The World’s Most Magnificent Libraries

A look at some of the must visit libraries for any book worm.

Walking into my local town library the other day, as nice as it is I always wish that somewhere nearby there was a library akin to the one Belle visits in Beauty and the Beast.

Belle's library Beauty and the Beast The Walt Disney Studios©
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – Belle in her library. The Walt Disney Studios©

This got me thinking and gave me the idea for this blog post. As a book lover I wanted to know where the most beautiful libraries in the world are. I have complied the below list from my research, hopefully it will give you some inspiration for future library visits or maybe you are lucky enough to live near to one!

5. Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston public library
Boston Public Library, USA. Source:

The first free metropolitan library in the United States opened in March 1854 and now houses over 16,000 volumes.

Acknowledged by many as one of the most important rooms in the world

3.7 million people visited last year, many to look at the unique art and architecture, including Bates Hall – acknowledged by many as one of the most important rooms in the world.

4. Royal Portuguese Reading Room in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Royal Portuguese Reading Room
Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Brazil. Source:

Also known as The Real Gabinete Português de Leitura the library has the largest and most valuable literary of Portuguese outside Portugal. Constructed between 1880 and 1887, it has more than 350,000 volumes.

The statues and medallions sculptured in the entrance hall portray the eternal guardians of the human knowledge.

3. George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA

George Peabody Library
George Peabody Library, USA. Source:

The George Peabody Library is a remarkable research library housed in a remarkable building. The brainchild of the philanthropist George Peabody, the goal of the library was to create a publicly-accessible collection that contained the best and latest literature in all branches of knowledge except law and medicine.

Starting in 1860, the library collection now contains over 300,000 volumes largely from the 18th and 19th centuries.

2. Trinity College Dublin Library in Dublin, Ireland

Trinity College Dublin library
Trinity Dublin College Library, Ireland. Source:

The Library’s history dates back to the establishment of the College in 1592 and it is the largest library in Ireland.

Today it has over 6 million printed volumes with extensive collections of journals, manuscripts, maps and music reflecting over 400 years. The most famous of its manuscripts are the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow. Other special collections include the Ussher Collection acquired in 1661 and the Fagel Collection of 1802.

1. The Admont Library in Admont, Austria

Admont Library
The Admont Library, Austria. Source:

Just look at that ceiling! It looks more like a palace than a library!

It’s not only the inside that has exceptional looks, the library based inside Admont Abbey is located on the borders of the mountainous Gesäuse National Park.

The largest monastic library in the world

The Admont is the largest monastic library in the world and houses a long established scientific collection.

The ceiling consists of seven cupolas, decorated with frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte showing the stages of human knowledge up to the high point of Divine Revelation.

Bonus: The Codrington Library, Oxford, United Kingdom

Codrington library
The Codrington Library, Oxford. Source:

I couldn’t do a list and not include on from my home country. The Codrington library can be found in Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The library is guardian to a death mask of Christopher Wren

The library is open to members of Oxford University through application and other bona fide researchers by appointment. The library boasts strong collection of law and historical works and also guardian to a number of objects including memorabilia of T.E Lawrence and a death mask of Christopher Wren one of the most highly acclaimed architects in British history.

Have you visited any of these libraries? Or do you have a suggestion to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

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