We’re putting it out there: We love libraries. And why wouldn’t we? Libraries honor books, the people who make them, and of course all of us who read them. Here are just a few from our long list.
Feel free to chime in with your own “best library” picks.
Best Place for Bibliophiles:
Seattle Central Public Library
The awesome, light-filled Rem Koolhaas-designed building is designed for book lovers of all stripes (and it’s the crown jewel of all Seattle’s well-planned, well-funded branches). There are special spaces for children, teens, writers – even music practice rooms. Walk from bottom to top of the four-floor-high “Book Spiral” on gently inclined floors, take in vistas of Elliot Bay from the top-floor book nooks – then settle in for a good read in the carpeted “Living Room.”
A Great Spot to Read for Hours:
London’s Peckham Library
This L-shaped library’s prize-winning design includes elevated reading “pods” far above street-level noise, in which you can enjoy their terrific children’s book and Afro-Caribbean literature collections.
Perfect Place to Act Like a Medieval Scholar:
Trinity College’s Old Library Long Room
This 16th-century beauty houses the Book of Kells among its 200,000 volumes, shelved in an awe-inspiring 213-feet long, 42-foot wide barrel-vaulted space. Rumor has it the Jedi Archives in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” is a near-replica.
Best Spot to Pretend You’re in a Spaceship:
National Library of Belarus
Built in the shape of a rhombicuboctahedron (go look it up), this Minsk landmark lights up spectacularly at night.
Reading Room Most Likely to Make You Drool:
Canada’s Library of Parliament
The business of this library is strictly, seriously governmental. But the building itself is overwhelmingly gorgeous, especially the ornately decorated reading room.
Best Place to Do Research with James Bond:
Jay Walker’s Private Library
The most amazing library of all may be one that you’ll never enter. The Priceline.com founder’s mind-expanding Library of Human Imagination holds such treasures and toys as ruby-encrusted books, the chandelier from “Dr. No,” and a real Sputnik. Take Walker’s TED talk tour to get some highlights.