In praise of gorgeous libraries

netlaMarch 31, 2014

One of the high points of my recent visit to the UK was the John Rylands Library in Manchester. It is gorgeous and could be called a cathedral of books. I left the building in a delicious book high that lasted the rest of the day.

What libraries have you visited that took your breath away?

Here is a link that might be useful: The John Rylands Library on Flickr

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rosefolly

Truly gorgeous! I do love beautiful libraries.

There is a modern (20th century) gothic cathedral at the core of the University of Pittsburgh named the Cathedral of Learning. When I saw your pictures, I thought that name could belong to that library just as appropriately.

Folly

Here is a link that might be useful: Cathedral of Learning at the U of Pittsburgh

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 2:13PM
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carolyn_ky

That is beautiful, Netla. My favorite library is in Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath in London. I said this once before, and Vee posted a picture of it for us. (Hint, hint)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:06PM
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veer

Many years ago I used to use Birmingham (our second city) reference library, built along the same lines as the one netla describes in Manchester. Both good eg's of the civic pride taken by our Victorian ancestors.
Can't find a picture of it but here is one of the old British Museum Reading Room, now replaced by a new building at the British Library.
Only ticket holders were allowed to use the library and although my late Mother had wangled one from a literary friend she held it close to her chest and I never got a 'look-in'. ;-(
Carolyn I don't know how to 'do' two pictures in the same post so will look for Kenwood House in a little while.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 4:44AM
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veer

Carolyn, sorry not to have put this up sooner, but I notice a dearth of visitors here at RP . . . almost as quiet as the library.
Here is a picture of the library at Kenwood House. I could happily spend a wet afternoon here, although I think I would take more time just looking rather than reading.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 4:16AM
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georgia_peach

My husband recently returned from a business trip in Austria and brought back a book with pictures of the Admont Monastery Library (sometimes called the 8th wonder of the world).

Here is a link that might be useful: Admont Library

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:17AM
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carolyn_ky

Thank you for the picture, Vee. It surely is a beautiful room. When we were there some time ago, I bought a picture postcard of it. The lady in the gift shop told us that a very wealthy sheik had paid to have the room closed off to let his architect measure it in order to duplicate it in his house (?) mansion (?) palace (?) whatever they dwell in.

Georgia Peach, I googled the Admont. It's gorgeous.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:00PM
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netla

These are all lovely. The one in Kenwood House is like a little jewel.

Another library I loved visiting was the one in the University of Salamanca in Spain. It also has a somewhat church-like feel, but I didn't get the same feeling of awe as I did in the John Rylands Library.

I wish I could find photos online of the reading room in the old Icelandic National Library building, but my google skills failed me. It had a high ceiling, books along the walls, and rows of leather-topped reading desks with heavy old chairs and banker's lamps. I used to take every opportunity to go there and study while I was at university. The lovely old building is now a museum dedicated to Icelandic culture (http://is.visitreykjavik.is/Portaldata/1/Resources/arts_and_culture/Culture_House.jpg).

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Salamanca library

This post was edited by netla on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 10:04

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:01AM
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woodnymph2_gw

These are all so amazing. My favorite is the one in Iceland. When I lived in Boston, I so wish I had taken photos of the old Public Library at Copley Square.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:28AM
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merryworld

I haven't visited it, since it is private but the Jay Walker Library of the History of the Human Imagination is magnificent, not only in its design but its unusual collection.

Here is a link that might be useful: Walker Library

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:44AM
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lemonhead101

NPR had a lovely story the other day about libraries across the U.S. (with photos)...

Here is a link that might be useful: NPR Library tour link

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:12AM
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lemonhead101

And I found a real true-life Little Free Library in my very own neighborhood tucked away silently on a street I rarely travel. It was beautifully made, and even had a step for kids to use it.

It was so true to the spirit of that project in every way that my heart smiled, and I happily donated a few books and picked up "Cranford" by Elizabeth Gaskell.

And then I skipped off, happy for the world I live in.

:-)

This post was edited by lemonhead101 on Thu, May 8, 14 at 10:14

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:13AM
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