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World’s Coolest Libraries You Need To Visit

So many books, so little time.

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1 of 30|Morgan Library|New York City, New York, USA
2 of 30|National Library of China|Beijing, China
3 of 30|National Library of the Czech Republic|Prague, Czech Republic
4 of 30|Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Centre|Berlin, Germany
5 of 30|New York Public Library|New York City, New York, USA
6 of 30|Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library|Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
7 of 30|George Peabody Library|Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
8 of 30|Stuttgart City Library|Stuttgart, Germany
9 of 30|Admont Abbey Library|Admont, Austria
10 of 30|Philological Library|Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
11 of 30|Abbey Library of Saint Gall|St. Gallen, Switzerland
12 of 30|Leeds Library|Leeds, England, UK
13 of 30|Kanazawa Umimirai Library|Kanazawa, Japan
14 of 30|Trinity College Library|Dublin, Ireland
15 of 30|Tama Art University Library|Tama Art University, Tokyo, Japan
16 of 30|Strahov Monastery Library|Prague, Czech Republic
17 of 30|Vasconcelos Library|Mexico City, Mexico
18 of 30|National Library of France|Paris, France
19 of 30|State Library of South Australia|Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
20 of 30|Bibliotheca Alexandrina|Alexandria, Egypt
21 of 30|Royal Portuguese Reading Room|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
22 of 30|Mafra National Palace Library|Mafra, Portugal
23 of 30|Sendai Mediatheque|Sendai, Japan
24 of 30|Suzzallo Library|University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
25 of 30|University of Coimbra General Library|University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
26 of 30|Liyuan Library|Beijing, China
27 of 30|Marciana Library|Venice, Italy
28 of 30|Saint-Geneviève Library|Paris, France
29 of 30|Vennesla Library and Culture House|Vennesla, Norway
30 of 30|Los Angeles Public Library|Los Angeles, California, USA

Print is dead, they said. No one has the attention span to read anything longer than a comedic listicle, they said.

They clearly hadn’t seen the National Library of China, or the Stuttgart City Library, or the Royal Portuguese Reading Room, or the State Library of South Australia – because these babies make books look good.

An an era of e-books, some may question the continued relevance of libraries. We’d rather surf Instagram than try to decipher the language of Shakespeare. Yet even in the digital age, libraries hold an allure we can’t quite shake. They’re cultural institutions, inviting public spaces, sanctuaries of knowledge, tributes to human creativity. Whether grand and gilded, or modern and minimal, the library is a reminder of mankind’s potential.

Early libraries catered to the privileged classes, and boast the architecture to match. They’re lavish, often church-like, with elaborate artwork and design details. As reading reached the masses, libraries remained elegant but became more open, and by the 21st century, some are downright daring and innovative.

“The modern library is inclusive and accommodates all social classes, genders and ages. It seems the very nature of the library, as a cathedral of knowledge, has encouraged architects to challenge tradition and be experimental,” said Maeve Convery, editor of Reflections: Libraries, in an email to Slate.

Regardless of your taste in design or literature, there’s a library that will take your breath away. Above you’ll find 30 of the world’s coolest libraries enticing bookworms around the world.

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