25 Most Incredible Libraries from Around the World

In honor of International Literacy Day coming up on Sunday, September 8th, we have pulled together the 25 most incredible libraries from around the world. From private to public libraries dating way back to the 8th century, these stunning structures are sure to make your jaw drop. Learn a little about each, like which one has a 2,700 year old mummy and where you can read manuscripts written on palm-leaves. Not only are the buildings incredible, but you’ll quickly see how mind-blowing the collections are, too.

Check out the 25 most incredible libraries from around the world here…

  • 25 Most Incredible Libraries from Around the World 1 of 26
    25 Most Incredible Libraries from Around the World.jpg copy

    Click through to see them all...

  • Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra IV, Portugal 2 of 26
    014

    This stunning library was completed in 1728 and definitely shows off the prosperity of Portugal at the time.
    Find out more at Library Science Exhibitions.

  • Trinity College Library, Ireland 3 of 26
    035

    This breathtaking library holds the ancient Book of Kells.
    Find out more at National Geographic.

  • University of Salamanca, Spain 4 of 26
    025

    Imagine sitting and studying in this ornately decorated and colorful library at the University of Salamanca.
    Find out more at Flavorwire.

  • La Sorbonne Reading Room, France 5 of 26
    05

    This stunning library at the University of Paris was built in 1328 and contains almost 500,000 books.
    Find out more at Best Masters Programs.

  • George Peabody Library, Maryland 6 of 26
    045

    Take a visit to this stunning library at John Hopkins University. It's also used for events, such as weddings.
    Find out more at Peabody Events.

  • Philological Library, Germany 7 of 26
    06

    The Phiolological Library is also nicknamed "The Berlin Brain" because of how much the exterior resembles the shape of the brain.
    Find out more at Freie Universitat Berlin.

  • Library at the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria 8 of 26
    07

    In this library you can find some of the oldest manuscripts in the world, dating back to the 8th century.
    Find out more at St. IFT Admont.

  • Library of the Canadian Parliament, Canada 9 of 26
    08

    Pay close attention to the pine paneling of this library to see the intricate carved designs of mythical beasts, flowers, and more.
    Find out more at The Best Colleges.

  • The Vatican Library, Italy 10 of 26
    09

    This stands as one of the oldest libraries in the world and was established in 1475, even before Columbus came to America.
    Find out more at The Best Colleges.

  • Library of Congress, Washington D.C. 11 of 26
    10

    You could spend the rest of your life reading the over 32 million books they have on file. After that, you could get started on one of the 61 million manuscripts.
    Find out more at The Bet Colleges.

  • Jose Vasconcelos Library, Mexico 12 of 26
    11

    Also know as the "Megabiblioteca," there is definitely something "mega" about this modern library.
    Find out more at Twisted Sifter.

  • Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura, Brazil 13 of 26
    12

    Along with books, you can also find paintings and ancient coins in this beautiful and plentiful library.
    Find out more at Real Gabinete.

  • National Library of Finland, Finland 14 of 26
    13

    This beautiful library is part of the University of Helsinki and is the largest library in Finland.
    Find out more at Twisted Sifter.

  • Mitchell Library, Australia 15 of 26
    14

    The Mitchell Wing is actually part of the State Library of New South Wales and was officially completed in 1910.
    Find out more at Teech Consult Library.

  • Strahov Theological Hall, Czech Republic 16 of 26
    15

    Both From Hell and Casino Royale were shot in this library dating back to 1143.
    Find out more at Czech Tourism.

  • Old Library, Cambridge 17 of 26
    16

    The Old Library at the University of Cambridge is still a working library with a Rare Books Reading Room.
    Find out more at St. John's College.

  • Seattle Central Library, Washington 18 of 26
    17

    Keep your eye out for the gorgeous Seattle Central Library situated in downtown Seattle.
    Find out more at Washington.

  • Los Angeles Public Library, California 19 of 26
    18

    The Los Angeles Public Library is one of the largest publicly funded buildings in the world.
    Find out more at La La Land Library.

  • Galway Mayo Institute of Technology Library, Ireland 20 of 26
    19

    After you visit the Trinity College library in Dublin, head on over to the Galway Mayo Institute to see this stunning place to study.
    Find out more at Because I'm Addicted.

  • Abbey Library of St. Gallen, Switzerland 21 of 26
    SWISS CITIES - ART & ARCHITECTURE

    This gorgeous library also contains a 2,700-year-old Egyptian mummy!
    Find out more at My Switzerland.

  • Jay Walker’s Private Library, USA 22 of 26
    21

    This successful entrepreneur built his house around this gigantic private library.
    Find out more at Flavorwire.

  • The New Library of Alexandria, Egypt 23 of 26
    22

    Inside this library you can also find four museums and a planetarium, along with millions of books.
    Find out more at Bibliotheca Alexandria.

  • Sendai Mediatheque, Japan 24 of 26
    23

    A fairly young library, the Sendai Mdeiatheque in Japan was only just completed in 2001. It is based around the concept of being "barrier-free," meaning it has been built to give the feeling of being open to everyone, with special amenities for those with handicaps.
    Find out more at Real Life is Elsewhere.

  • Raza Library, India 25 of 26
    24

    The Raza Library contains about 5,000 miniature paintings, along with manuscripts, books, and hand-written palm leaves.
    Find out more at Mental Floss.

  • Victorian State Library, Australia 26 of 26
    424px-State_Library_of_Victoria_La_Trobe_Reading_room_5th_floor_view

    This gorgeous reading room had a dome that was once covered in copper, but now has been renovated to let natural light flood in.
    Find out more at Mental Floss.

Jaime Morrison Curtis is author of the bestselling book Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (A Life List for Every Woman), follow up fill-in journal My Prudent Advice, and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.

Tagged as: , , ,

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.