Love for Libraries

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I LOVE books! Not even necessarily to read (though I love to do that too), I just like to see a lot of them together, in a library or bookstore, for instance. Every time I go on vacation, I try to visit at least one library, preferably an old one, with a lot of dark wood and old, worn books. Libraries are special and have a pleasurable atmosphere. Walking through an old library always gives me a good feeling. You can almost feel the history: all that information, all those stories, all those people who have made use of it. So for today’s post a small collection of beautiful libraries I came across which appealed to me a lot, including a few private libraries. Oh how I would love to have a big library in my home!

Library of St. Florian’s Priory


Photo by dorena-wm

This beautiful library is part of the biggest Baroque monastery in Upper Austria. It was built in the 18th century and holds around 150,000 volumes.

 Old Library – Trinity College


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This is the main chamber of the Old Library of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and is called ‘the Long Room’. It dates back to the 18th century and houses over 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. It’s really impressive to walk through it. I love the dark oak and marble busts!

The George Peabody Library


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The George Peabody Library is the research library of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore. The atrium rises 61 feet above the marble floor. Completed in 1878, this library contains more than 300,000 titles.

Austrian National Library


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Truly majestic: The Austrian National Library in Vienna. It’s located in the Hofburg Palace and the largest library in Austria, with around 7,4 million titles. Among its collections are manuscripts and rare books dating from the 4th century to the present.


Photo by Pez Hejduk

Melk Abbey Library


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The Melk Abbey is an Austrian Benedictine Abbey and was built between 1702 and 1736. The library, which ceilings portrait beautiful fresco’s by Paul Troger, contains countless medieval manuscripts.

Clementinum Library


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Clementinum is the national Library of the Czech Republic and dates back to the 16th century. Being one of the oldest public libraries in the country, it includes over 6,5 million volumes.

Royal Portuguese Library


Photo by Mathieu Struck


Photo by -S

This stunning library in the center of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was built between 1880 and 1887 in Neo-Manueline style. It holds the largest collection of Portuguese works outside Portugal: 350,000 volumes.

Private Library – Château de Groussay


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This is the private library of Château de Groussay in Montfort-l’Amaury in France, built in 1815. If I could ever have a home library, I think I would want it to look something like this. Love the spiral staircases and the dark wood. Only thing missing is a large globe.

Canadian Library of Parliament


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The Library of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada was completed in 1876 and is the main information and research resource for the Canadian Parliament. With around 600,000 items, it covers hundreds of years of history.


Photo by Alejandro Erickson

Joanina Library


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Joanina Library, part of the University of Coimbra General Library, is a magnificent library in Baroque style which contains around 250,000 books. It was completed in 1728.

State Law Library of Iowa


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The impressive five-story State Law Library of Iowa is located in the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa. It was built in 1884 in Renaissance style.


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St. Gallen Abbey Library


Photo by Patrick Hauri

Another beautiful old library in Baroque style. The Abbey Library of Saint Gallen, founded in 719, is the oldest of Switzerland and one of the oldest monastery libraries in the world. It holds about 160,000 volumes, among which are manuscripts dating back to the 8th century.

Port Elizabeth Public Library


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This beautiful public library in South Africa, built in late Victorian style, was officially opened in 1902.

Private Library – Richard Macksey


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I find the ‘messy’ (if I may call it messy) look of this library very appealing in a way. This is the private library of Richard Macksey, professor at the John Hopkins University. Containing around 70,000 books, it’s one of the largest private libraries in Maryland. I wonder if he’s read all of them. And if there’s some sort of an organization, must be a real pain if you can’t find a book you’re looking for.

Private Library – Biltmore House


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The private library at the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina contains around 10,000 volumes. Notice the beautiful color of the carved wood, the painted ceiling and of course the magnificent fireplace.

Lello Bookstore


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Photo by delviking

It’s not a library, but this bookstore is definitely worth mentioning, I think. Lello is a beautiful bookstore in Porto, Portugal, which opened in 1906. Its interior looks magnificent, with a lovely red staircase as centerpiece. And look at all that carved wood!

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10 responses »

  1. These are absolutely amazing photographs. I’ve been to the Trinity Library… only for a peek in, but even at that, it was pretty awesome. Thanks for the great post.

  2. I just scrolled through these photographs again and was struck with how libraries and beautiful architecture seem so linked… interesting how that happens. I wonder if it is because people who love books are are generally seekers of truth and truth and beauty go hand in hand… as opposed to those who destroy books and burn down libraries. Just an early morning thought. 🙂

    • Interesting thoughts Kerri 🙂 Perhaps people who love books feel that those books are truly important for mankind and should be contained in a building reflecting that importance and beauty. To me personally especially the older libraries show some of the most striking architecture – beauty that never fades away and one that should be treasured. Good reasons why people should spend more time in a library 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

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