This should be available to everyone all over the globe. They have been a great escape from home and my travel anxieties since I started traveling. My favorite way to travel is to sit down, grab a book and lose myself in it.
Some libraries are genuinely unique. You can lose yourself in the magnificence of many libraries, from ancient parchment collections to modern architectural wonders.
I reached out to my Instagram followers to celebrate National Library Week. They were asked to share photos of their unique libraries and my favorites.
John Rylands Library, Manchester
Since I first saw a picture of John Rylands Library, Manchester, I knew I had got to go. Last month, I was finally able to tour the impressive vaulted ceilings as well as hidden collections.
Although the building is late Victorian, it could be assumed that it was built in 1900. It is still open to the public. The wife of John Rylands founded it in his memory and name.
It’s now part of the University of Manchester and is an actual Hogwarts-style study room. This makes it one of the top highlights of any trip to Manchester. Mafra Palace Library
Mafra Palace Library in Portugal
The Mafra Palace is one of my favorite discoveries in Portugal so far.
Mafra, a city located less than an hour by bus from Lisbon, is compact, but the Mafra Palace reigns supreme. This vast building is UNESCO-listed; you can enter it for just EUR3.
The palace has many rooms and halls that you can explore, including the Library. Unfortunately, you are no longer permitted to enter the Library at the time I visited (Summer 2020). However, I wonder if this was a temporary Coronavirus change or permanent.
Mafra Palace was built in 1717 and completed by the Royal Family in 1755. It is one of many beautiful palaces in the country. Many of them are open to the public.
Anna Amalia Library
Anna Amalia Library in Weimar (Germany),
Because of its contributions to the arts and intellectual center in the early 1800s, the German town of Weimar has been designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tragically, the fire that devastated much of the decoration and books in the Library’s Library in 2004 caused extensive damage. However, a dedicated team restored around 60,000 volumes and the magnificent interior.
The original space, one of the first German public libraries, belonged to a royal art collection dating back to 1552. Over the years, it has been moved around in different rooms of the palace before finally finding its present, post-fire splendor. On your visit, you can also explore the gardens or other spaces in the court. Things to Do in the Cultural Heart of Germany
Biblioteca di Brera, Milan
It is part of Milan’s art institute and is open to the public as a library. It is one of the most important libraries in Italy. It contains legal, scientific, and historical texts. The Library’s mix of historical elements and modern computers, which makes it feel more alive than most historic libraries across Europe, is what I love about it.
It’s worth visiting if you’re in Milano because of its impressive architecture and beautiful courtyard. The stunning Library of Milan
Trinity College Library, Dublin
Before I drank too many Guinness in Dublin, I enjoyed a little culture at Trinty College Library. The University of Dublin’s most extensive Library is located here. It features dark woodwork and shelves filled with volumes. This building is a must-see on any tour of the city.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookshop Argentina
This grand building in Buenos Aires is not considered a library but a bookshop. It was initially a venue for performing arts when it opened in 1919. Today, it is one of the largest South American book stockists.
The theatre seats were taken out and replaced by shelving. Now you can browse the bookstore and find a quiet corner to read. You can even listen to live piano music if you’re lucky
This recommendation was made possible by Ben on Instagram.
Klementinum, Prague, Czech Republic
It’s a shame I didn’t visit this Library during my Prague visits. The Klementinum is Europe’s most significant building complex. The Baroque Library claims to be the most beautiful in the world.
Guided tours will take you through the magnificence of the Library with its 20,000-strong collection of books. It’s a masterpiece, and I’m eager to return to view it with my own eyes. This recommendation was made possible by Sarah on Instagram.
Yusuhara Community Library, Kochi, Japan
Yusuhara Community Library, Kochi, Japan
The surprise I didn’t expect on my trip to Japan was that I stumbled upon a library created by Kengo Kuma, the man who designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Stadium.
This charming Library is located in Yusuhara. It’s a beautiful setting in the mountains, and buried electric cables make it even more impressive.
He built many more buildings here, including a museum dedicated to his dedication. The Library is warm and open, with wooden beams rising from the ceiling, grand piano at the entry, and cozy corners to relax into. Its wooden cube-like exterior design is equally striking and fits perfectly with the region’s natural beauty. A visit to the Library is worth it for many other reasons.
Biblioteca Joanina Coimbra Portugal
This grand building was built in 1728. The three-floor Library, part of the University of Coimbra in the central Portugal’s University of Coimbra, was completed in 1728. I cannot wait to explore this city now that I live in the country.
The main room is stunning, with its towering dark wood bookshelves contrasted against the gold doors. You can also visit the academic prison beneath on your library tour.
This recommendation was made possible by Ana Rita via Instagram.
The Public Library of New York
The Public Library is one of the most recognizable libraries in the world. It hosts many talks, presentations, and a vast collection of books. This Library is an ideal place to learn.
The collection includes traditional books and digital media, which is over 50 million. It provides a tranquil respite from the bustle of New York City. Find out more.
Dougie on Instagram was kind enough to recommend it.
Carolina Rediviva Uppsala Sweden
This grand building, completed in 1841, combines clean-white bookshelves and chandeliers. The reading rooms are a place where height is a virtue. With tall columns and tall windows, they’re a spacious space that can be used to read snippets. The main hall, which houses over 5 million books, will amaze you with its light colors and impossibly delicate pieces.
The collection includes the “Silver Bible,” a rare 6th-century manuscript, and a map pack, an attractive draw for visitors to Uppsala. It also contains Mozart’s hand-written music notes. Additional information.
Thank you to Ade on Instagram for the recommendation.
The National Library of Finland
The National Library of Finland
After exploring Helsinki Cathedral, just across from my house, I saw this one.
Anttinen Oiva Architects’ Helsinki University Library has been awarded for its futuristic, white curved ceilings. But if you prefer libraries with intricate artwork and domed ceilings, the National Library of Finland might be worth a visit.
Stuttgart City Library, Germany
The ultra-modern white lines of the Stuttgart public library room, 40 m high, stand out against the rich finishes of its sister in Weimar. The light from the large square windows at night makes this box-shaped building seem alive.
The interior’s well-placed staircases, leading lines, and stairways make for a stunning Instagram shot. They also make a great spot to read your favorite novel. In a nod towards public libraries being open to everyone, you will find the words Library on four sides of this hall in German, English, and Arabic. Lincoln College Library, Oxford (UK)
The Lincoln College Library, an Oxford church converted into a library, is now a beautiful University space. The All Saints Church, an 18th-century church, was reopened in 1975 as a library. It retains the grandeur of its former life.
Visitors to Oxford can enjoy a variety of contemporary study literature, early classics, and theatre. But the real draw is the architecture. Lincoln College is open to small groups during the designated visiting hours.
Rhianna on Instagram was kind enough to recommend it.
Have a library that is worth traveling to? Let me know in the comments, so I can continue building this list. Thanks 🙂