Spectacular Libraries

 Any avid reader will tell you that it is a dream of theirs to have a private library at home. To be able to store and access our favorite books and novels and read in solitude is one of the many ways book lovers chill out and destress.
In a time where ebooks are fast becoming the norm and paper books are getting phased out, one might wonder about the relevance of libraries. It would be such a loss to the public if we have these beautiful reading sanctuaries taken from us. Luckily though, many are still standing in grandeur in city capitals and universities. And boy, are they breathtakingly gorgeous!
I have gathered 28 of the most elegant libraries in the world, and I’m sure that the bookworm inside you will want to visit each of them!

Study Hall, National Library of China
This is the National Library of China, which sits at the heart of Haidan, Beijing’s educational district. You can easily get lost in the grand architecture that is filled with bookshelves and the studious.
IMAGE: Tian-yu Xiong, National Geographic

Klemetinum Library, Prague, Czech Republic

The Clementinum (spelled Klemetinum in Czech) Library gives off a monastic feeling with its wooden floor and two-storey high ceiling. It’s a library with great historical significance, located in Prague.
IMAGE: Avaxnews

Morgan Library, New York City, US

Started back in 1906 as a private library in the house of J. P. Morgan, this library now contains a lot of historical manuscripts, early printed books and prints, and old master drawings. It also includes a museum.
IMAGE: Rob Shenk

Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm Zentrum, Humbolt University

This hall of knowledge in Berlin, Germany captures both retro and modernistic approaches in architecture. The book shelves sit quietly on the sidelines while the study hall lies in the open, in a terraced arrangement.
IMAGE: Andreas Levers

Beinecke Rare Book Manuscript Library, Yale University

This library acts as a literary archive of the Yale University Library and and is home to rare books and manuscripts.
IMAGE: Serenade Rabbitnest

Stuttgart City Library, Germany

This is a 9-storey building that was completed in 2011. This library has 4 storeys in a four-sided design, and 5 upper storeys that forms the shape of a pyramid. The structure has a glass ceiling.
IMAGE: Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart

New York Public Library, US

The ever popular New York library is considered to be the second biggest public library in the United states. Aside from a diverse set of books and materials, it also features beautiful paintings on its ceilings.

National Art Library, UK

A public reference library for the fine and decorative arts, it serves as a big reference center with over 70,000 entries from all over the world and offers a space that is both calming and serene for book and art lovers.
IMAGE: Creative Houses

Chetham’s Library, UK

Considered to be the oldest free public library in the UK, Chetham’s Library is home to more than 100,000 volumes of old printed books, 60% of which were published before 1851.
IMAGE: Michael D Beckwith

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, US

Formerly known as the Library of the Peabody Institute, the George Peabod Library is probably one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
IMAGE: Matthew Petroff

Admont Abbey Library, Austria

This looks more like a chapel than it does a library. Not only is the flooring and ceiling beautifully decorated, when you are inside this place it’s as though you’ve taken a trip back in time.
IMAGE: Jorge Royan

Odenplan Library, Stockholm, Sweden

Know for it’s enormous central hall, the Stockholm Public Library in Sweden is used both as a library as well as the municipal library system of Stockholm.
IMAGE: Jorge Royan

The Leeds Library, UK

The Leeds Library is a two-story building that was made in 1768 and is the oldest subscription library in UK.
IMAGE: Michael D Beckwith

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, Vermont, US

The St. Johnsbury Anthenaeum in Vermont not only serves as a public library holds an art gallery. This building looks beautiful from the inside out with a wooden interior that emanates that classic feel.
IMAGE: Don Shall

Nova Scotia Legislative Library, Canada

The Nova Scotia Library serves to bring the information needs of the Legislative assembly. It was originally the home of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia as well, thus explaining the paintings of Commanders on the walls and shelves.
IMAGE: Charles Hoffman

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

This is the very definition of grand and epic, all in one place. Ain’t that a sight to behold?
IMAGE: Irish Welcome Tours

Rand Club Reading Room, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Rand club’s dedicated library holds around 10,000 irreplaceable "treasures" with comfortable chairs for reading. Unfortunately it has member-restricted access.
IMAGE: Andrew Moore

Lincoln’s Inn Library, London, UK

This library is located in Lincoln’s Inn, London and contains a large collection of rare books. You can only stay and read here as borrowing is prohibited. Some sections are dedicated to rare books and manuscripts.
IMAGE: Mariusz Kluzniak

Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic

A beautiful library that was converted from a monastery. It gives off a vibe of age-old wisdom with its beautiful wooden shelves, coupled with the beautiful ceiling art.
IMAGE: Leah L.

Picton Reading Room Hornby Library, England

Located in Liverpool England, the Picton Reading room and Hornby Library holds a vast collection of books.
IMAGE: Terry Kearney

Lappia Hall Library, Rovaniemi, Ireland

Here’s another view of the Picton Reading Room Library. You can barely tell that they are the same facility.
IMAGE: Adrian Perez

British Museum Library, UK

This beautiful library used to be the "main reading room" of the British Library and was recently restored and reopened back in 2000.
IMAGE: Lars Kristian Flem

Adelaide City Library, Australia

The city library of Adelaide is known as a "place of possibility" and offers a dedicated section for "learning, challenging and conventional thinking". You’ll be amazed with the glass ceiling that covers the middle of the roof.
IMAGE: Jon Westra

Concord Public Library, US

Described as an "invaluable" resource, the Concord public library looks breath-taking from the inside. The beatuiful windows let light into the building.
IMAGE: Liz West

Poetry Foundation Library, Chicago, US

A library dedicated exclusively to poetry, it aims to present the best poetry in English or in translation.
IMAGE: Steven Vance

Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia

The first private university in Malaysia has a highly innovative, enviable, modern library. It is a place of academic research, professional services, networking, and many more.
IMAGE: QS News2 Wow U

Mitchell Library, Glasgow, Scotland

One of Europe’s largest public libraries, the Mitchell library in Scotland is the centre of the public library system in Glasgow.
IMAGE: Littleyiye

State Capitol Library, Iowa, US

Located in the capitol building of Iowa State, this library is often visited by government employees and the legal community for its collection of legal materials. It looks like a painting!



 My name is Pierre, I’m a 19-year-old Frenchman and a history hunter. Not only because I’m an archaeology student, but also because I wander around my city of Dijon, former capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, re-shooting WW2 pictures I found last year on the Web from the same spot and angle.
I originally wanted to show my friends and family how these streets they cross everyday looked like, at a time when freedom was nothing else but a distant dream. A time when my own grandfather walked between these same buildings.
I’ve spent several hours roaming the streets on Google Earth, trying to find less known places, and then planning my itinerary for the day. My laptop in one hand, my camera in the other, I try to find the exact spot from where some anonymous Wehrmacht soldier snapped a picture of his pals, seven decades ago.
There’s one thing I love above this – looking at the old picture while standing there, imagining  Germans, the Free French Forces, the uniforms, the rifles, the pain, the joy, and all these situations around me. It feels like I am, myself, a part of History.

When and where it all began

Dijon was invaded on June 17th, 1940. These are the German troops gathering in front of the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, a 14th-to-18th-century building which is the city hall.

On September 11th, 1944, the Allies reached the city

Crowds flooded the streets to celebrate.

This palace remained the town hall and a major tourist spot


The Wehrmacht orchestra playing at Parc Darcy


The 13th century church of Notre Dame overlooks German soldiers


German officers photographed front of the Parc Darcy fountain


Place François Rude

In the forties, Place François Rude was covered with old-fashioned ads. Today, it’s a tourist spot with timbered walls, a carousel and artworks.

Guards in front of a mansion in Rue Monge

I feel personally involved in this picture, since my grandpa Maurice was a baker in this street, and could have been in real trouble if the Germans had discovered he had fled Compulsory Work Service and had a fake ID.

When and where it all ended

The Free French Forces triumphantly drove in front of the Palace of the Dukes. The occupation of Dijon is over.

François Pompon’s Bear

François Pompon’s Bear and two kinds of unexpected guests: thanks to my friends Quentin and Océane for snapping that one!

These mysterious beach formations, like the ones spotted on a beach in Dorset, England, are called beach cusps – and one reason they’re mysterious is that scientists still aren’t completely sure how they’re formed.
Beach cusps, which often appear during or after storms, are unusual because their spacing is uniform and regular. If you don’t believe in aliens, there are two prevailing theories about their formation. The first is the ‘standing edge’ theory, which involves interactions between normal waves approaching the shore and “edge” waves, which form perpendicular to the shore. The interactions between these waves form regularly-spaced points of different wave intensity. The other theory is the self-organization theory, which claims that cusps are the result of regular wave, current, and sand interactions over time that create feedback loops. Many scientists believe that both of these theories might work in unison to create these curious structures.

Jurassic Coast, Dorset, England

Image credits: namraka


Image credits: leenaj

Palomarin Beach, Point Reyes, USA

Image credits: David Abercrombie

 64-year-old artist Stan Herd transformed a field on the Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters campus into Van Gogh’s 1889 Painting “Olive Trees.” Herd’s first ‘earthwork’ was created in 1981; this latest project took six months, covers 1.2-acres, and involved weeks of mowing, digging, and planting. It was sponsored by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and can be seen from the air near the Minneapolis airport.
“It’s an iteration of Van Gogh’s painting writ large in native plants and materials,” Herd told Star Media. “It never looks like I want it to…I bit off a lot here, to try to pull this off. A few of the plants were eaten by deer, and a few were blown over. But that’s the dance of nature,” he added in a separate interview with MPRNews.

After 6 months of mowing, digging, and planting, Stan Herd finally completed his 1.2-acre “earthwork”


“It’s an iteration of Van Gogh’s painting writ large in native plants and materials”


“The opportunity to engage with one of my favorite artists in the world was pretty unique for me”

Image credits: Thomson Reuters