Αρχική > βιβλία > Πάντα όμορφος ο κόσμος των βιβλιοθηκών / Famous libraries

Πάντα όμορφος ο κόσμος των βιβλιοθηκών / Famous libraries

Czech Republic – Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

 

Δείξε μου τις βιβλιοθήκες μιας χώρας, για να σου πω τα χαρακτηριστικά του λαού που την κατοικεί

Του Νίκου Τσούλια

      Είναι ο μοναδικός χώρος στον πολιτισμό του ανθρώπου που η ομορφιά του έχει διφυή υπόσταση – πνευματική και υλική -, που σχεδόν όλη η ακτινοβολία του εκπέμπεται από το βαθύτερο πυρήνα των αντικειμένων του. Εδώ μόνο μπορείς να συναντήσεις όλες τις εποχές και όλα τα πνεύματα που έγραψαν ιστορία και άνοιξαν δρόμους διευρύνοντας διαρκώς τους ορίζοντες στην περιπέτεια του ανθρώπου.

       Περιδιαβαίνεις τους διαδρόμους τους και ξέρεις ότι διασχίζεις αιώνες και αιώνες. Παρατηρείς τις ράχες των βιβλίων και μεταφέρεσαι σε αλλοτινούς καιρούς, σε παράξενους τόπους, σε ταραγμένες ή ανήσυχες ιστορίες. Ξεφυλλίζεις τις σελίδες και αφήνεις τον εαυτό σου να χαθεί όπου τον έλκουν τα ψυχανεμίσματά του. Διαβάζεις «διαγώνια» τις γραμματοσειρές και αισθάνεσαι ότι συναντάς αναζητητές ανθρώπους, πάντα κάτι σου ψιθυρίζουν και πάντα συνδιαλέγεσαι μαζί τους θέλεις δεν θέλεις, χωρίς να πολυκαταλαβαίνεις τι ακριβώς γίνεται. Οι βιβλιοθήκες είναι τα μόνα ανοιχτά παράθυρα που μας οδηγούν πάντα έξω…, που ποτέ δεν θα μας αφήσουν να νιώσουμε εσώκλειστοι και περιορισμένοι, όπως και εκείνος ο φυλακισμένος ήρωας του Κάφκα που η βιβλιοθήκη της φυλακής ήταν η μόνη διαφυγή του!

      Αγναντεύεις ψηλά στα ράφια τα βιβλία που δεν φτάνεις και το βλέμμα της ψυχής σου διεισδύει και μαντεύει έννοιες και απορίες, νοήματα και ερωτήματα. Συνειδητοποιείς ότι δεν είναι ακριβώς όλη αυτή ενέργεια απόλυτα δική σου και προβληματίζεσαι πόσο ανταριασμένος είναι ο Κόσμος των πνευμάτων που συνεπαίρνει μαζί του και το δικό σου πνεύμα και εσύ ακολουθείς «εκών άκων». Νιώθεις ότι το σώμα σου εξαϋλώνεται και ξέρεις πολύ καλά πού οφείλεται, και αφήνεσαι για να χαθείς σ’ έναν στροβιλισμό σκέψεων, δικών σου και των βιβλίων, χωρίς να είσαι βέβαιος κάθε στιγμή τι είναι δικό σου και τι όχι, αλλά δεν σε νοιάζει. Βυθίζεσαι σε ένα γλυκό χαοτικό όνειρο. Αισθάνεσαι την έκσταση του πνεύματος, του πνεύματος του ανθρώπου. Είσαι μυημένος και μπορείς να βρεθείς εκεί. Είναι μια κατάκτηση που την έχεις κερδίσει από οδοιπορικό ατέλειωτων σελίδων.

      Ο βιβλιοφάγος δεν χρειάζεται να βρεθεί σωματικά και κατ’ ανάγκην σ’ όλες τις βιβλιοθήκες. Μπορεί και από μια εικόνα να νιώσει το μεγαλείο τους. Οι βιβλιοθήκες είναι οι ιεροί ναοί του πνεύματος, αλλά γι’ αυτόν είναι οι οικείοι χώροι του, οι απόλυτα δικοί του οικολογικοί θώκοι. Εδώ νιώθει ότι είναι η πιο αγαπημένη του πατρίδα, το διαρκές καταφύγιό του. Ξέρει ότι εδώ βρίσκονται τα ίχνη της πολύπαθης διαδρομής όλων των πολιτισμών του ανθρώπου. Πού αλλού μπορούμε να παρακολουθήσουμε με τον πιο πειστικό τρόπο την ιστορία του ανθρώπου; «Δείξε μου τις βιβλιοθήκες μιας χώρας, για να σου πω τα χαρακτηριστικά του λαού που την κατοικεί», αυτό θα μπορούσε να είναι το κριτήριο για την πιο ανάγλυφη εθνογραφική μελέτη.

      Στις βιβλιοθήκες είναι το μεγάλο φορτίο που ταξιδεύει στους αιώνες και στις χιλιετίες. Ας αναλογιστούμε τις πρώτες «φωλιές» του πνεύματός μας. «Οι πρώτες βιβλιοθήκες χρονολογούνται ήδη από την 3η χιλιετία π.Χ. Σήμερα χαρακτηρίζονται ακριβέστερα ως Πινακοθήκες ή Οίκοι των Πινακίδων, διότι το μέσο που χρησιμοποιούσαν για την εγχάραξη της γραφής ήταν οι πινακίδες από πηλό, που κατόπιν ψήνονταν, ώστε να σταθεροποιηθούν. Το ευτελές αυτό υλικό, κατέχει σήμερα μία εξέχουσα θέση στην καρδιά όσων μελετούν από διάφορες απόψεις την ιστορία του ανθρώπου: η ανθεκτικότητα του επέτρεψε να σωθούν ως τις ημέρες μας εκατομμύρια κείμενα, ποικίλου περιεχομένου και γραφικών συστημάτων, από όλους τους μεγάλους πολιτισμούς της Εγγύς Ανατολής»[i].

      Ας στοχαστούμε πάνω στις σημερινές ανατρεπτικές εποχές – όπου οι βιβλιοθήκες μετασχηματίζονται όσο ποτέ άλλοτε – είτε στο πρόγραμμα, με τίτλο Παγκόσμια Ψηφιακή Βιβλιοθήκη (World Digital Library), που αποσκοπεί «στην προώθηση της διεθνούς και διαπολιτισμικής αλληλοκατανόησης», όπως παρατήρησε ο αμερικανός βιβλιοθηκονόμος του Κογκρέσου Τζέιμς Μπίλινγκτον παρουσιάζοντας την ιστοσελίδα www.wdl.org στην έδρα της UΝΕSCΟ στο Παρίσι είτε την ιντερνετική Wikipedia, την ψηφιακή «επιτομή της Γνώσης», που διαρκώς γράφεται και επανεγγράφεται είτε την νεότευκτη Europeana με τις πολλαπλές φιλοδοξίες της για να συλλέξει όλο τον πνευματικό πλούτο της Ευρώπης. Εδώ δεν βρίσκονται οι κοινές ρίζες αλλά και το κοινό μέλλον όλων των ανθρώπων;

      Ας θυμηθούμε την τόσο γοητευτική περιγραφή του Ιουλίου Βερν – για τη βιβλιοθήκη του πλοιάρχου Νέμο με την οποία ζούσε εκεί κάτω στο βυθό στο μυθιστόρημα «Είκοσι χιλιάδες λεύγες υπό την θάλασσαν» – του συγγραφέα εκατομμυρίων παιδιών, γενεών και γενεών, σ’ όλο τον κόσμο, που μας εξήπτε τη φαντασία και μάς έκανε να ονειρευόμαστε, και ανυπομονούσαμε να γίνουμε και εμείς συγγραφείς και να γεμίσουμε το σπίτι μας με βιβλία.

      «Ητο βιβλιοθήκη. Υψηλά έπιπλα εκ μελαίνης παλισάνδρας, πεποικιλμένης διά χαλκού, εβάσταζον επί των μεγάλων ραφίδων των πολυάριθμα βιβλία ομοιομόρφως δεδεμένα. Ηκολούθουν την περιστροφήν της αιθούσης και απέληγον εις το κατώτερον μέρος των επί ευρέων ανακλίντρων,επεστρωμένων διά δέρματος καστανοχρόου και αναπαυτικοτάτων. Ελαφρά κινητά αναλόγια, μακρυνόμενα ή πλησιαζόμενα κατά βούλησιν, επέτρεπον να τίθεται επ΄ αυτών το προς ανάγνωσιν βιβλίον. Εις το κέντρον υψούτο πλατεία τράπεζα, κεκαλυμμένη υπό φυλλαδίων και τινων εφημερίδων παλαιών ήδη». (Ιούλιος Βερν, μετάφραση Αλεξάνδρου Σκαλίδου, εκδόσεις Θ. Λιβέριος, 1894).

[i] Ναυσικά Τσιμά, Βιβλιοθήκες: Η ιστορία του θεσμού και η κοινή πορεία του με τις Κοινωνικές Εξελίξεις, ΑΥΓΗ, 24/2/2008

Ακολουθεί μια σειρά ψηφιακών συλλογών με όμορφες βιβλιοθήκες

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Library at Melk Abbey in Austria

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St. Florian Library at Melk Abbey in Austria

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Artistic rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some archaeological evidence

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Remains of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus

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Malatestiana Library – the first European civic library

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Reading room of the Laurentian Library

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Załuski Library, Warsaw

File:Donald McDonald, stationer, and his Circulating Library, Gulgong, 1870.jpg

Circulating Library and stationery shop, Gulgong, Australia 1870

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The University Library Budapest

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The Robarts Library at the University of Toronto, Canada

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National Library of Wales

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The public library of Police, Poland

File:Quaid-e-Azam Library in Jinnah Garden.jpg

Quaid-e-Azam Library in Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan

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National Library of India, Kolkata, estb. 1836

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British Museum Reading Room

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library

Most Beautiful Libraries Around the World

POSTED ON MARCH 16, 2013 BY FGPROPERTYM

1

Czech Republic – Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

Strahov Theological Hall Prague

Formerly a monastery, the building was initially made of wood before it was later replaced with a stone façade. The Strahov Theological Hall became a fully functioning library in 1979 and boasts an ornately decorated interior featuring around 18,000 religious texts including various editions of the Bible in many different languages.

 

Brazil – Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio de Janeiro

Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura

The spectacular interior of this library is home to over 350,000 books, many of which date back to the 16th and 18thcenturies. In addition, there are a number of paintings and sculptures on display amongst the educational material.

 

Belarus – National Library of Belarus, Minsk

National Library of Belarus

At 23 storeys high, this library is not small. The architects whose brainchild it was, Victor Kramarenko and Michael Vinogradov, used glass panels on the 24 sides of the diamond-like exterior so that it would look like it was sparkling like the stars at night.

 

United Kingdom – Bodleian Library, Oxford

Bodleian Library Oxford

Created in 1602, this library is one of the oldest in Europe and houses over 11 million items. Whilst the library consists of a number of buildings, the most prominent and visually appealing is the Radcliffe Camera. It was the first circular library in England and its striking exterior has seen it take pride of place in many films such as The Red Violin and The Golden Compass.

 

Columbia – Biblioteca España, Medellin

Biblioteca España Medellin

The Biblioteca España was erected back in 2007 out of simple brick and stucco structures. Situated on a hill, the three bulbous shapes containing the community centre, auditorium, and the library itself stand out amongst the surrounding natural landscape. Inside, the library features three stacked, high reading rooms ringed with mezzanine computer levels. Skylights dotted around the roof’s periphery attract the warm glow of daylight.

 

Denmark – Danish Royal Library, Copenhagen

Danish Royal Library Copenhagen

Founded in 1648 by King Frederik III, the country’s Royal Library is home to all manner of works from the 17th century to the present day. What’s most impressive, however, is that every book printed in Denmark since the 17th century can be found here, as well as the first ever Danish book which dates back to 1482. Despite it housing such an historical breadth of literature, the design is particularly modern with a sleek silhouette and an abundance of glass.

 

Mexico – José Vasconcelos Library, Mexico City

José Vasconcelos Library Mexico City

Vincente Fox, the former Mexican president, dubbed this building one of the most advanced constructions of the 21stcentury. Costing almost $100 million to erect, it was the largest investment for the Fox administration between 2000 and 2006. Inside, the shelves are the main focal point of the design, their modern vibe offering a contrast to the numerous complementary sculptures such as the Ballena, or painted whale skeleton, by artist Gabriel Orozco.

15 Beautiful Libraries Around the World

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Trinity College Library – University of Dublin | Photograph via Skylark Studio

 

Following up from last year’s highly popular post ‘15 Incredible Libraries Around the World‘, the Sifter has compiled another collection of beautiful libraries from your comments and suggestions. Ultimately, it is the books within these buildings that make it special, but many of these pillars of learning stand as landmarks in the cities and universities they reside. For all lovers of books, these libraries deserve to be cherished and revered.

 

2. Kirby Library, Lafayette College | Easton, Pennsylvania, USA


Photograph by LAFAYETTE COLLEGE

 


Photograph by LAFAYETTE COLLEGE

 

3. Library of Congress | Washington, D.C.


Photograph by CAROL MCKINNEY HIGHSMITH

The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States (1800). Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and number of books (22.19 million). [Source]

4. Belarus National Library | Minsk


Photograph by ALAN DOYLE

 


Photograph by TERRETTA

 


Photograph by GIANCARLO RUSSO

The National Library of Belarus, founded on 15 September 1922, is a copyright library of the Republic of Belarus. It houses the largest collection of Belarusian printed materials and the third largest collection of books in Russian behind the Russian State Library (Moscow) and the Russian National Library (St Petersburg).

It is now located in a new 72-metre (236 feet) high building in Minsk, Belarus. The building has 22 floors and was completed in January 2006. The building can seat about 2,000 readers and features a 500-seat conference hall. Its main architectural component has the shape of a rhombicuboctahedron. The library’s new building was designed by architects Mihail Vinogradov and Viktor Kramarenko. [Source]

5. Abbey Library of St. Gall | Switzerland


Photograph by PATRICK HAURI

 


Photograph by Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen

The Abbey Library of Saint Gall was founded by Saint Othmar, the founder of the Abbey of St. Gall. The library collection is the oldest in Switzerland, and is one of earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world. It holds 2,100 manuscripts dating back to the 8th through the 15th centuries, 1,650 incunabula (printed before 1500), and old printed books. The library holds almost 160,000 volumes. The manuscript B of the Nibelungenlied is kept here. [Source]

6. Graz University Library Reading Room | Austria


Photograph by DR. MARCUS GOSSLER

 

7. Geisel Library, University of California, San Diego


Photograph by BELIS@RIO

 


Photograph by BEN LUNSFORD

The Geisel Library is the main library building on the University of California, San Diego campus and contains four of the six libraries located on campus. It is home to the Arts Library, the Mandeville Special Collections Library (SPEC), the Science & Engineering Library, and the Social Sciences & Humanities Library.

The building is named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) for the generous contributions they have made to the library and their devotion to improving literacy. The Geisels were long-time residents of La Jolla, where UC San Diego is located. [Source]

8. TU Delft Library | South Holland, Netherlands


Photograph via NAMIJANO

 


Photograph by NAMJIANO

 


Photograph by CHALMERS LIBRARY

The TU Delft Library, constructed in 1997, was designed by Delft-based Mecanoo architecture bureau. It is located behind university aula. The roof of the library is covered with grass, which serves as a natural insulation. The structure lifts from the ground on one side allowing to walk to the top of the building. The library is topped by the steel cone, giving its unique shape. The wall, opposite to the Aula is completely filled with glass. The library has won the Dutch National Steel Price in 1998 in the category buildings of steel and hybrid constructions. [Source]

9. Stockholm Public Library | Sweden


Photograph by TC4711

Stockholm Public Library is a rotunda library building in Stockholm, Sweden, designed by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund. The library was prepared from 1918 and onwards by a committee in which Asplund himself took part. Construction began in 1924, and the library was completed in 1928. It is one of the most notable buildings in Stockholm and one of Asplund’s most important works. In fact it was Sweden’s first public library to apply the principle of open shelves. [Source]

10. Bibliotheca Alexandrina | Alexandria, Egypt


Photograph by CARSTEN WHIMSTER

 


Photograph by CARSTEN WHIMSTER

 


Photograph by CARSTEN WHIMSTER

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina or Maktabat al-Iskandariyah is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It is both a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity, and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier center of study and erudition represented. [Source]

11. British Museum Reading Room | London, England


Photograph by JON SULLIVAN

 


Photograph by DILIFF

The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. In 1997, this function moved to the new British Library building at St Pancras, London, but the Reading Room remains in its original form inside the new British Museum. [Source]

12. The Library of Sofia University | Bulgaria


Photograph by ANASTAS TARPANOV

 

13. Seattle Public Library | Washington, USA


Photograph by STEVEN PAVLOV

 


Photograph by REX SORGATZ

The Seattle Public Library’s Central Library is the flagship library of The Seattle Public Library system. The 11-story (185 feet or 56 meters high) glass and steel building in downtown Seattle, Washington was opened to the public on Sunday, May 23, 2004. Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN were the principal architects and Hoffman Construction Company of Portland, Oregon, was the general contractor. The 362,987 square foot (34,000 m²) public library can hold about 1.45 million books and other materials, features underground public parking for 143 vehicles, and includes over 400 computers open to the public. Over 2 million individuals visited the new library in its first year. [Source]

14. The Joanina Library, University of Coimbra | Portugal


Photograph by WORDMAN1

 


Photograph by ABOUTCENTRO

 


Photograph by ABOUTCENTRO

The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is the Baroque library of the University of Coimbra, built in the 18th century during the reign of the Portuguese King Joao V (and named after him). It is located in upper Coimbra, the university historic centre, near the university tower, and is part of University of Coimbra General Library. [Source]

15. Vancouver Public Library | British Columbia, Canada


Photograph by JAN HAVLIK

 


Photograph by MICHAEL FRANCIS MCCARTHY

 


Photograph by EVAN LEESON

15 More Incredible Libraries Around the World

http://twistedsifter.com/2011/10/beautiful-libraries-around-the-world/

 

 

 

15 Incredible Libraries Around the World

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dewy-decimal-system-little-drawers-in-library
Moldova National Library – Photograph by Daniel Zollinger

These pillars of higher learning are also home to some of the world’s most incredible architecture. Below is a small collection of stunning libraries around the globe. From the historical to the modern, these centres of knowledge and learning also preserve the history and culture of their respective periods. Personally, I would find it hard to concentrate in some of these places, they are too beautiful for the eye not to wander.

 

1. University Club Library – New York City, United States

university-club-library-new-york
Photograph by Peter Bond

 

the-university-club-library
Photograph by Peter Bond

 

2. Canadian Library of Parliament – Ottawa, Canada

parliament-library-of-canada-in-ottawa
Photograph by James Gillard

 

canadian-library-of-parliament
Photograph by James Gillard

 

3. Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – New Haven, Connecticut

yale-rare-book-library
Photograph by Lauren Manning

 

yale-university-beinecke-rare-book-and-manuscript-library
Photograph by KAALpurush

 

4. Iowa State Capital Law Library – United States

iowa-state-capital-law-library
Photograph by Tani Livengood

 

5. Suzzalo Library at the University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

suzzalo-library-seattle
Photograph by Sam

 

suzzalo-library-university-of-washington
Photograph by Sam

 

6. Admont Abbey Library – Austria

admont-abbey-library-austria
Photograph by Ognipensierovo

 

7. State Library – Victoria, Australia

state-library-in-victoria-australia
Photograph by Waltonics

 

8. Library at El Real Monasterio de El Escorial – Madrid, Spain

el-escorial-library-madrid-spain
Photograph by Jose Maria Cuellar

 

9. José Vasconcelos Library – Mexico City, Mexico

jose-vasconcelos-library-mexico-city
Photograph by Pedro Vasquez Colmenares

 

jose-vasconcelos-bibliteca-mexico-df
Photograph by Aurelio Asiain

 

10. Real Gabinete Português de Leitura – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

real-gabinete-rio-de-janiero-brazil
Photograph by Ruy Barbosa Pinto

 

11. National Library of Finland – Helsinki, Finland

national-library-of-finland-helsinki
Photograph by Marj-Liisa

 

12. Mitchell Library – Sydney, Australia

mitchell-library-sydney
Photograph by Christopher Chan

 

13. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at University of Toronto – Toronto, Canada

thomas-fisher-rare-book-library-university-of-toronto
Photograph by Fadi J

 

14. George Peabody Library – Baltimore, Maryland

george-peabody-library-baltimore-maryland
Photograph by Danielle King

 

15. Strahov Theological Hall – Prague, Czech Republic

strahov-theological-hall-prague
Photograph by Rafael Ferreira

 

If you enjoyed this article, the Sifter highly recommends:

15 Beautiful Libraries Around the World

 

http://twistedsifter.com/2010/08/libraries-around-the-world/

 

 

The 10 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

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Top 10 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World

With the development of technology and the advent of e-readers, the classic paper books gradually became extinct. But for someone, traditional tomes are not just a source of knowledge, but a real fetish. A library on campus has always been a place where people go in search of tranquility, where you can focus on the absorption of new knowledge. We offer you to evaluate the student’s ten most beautiful libraries in the world and feel the atmosphere of tranquility and grandeur of the reading room.

1. Common Library of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Common Library of the University of Coimbra, Portugal

 

2. Library of rare books and manuscripts Beinecke, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Library of rare books and manuscripts Beinecke, Yale University

 

3. Library of the University of Salamanca, Spain.

Library of the University of Salamanca, Spain

 

4. Library of Trinity College, also known as the “Long Room”, Dublin, Ireland.

Library of Trinity College

 

5. Old Library, St John College, Cambridge, UK.

Old Library, St John College, Cambridge, UK

 

6. Philological Library at the Free University of Berlin, Germany.

Philological Library at the Free University of Berlin, Germany

 

7. Central Library, University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands.

Central Library, University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

 

8. Library of William Rainey Harper Memorial, University of Chicago, USA.

Library of William Rainey Harper Memorial, University of Chicago, USA

 

9. The George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

The George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

 

10. Law Library of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.

Law Library of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

 

Posted by Uday sri at 03:48

http://udaykiranblog.blogspot.gr/2013/05/the-10-most-beautiful-libraries-in-world.html

 

 

7 of the world’s most beautiful libraries

Sometimes, the packaging is just as good as what’s inside

By Rachel Sang-hee Han 31 March, 2013

How cool can libraries be in an era of iPads and Kindles?

More than you think, if you know where to go.

1. Central Library: Seattle, Washington, United States

Which floor to choose?The Central Library in Seattle is sleek, modern and sophisticated and has tourists from around the world paying visits and taking tours. Yes, actual tours.

In its first year, more than 2 million tourists visited the library, which was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and American designer Joshua Ramus. Tours began in 2006, two years after its opening.

The library was voted onto the American Institute of Architects 150 favorite structures in the United States. Nevertheless it has received mixed reviews over the years.

Whatever the verdict, the building is an impressive work of art: shiny, abstract and unusual.

The library holds various art exhibitions, book signings and other events throughout the year, while visitors can stop by the Chocolati cart for a coffee and browse through the gift shop anytime.

The library offers free self-guided cell phone tours, along with group tours.

Click here for more information. For more things to do at the library, check out its «10 things to do»list.

1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104 ; +1 206 386 4636; open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday noon-6 p.m.; www.spl.org

 

2. Trinity College Library: Dublin, Ireland

Trinity Library, DUblin

Old, yes. Boring, no.The Trinity College Library in Dublin is the oldest library in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.

Not only is the exterior impressive, it boasts the largest single chamber library in the world, also known as the Long Room, which contains more than 200,000 of the library’s oldest books.

One of the most famous manuscripts is «The Book of Kells: Turning Darkness into Light,» which contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum. The manuscript itself attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year.

The Long Room houses one of the oldest harps in Ireland. Dating to the 15th century, the oak harp is the model for the emblem of Ireland.

Queen Elizabeth II visited the library last year, the first monarch to do so since 1911.

College Green, Dublin 2; +353 01 896 1000; Various exhibitions and tours are available; admission €9 (US$12); open Monday-Wednesday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday closed; www.tcd.ie/library

 

3. Geisel Library, University of California: San Diego, United States

Throwing some literature into «Inception.»Named after Theodor Geisel, widely known as Dr. Seuss, UC San Diego’s Geisel Library is one of the most modern library buildings in the world.

At first glance, it looks like a spaceship.

Architect William Pereira, who helped design actual space launch facilities at Cape Canaveral in Houston, Texas, designed the library in 1970. It has been featured in sci-fi films, short stories and novels.

If you need a hint of which film, think of Leonardo DeCaprio, dreams and a lot of snow.

Yes, the snow fortress in the film «Inception» looks a lot like the Geisel Library.

But of course, it’s not just the exterior that’s interesting. The library also hosts «Dinner in the Library,» which invites readers for cocktails, a silent auction and also a special speech from prominent authors.

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, United States; +1 858 534 3583; open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.; www.libraries.ucsd.edu

 

4. TU Delft Library: The Netherlands

Where the Teletubbies may come to roam and read.The library at the Delft University of Technology was constructed in 1997 and has more than 862,000 books, 16,000 magazine subscriptions and its own museum. But it will only take a glance to be mesmerized, as it is a sight to remember.

The building itself exists beneath the ground, so you can’t really see the actual library. What makes it interesting is the roof, which is a grassy hill.

A huge cone pierces the grass roof, which symbolizes technology. This «gives (more) shape to the introverted reading rooms,» according to the library.

The roof covers 5,500 square meters. Construction of the roof posed several difficulties in terms of maintenence and leakage, but it has become one of the most striking and greenest (both literally and environmentally) structures in the area.

Quick tip before you lie down on the grass: beware the sprinklers.

Prometheusplein 1, 2628, ZC Delft, The Netherlands; +31 15 27 85678; open daily 8 a.m.-midnight.; www.library.tudelft.nl

 

5. Bibliotheca Alexandrina: Alexandria, Egypt

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is the revival of the ancient Royal Library of Alexandria, which was the largest and most influential library in the Greek world. It was built by Alexander the Great some 2,300 years ago.

The new library was reborn in 2002 on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea after 10 years of designing, planning and construction.

The library was designed by SNOHETTA, winners of an international competition organized by the International Union of Architects, UNESCO and the government of Egypt.

Along with the standard libraries with books, there are four museums covering antiquities, manuscripts and science, and also 15 permanent exhibitions, including «Impressions of Alexandria,» «Arabic Calligraphy» and «The History of Printing.»

With its circular yet tilting form, the library looks like a modern painting. Various carvings and alphabetic inscriptions decorate the flatter side of the building, which the designers explain is «a careful display of the library’s basic proviso: language.»

El Shatby, Al-Iskandariyya, Egypt; +20 3 483 9999; open Saturday-Thursday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; www.bibalex.org

 

6. Stuttgart City Library: Stuttgart, Germany

Try not to get your fingerprints on the white walls.The Stuttgart City Library is controversial. Some say it’s innovative, while others say it doesn’t match its environment.

Nevertheless, the library is one of the most interesting buildings in the area, along with the Porsche Museum nearby.

Designed by Korean-born, Germany-based architect Yi Eun-young, the design of the cubic facility was influenced by the ancient Pantheon in Rome. It features a linear-shaped «heart,» which serves as a multi-story meeting space that draws natural sunlight through the roof.

The space throws various events, including book signings, readings and exhibitions.

The white and silver library may not fit perfectly with the green trees and red-roofed houses around the city, but it does stand out.

Mailaender Platz 1, 70173, Stuttgart, Germany; +49 0711 216 91100; open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; www.xbibliothek.stuttgart.de

 

7. Bishan Public Library, Singapore

Your modernized tree house.Located in the heart of Bishan, the award-winning Bishan Community Library spans 4,000 square meters.

Simple and sophisticated, it was designed to look like a tree house.

The colorful pods that stick out of one side of the building represent books protruding from a bookshelf. Inside the library, these pods offer private spaces for reading. Not to mention a perfect place to hold seminars, readings and workshops.

Its ceiling-high glass windows also make it fun to watch people walking and reading from inside the building.

5 Bishan Place, #01-01, Singapore 579841; +65 6332 3255; open daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; www.pl.sg

Do you know a cool library you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

First published September 2012, updated March 2013

 

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/escape/7-coolest-libraries-world-934450

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