When I’m in a new city one of the first things I love to do is seek out the public library so for future reference I collared a few other book-loving travel bloggers to tell me about their favourite libraries around the globe (and then promptly added them to my to-visit list).
TRINITY COLLEGE LIBRARY, IRELAND
Chosen by Naomi from Probe Around The Globe
The Irish have a long-lasting tradition of literature and writers. This comes all together at Trinity College in Dublin, where you can visit the Book of Kells and the long hall of Trinity Library. The book of Kells dates back from 800 AD. There is an exhibition of old
transcripts from the early ages of writing, but the main feature is the long hall of Trinity Library.
This is the famous 2 storey high library room with first editions, special volumes and a very ancient atmosphere for all us bookworms alike. If you study at Trinity College, you can even get clearance to look things up in one of the books, but it is also pretty special if you only visit the place.
The light flows in from the side windows, making the old wooden bookshelves come to life with all the old books sitting on their shelves just waiting to be explored. Trinity Library is really the must-visit library of Ireland so please make sure you’ll visit it.
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LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM, UK
Chosen by Vivian from Miss Happy Feet
Short-listed for the Stirling Prize in 2014, the building is like an odd 3-layered cake, presenting some unique architecture that makes it look a little too far-fetched to be a library. But step inside and you will be wide-eyed-surprised by the huge collection of books all around you. It also features 2 elevated outdoor garden terraces, namely the Discovery Terrace on the 3rd floor and a Secret Garden on the 7th floor. Come here and you’ll realise this is so much more than an average library. The people of Birmingham are so lucky to have this great facility.
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THE BLACK DIAMOND, DENMARK
Chosen by Bianca from It’s All Bee
The Black Diamond in Copenhagen was built as an extension to the Royal Danish Library in 1999. I was fascinated by the library, not only for its contents, but due to the level of detail that went into creating it. It was built with imported black granite mined in Zimbabwe and is known to sparkle like diamonds when the sun hits it just right (hence its nickname). In addition to the exterior being a drawing factor the escalator to the top floor offers amazing views out over the canals of the city.
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NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, US
Chosen by Rachel from The Imagination Trail
In my previous life, before I was a travel blogger, I was a librarian. Friends joke that I have some kind of library radar, as I always seem to manage to find the library – even in a park in Lisbon or a shopping mall in Singapore! One that I very deliberately sought out however was the famous New York Public Library.
You’ll probably recognise the building as it’s appeared in multiple movies. From the refuge of the survivors in The Day After Tomorrow, to Carrie’s intended wedding venue in Sex and the City, to the famous ghost-in-the-basement scene in Ghostbusters (although sadly the basement stacks are off-limits to the public!), there’s a good reason it’s made so many big-screen appearances. The interior is stunning; with high ceilings, long halls, pillars and statues. In the main reading room you find the stereotypical old-fashioned library interior with books lining the walls whilst people sit reading by lamps at long wooden tables in strict silence – there’s even a security guard ensuring that visitors don’t disturb the studious atmosphere.
Another beautiful aspect of the library is that it is used. There were just as many locals queuing up to return their borrowed books or do some research as there were tourists poised with their cameras. Libraries are a safe space where knowledge is open to all and it was wonderful to see this in action.
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OSGOOD HALL LAW LIBRARY, CANADA
Chosen by Tracey from Journals of a City Girl
Osgoode Hall, built in 1832 by the Law Society, now houses Ontario’s’ Court of Appeal and the Law Society of Upper Canada but inside this landmark building lies what is known to be one of the most beautiful rooms in Toronto – its library. Although it is a law school reference library it is open to the public (weekdays from 8:00 – 5:00). One half of the room looks like you stepped into a European cathedral, whilst the other half looks like a room from Hogwarts, with its wall-to-wall wooden panelling, tiny spiralling staircase and rows of ancient books.
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Where’s your favourite library in the world? Let me know in the comments!