These 10 amazing libraries from around the world will make you go all Belle in a book shop.
But no singing, please—these are libraries after all!
1. Old Library, Trinity College—Dublin, Ireland
The Long Room at Trinity College’s Old Library holds 200,000 of the library’s oldest books. The amazing ceiling you see here was added to allow space for more books when the existing shelves became too full, which we can totally understand.
2. George Peabody Library—Baltimore, Maryland
George Peabody became wealthy in Baltimore after he helped to defend the city against British attack during the War of 1812. He provided funds for the construction of this amazing library and dedicated it to the citizens of Baltimore. Honestly, we’re just wondering what we have to do to get a library like this dedicated to us.
3. Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This three-story library, which contains upwards of 400,000 books, was started by a group of Portuguese immigrants who collected works from their home country to soothe their homesickness and bring Portuguese culture to Brazil. Books can help soothe so many struggles.
4. Austrian National Library—Vienna, Austria
Founded in the Middle Ages and home to a collection of ancient and rare books, music, and 380 globes, this isn’t your average after-school hang out (and if it is, can we come visit?)
5. National Library of the Czech Republic—Prague, Czech Republic
This library is housed in the Clementinum, a gorgeous example of Baroque architecture that houses over 20,000 manuscripts and has been tracking local weather for more than 200 years. The only question is: How do we apply for a library card?
6. Bibliothèque nationale de France—Paris, France
The Manuscripts department in this beautiful library has the biggest collection of medieval and modern manuscripts in the world! They even have manuscripts by Pascal, Diderot, Proust, and Sartre. Eiffel Tower, schmeiffel tower.
7. Abbey Library of Saint Gall—St. Gallen, Switzerland
In the year 937 (yes, that’s 9-3-7), a fire destroyed the abbey that the library was a part of, but somehow the library survived. PHEW.
8. New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building—New York, New York
This library contains 125 miles of shelving, along with about 40,000 restaurant menus, Truman Capote’s cigarette case, and locks of hair from Charlotte Brontë and Walt Whitman. It seems impossible to see everything here in a day, but can you blame us for trying?
9. Municipal Law Library—Munich, Germany
Check out (ha, library jokes) the gorgeous wood spiral staircase and vine-inspired railings in Munich’s fairy tale–like Municipal Law Library.
10. Mafra National Palace Library—Mafra, Portugal
The real treasure of this Portuguese palace is its library—the floor is tiled in white, gray, and pink marble, and the walls are lined with wooden bookshelves and balconies. The library also houses small bats, which eat paper-munching insects and keep the books safe. (Don’t worry, though—they don’t eat human bookworms.)