The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World


[Editor’s note: In celebration of the holidays, we’re counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #4, was originally published December 13, 2011.] The college library, whether ornate or modern, digital or dusty, is in many ways the epicenter of the college experience — at least for some students. It is at once a shining emblem of vast, acquirable knowledge, a place for deep discussions and meetings of the mind, and of course, a big building full of books, which, as far as we’re concerned, is exciting enough. Colleges and universities are understandably quite proud of their libraries, which can be a selling point for prospective students and donating alumni alike, and they often become the most well-designed and beautifully adorned buildings on campus. To that end, and perhaps to inspire your studies a bit, we’ve collected a few of the most beautiful college and university libraries in the world, from Portugal to France to Boston. Did your alma mater’s library make the list? Or did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

The University of Coimbra General Library, Coimbra, Portugal [via]

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT [via and via]

University of Salamanca Library, Salamanca, Spain [via]

The Trinity College Library, aka “The Long Room,” Dublin, Ireland [via]

Old Library, St. John’s College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK [via]

Philological Library of the Free University, Berlin, Germany [via]

Central Library, University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands [via]

The Harper Library Reading Room, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL [via]

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY [via]

George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD [via]

Queen’s College Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK [via]

Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK [via and via]

Duke Humfrey’s Library, Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK [via and via]

Suzzallo Library’s Graduate Reading Room at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA [via]

The North Reading Room in Doe Library, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA [via]

La Sorbonne Reading Room, Paris, France [via]

Codrington Library, All Soul’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK [via]

Cornell Law School Library, Ithaca, NY [via]

University of Michigan Law Library, Ann Arbor, MI [via and via]

Pontifical Lateran University library, Rome, Italy [via and via]

Powell library, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA [via and via]

Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA [via]

Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA [via and via]

Pitts Theology Library, Emory University, Atlanta, GA [via]

Bapst Library, Boston College, Boston, MA [via]