20 Amazing Outdoor Libraries and Bookstores From All Over the World


At long last, the weather is warming up, allowing for long walks, open windows, and (of course) the return of reading outside. But there’s yet another pleasure that you may not have tried — browsing for books outside! After the jump, you’ll find a selection of libraries and bookstores from all around the world that say “phooey” to the rain and operate in the open air, perfect for those bookworms who prefer gentle breezes to that typical bookstore musk. Nothing against the musk, but it just doesn’t get much more glorious than picking out a new book in front of a warm summer sunset. Click through to check out 20 wonderful outdoor book depositories, and add any of your missing favorites in the comments.

Bookyard, built by Massimo Bartolini for the Belgian art festival TRACK: A Contemporary City Conversation in Ghent. Visitors may browse and choose whatever book they like for a small donation. [Photos via]

Photo Credit: James D. Morgan / Rex Features

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration in 2010, IKEA created a giant outdoor library on Sydney’s Bondi Beach and invited beachgoers to trade in one of their own books or pick a new favorite for a donation. Though the shelves were only up for a single day (the most pop-up of pop-ups), it sure looks idyllic. [Photos via and via]

This free outdoor library in Yekaterinburg, Russia opens in the city center every summer. Those comfy-looking sack-chairs are a seriously good idea. [Photos via]

An adorable library kiosk in a park in Santiago, Chile. [Photo via]

The Levinski Garden Library, in Tel Aviv’s Levinski Park, was created by Yoav Meiri Architects in collaboration with Arteam as a “social-artistic urban community project.” It boasts some 3,500 books in 14 languages. [Photos via]

A tiny outdoor library in a park in Überlingen, Germany. [Photo via]

The Honesty Bookshop in the legendary bookshop town of Hay-on-Wye, in Wales. [Photos via and via]

Here’s another from Ham-on-Wye — this time with castle included. Apparently, the town is brimming with them. [Photo via]

An outdoor library in Linz, Austria. [Photo via]

The beautiful outdoor section of Boston’s Brattle Book Shop. [Photo via and via]

Then, of course, there’s Bart’s Books, the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the US, located in Ojai, California. [Photos via and via]

An outdoor bookstore in Havana, Cuba. [Photo via]

A lovely little outdoor bookstore in Seoul, South Korea. [Photo via]

An open-air library in Magdeburg, Germany, built with prefabricated pieces from a demolished building by members of the community. Designed by KARO* with Architektur+Netzwerk. [Photos via]

An outdoor used bookshop in Tokyo. [Photo via]

An amazing bookstore in Leiden, South Holland. [Photos via and via]

One of the famous Mumbai Bookstalls. [Photo via]

And of course, les bouquinistes — bookstalls along the Seine in Paris, which line more than three miles of the riverbank. [Photos via and via]

An outdoor bookstore in Madrid. [Photo via]

This one is neither a public library nor a bookstore but a “garden working studio” in Hackney, UK, designed by Office Sian Architecture. Still, it’s too good not to include. [Photos via]