16 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

16 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

you’re a bookworm, architecture lover or you just
appreciate an Instagrammable
interior, these stunning book collections will soon have you
planning how (and with what capital) you could turn your bedroom
into an equally impressive library of your own.

Abbey Library of Saint Gall


Covering 12 centuries of non-stop collecting, the library of the
Abbey of Saint Gall is as renowned for its historic book collection
as it is for its unrivalled beauty.

Morgan Library and Museum


Sure, you could go the
New York
Public Library, but this gem has a lot more character.
You’re less likely to receive hostile looks when you pull out your
camera too.

Trinity College


Anyone whose favourite fragrance is the smell of dusty tomes
will be entranced by Trinity College
‘s library. Almost 300 years old, it holds a staggering
200,000 of the world’s oldest volumes.



Pretend you are at Amsterdam‘s
most well-known museum for the iconic art all you like, but we know
you’re really there for a peek at Cuypers Library. Wrought-iron
railings and curved-glass ceiling make it the very definition of

The Library


Possibly more impressive than Frank Gehry’s striking Fondation
Louis Vuitton (yeah, we said it), the recently refurbished
Richelieu Library has not one, but two beautiful reading rooms.

Strahov Monastery

Czech Republic

One of the oldest on our list, the Theological Hall of Strahov
Monastery has been collecting book dust since 1679. With
floor-to-ceiling bookshelves giving way to opulently frescoed
ceilings, it’s almost like the monks designed it for Instagram.

George Peabody Library


Ever wanted to get married in a library? You can here. Fittingly
described as a “cathedral of books”, it won’t take much – only six
floors of Grecian columns and ornate railed staircases – to woo

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura


Holding the largest collection of Portuguese works outside of

itself, the beautifully detailed shelves of Rio’s
royal reading room are at distinct odds with the graffiti-tagged
buildings outside.

Stift Admont


We’re convinced this ornate pastel wonder was the real-life
inspiration for the library in Beauty and the Beast. Tucked away in
an abbey in remote Admont, Austria,
it’s certainly worth the two hour drive from Salzburg.

Wiblingen Monastery


Perhaps the only library on our list where the books take second
place to the decor, this baroque-style library is awash with
multi-coloured marble columns, frescoed ceilings, statues and gold

Biblioteca Vasconcelos


Only completed in 2007, Mexico
‘s enormous public library is a contemporary marvel, with
stacks of mismatched glass and steel shelves that seem to float
toward the ceiling in a warehouse-like space. If you get lost you
may never find your way out.

Tianjin Binhai Library


Causing quite a stir among book lovers when it opened in 2017,
the futuristic Tianjin Binhai Library turned out to be not quite
what it seemed. The books on display are painted on and the real
volumes are in the rooms behind. We still think it deserves a spot
on the list, however, if only for its eye-catching design.

Melk Library


More proof that those Austrian
monks really knew how to design a library worthy of holding their
most precious tomes, this is the kind of library where you almost
expect to pull a book down from a shelf and have a secret door
swing open.

Stuttgart Library


Part library, part Stairmaster, the Stuttgart Library is as
futuristic as they come. A minimalist white cube split into five
floors and criss-crossed by staircases, this ultra modern
construction needs no filter.

Qatar National Library

Doha, Qatar

Qatar National Library’s million-strong collection of books,
periodicals and the like is mightily impressive. Head six metres
below the main level and explore the library’s heritage volumes,
which are housed among beige travertine.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

New Haven, US

A glass-clad tower of books rises through the centre of this
marvel of a building. Notable tomes include the Gutenberg Bible
(the first Western book printed using mass-produced, movable metal
type in Europe) and James Audubon’s Birds of America.