While having a newly remodeled library in your town is great for gaining access to more books and academic resources, they are never as architecturally interesting as the older versions. Dark wood, dazzling details, and tier after towering tier of books – classic historic libraries are a bibliophile’s dream. This list of 13 libraries (courtesy of WebUrbanist), dating from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, represent some of the most astonishingly beautiful book repositories ever built.
Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland
At Ireland’s oldest university, home to the book of Kells, the ‘Old Library’ stuns with its dark wood, spiral staircases and seemingly endless aisles of books. It was built between 1712 and 1732 and renovated in 1860 to include a barrel ceiling for a second floor of book shelves.
Admont Abbey Library, Austria
The largest monastic library in the world is located in Admont in Austria. Admont Abbey was founded in 1074 and settled by Benedictine monks, and the spectacular gold and white library was added in 1776. It survived a disastrous 1865 fire that destroyed the rest of the monastery.
Iowa State Capitol Law Library
A lacy white banister flows along tier after tier of books and down a beautiful spiral staircase at the Iowa State Capitol Law Library, located in the Capitol building. The library provides Iowa lawmakers, lawyers, government employees and the public with a specialized legal collection of treatises and law books.
Rijksmuseum Reading Room, Amsterdam
The largest public art history research library in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum Reading Room was formerly located in the stunning main Rijksmuseum building, established in 1800. It has since been mod to a new, separate building, but images of its tiers of books in a massive historic room continue to dazzle.
Stockholm Public Library
Stockholm’s rotunda library building, designed by architect Gunnar Asplund, was completed in 1932 and is still considered one of the city’s most important buildings. It is primarily comprised of a round lending hall in a tall cylindrical shape and also contains interior reading rooms. Polished black stucco gives the entrance a dramatic flair, and the hanging chandelier captures lights from the high clerestory windows.
Check out the rest of the list at WebUrbanist