How about some truly amazing pictures of bookshelves? What follows are ten of our favourite photographs of the beautiful interiors of libraries from around the world. They are a dream for every bibliophile. What’s more, these images are all in the public domain or labelled for sharing – click on the hyperlink to take you to the source for each picture. You can also enlarge each library picture by clicking on it. And if you enjoy these pictures, you might also enjoy our follow-up post, 10 stunning pictures of libraries from around the world, as well as our 10 great quotes about books and our 10 words every book-lover should know.
1. Melk Benedictine Abbey Library, Austria. This library is part of Melk Abbey in Austria. The abbey was founded in 1089, and its library has an extensive collection of manuscripts.
Picture credit: Emgonzalez, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
2. The George Peabody Library, Baltimore, US. This library is part of Johns Hopkins University at Mount Vernon Place, and is a nineteenth-century institute founded by Peabody as a bequest to the people of Baltimore.
Picture credit: Matthew Petroff, Wikimedia Commons.
3. The Stockholm Public Library, Sweden. This library was built by Gunnar Asplund (1885-1940) in the 1920s and is described by the uploader to Wikimedia Commons as ‘a prime example of Swedish functionalism’. The library can be found at the crossing of Sveagatan and Odengatan.
Picture credit: Marcus Hansson, Wikimedia Commons.
4. Biblioteca Joanina da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal. As pictures of books go, this is pretty bibliotastic. (Or should we say ‘bibliogenic’?) A baroque library located in the University of Coimbra in Portugal, the Joanina library was founded in the eighteenth century and named after King João V of Portugal.
Picture credit: Ernesto von Rückert, Wikimedia Commons.
5. Bergen Public Library, Norway. This library was founded in 1872, based on the collection of 12,000 books put up for sale by a university librarian.
Picture credit: Danoz73, Wikimedia Commons.
6. Librería El Ateneo. Buenos Aires, Argentina. This library is, actually, not a library. It’s a bookshop. But we hope you’ll forgive the slight misnomer and allow its place in the list, if only because it looks like the kind of place one could spend hours – nay, days – browsing before one would need, or even think, to go in search of fresh air and daylight. According to its Wikipedia page, it has been voted the second most beautiful bookshop in the world.
Picture credit: radioher, Flickr.
7. Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico City. This library is known not just as a library but, indeed, as a ‘megalibrary’. Named after philosopher José Vasconcelos, former president of the National Library of Mexico, the library is spread across 38,000 square metres (409,000 square feet), as the Wikipedia page reveals. Only inaugurated in 2006, it is the most recent library on this list.
Picture credit: Eneas de Troya, Flickr.
8. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Canada. This library is part of the University of Toronto. Its collection can boast the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623), and Newton’s Principia (1687), though not – contrary to a common internet woozle – Darwin’s annotated proofs of On the Origin of Species (although the library does have annotated proofs of some of Darwin’s other books).
Picture credit: Seemsartless.com.
9. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, US. This library is at Yale University and, according to the library’s website, ‘contains Yale University’s principal rare books and literary manuscripts and serves as a research center for students, faculty, and other scholars. One of the largest buildings in the world devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts, the library can accommodate 180,000 volumes in the central tower and more than 600,000 volumes in the underground book stacks.’
Picture credit: Lauren Manning, Flickr.
10. St Gallen Library, Switzerland. This library, known more properly as the Abbey Library of Saint Gall, is the oldest book repository and manuscript collection in Switzerland, regarded (as its Wikipedia page tells us) as one of the most important monastic libraries in the world. In terms of its interior, it must surely be one of the prettiest, as this picture testifies. This image of the main hall shows off the beautiful rococo interior, designed by Peter Thumb in the eighteenth century.
Picture credit: chippee, Flickr.