There’s something special about libraries. Maybe it’s the intoxicating the smell of rows and rows of books, the promise of new writers to discover, or nostalgia for old classics. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to see why book lovers lose themselves amongst the stacks in these nine must-see libraries.
The library has remained unchange since 1722
Baroque Library Hall, Czech Republic
The Baroque Library Hall is located in the Clementinum, a complex of historic buildings in Prague, Czech Republic. An outstanding example of architecture and design from the Baroque period, it hasn’t changed since 1722.
Just a short walk away is the magnificent Savic Hotel. Built in a Gothic and Renaissance style and dating back to the 1300s, the building is an architectural treasure in its own right.
The tiers of balconies are flooded with natural light
George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Opened in 1878, the George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is renowned for its glorious interior, with five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies that sit beneath an expansive skylight.
Strategically positioned between the library and the harbour are the Global Luxury Suites at Light Street. These fitted out apartments even have a communal roof terrace with a swimming pool.
This library takes 'open-concert' to a whole new level
Stuttgart Municipal Library, Germany
An unassuming box by day, at night the small cubes that make up this library building glow blue. The library wants to be a hub for culture and intellect open to people of all nations, so the word “Library” is embedded on the side of the building in English, German, Korean, and Arabic. The interior is just as impressive, with a multi-story, open hall lit by a ceiling of overhead lights.
You can’t get much closer to the library than Aloft Stuttgart – the airy, modern rooms are only a 2-minute stroll away.
The best city views are found at the balcony garden
Library of Birmingham, UK
The Library of Birmingham is the flagship project for the city’s redevelopment. Best known for its striking post-modern design, it is the largest public library in the United Kingdom. In addition to being a centre for learning, information, and culture in the city it offers panoramic views of the city from it’s large balcony garden.
After taking in the library’s impressive architecture, meander south across the old canal towards SACO Birmingham - Brindleyplace. These modern apartments have city centre views and home comforts.
Bodleian library is one of Oxford's first purpose-built libraries
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, UK
The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. The current building dates as far back as 1602 when it was created as the first purpose-built library in Oxford. Today, the historic building holds over 12 million items making it the second largest library in Britain.
Dating back to the 18th century, Vanbrugh House Hotel is full of character – and just a short walk from Bodleian Library.
Millions of visitors explore the library annually
New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building), USA
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is the flagship building of the New York Public Library and a beloved city landmark. A symbol of the democratic ideal of free and open access to knowledge, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building sees millions of visitors across the globe each year.
For a classic midtown experience, The London NYC is walking distance from the library, Times Square, and Central Park.
Thousands of manuscripts are held in the library
Abbey Library of St. Gallen, Switzerland
The Abbey Library of St. Gallen in Switzerland is a World Heritage Site and one of the globe’s most important and oldest monastic libraries. The Abbey itself was destroyed in a fire in 937 but the library was spared. Today, it holds thousands of manuscripts dating as far back as the 8th century.
If you want to spend the night right in the heart of the historic centre, Hotel Dom is an ideal choice just two streets west of the Abbey Library.
Several ceilings are adorned with cupola frescoes
Admont Abbey Library, Austria
Completed in 1776, the Benedictine Admont Abbey Library in Austria is a beautiful example of late Baroque architecture. Several ceilings of the library are adorned with cupola frescoes and the building holds 70,000 volumes. The library is barrier free, meaning that visitors can tour it at their leisure without a guide.
Just 50 metres away is the charming Villa Elisabeth, a 19th-century house with its own gardens.
One of the finest examples of Rococo architecture
Wiblingen Monastery Library, Germany
Located in the Wiblingen Monastery in Ulm, Germany, this library is considered one of the finest examples of Rococo architecture. In addition to its many books, the whimsical halls are filled with statues and frescos that reflect the library’s vision for being a place that preserves the treasures of wisdom and science.
When in Ulm, it’s best to spend the night near the banks of the Danube. Hotel Schmales Haus is a traditional half-timbered house only a few minutes from the river.