The days of stuffy, dark, dust filled libraries, that feel like you’ve stepped into an 18th century novel about etiquette run by uptight librarians hissing “shhhhh” at the slightest noise are over. Check out some of the coolest libraries on the planet. I want to fly to these places now just so I can hang out here all day.

1. Bishan Public Library — Bishan, Singapore

bishan 1

Why it’s Cool

  • Ultra, modern colorful interior and exterior
  • Inspired by a tree canopy and tree houses
  • Pods that pop out of the building’s street facade for reading and study nooks

2. Bibliotheca Alexandrina — Alexandria, Egypt

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Why it’s cool

  • Revival of the most famous library in history
  • Sweeping design melds modern with hints of its architectural ancestor
  • Boasts shelf space for eight million books,main reading room covering 220,000 sq ft and eleven cascading levels
  • Houses 4 museums and 4 art galleries

3. Beitou Library — Taipei, Taiwan

Beitou 2

Why it’s cool

  • Natural, calming design makes you want to sit back and just read
  • One of the most energy-efficient pieces of architecture in East Asia.
  • Part of the roof is covered by photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity and soil provides thermal insulation.
  • Conserves water by capturing rainfall and stored to use for the library’s toilets.

(The little eco-friendly girl in me just squealed with joy. Oh and it has books. Squealing again.)

 4. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library — New Haven, CT, USA

bernake

Why it’s cool

  • The modern design inside and outside creates an interesting juxtaposition for what it house – old, very rare books
  • It has an original Gutenberg Bible
  • Dramatic all-white interior has a five-story reading room shaped as an upside-down pyramid
  • The rooftop terrace is pretty cool too

5. Stuttgart Library —  Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart

Why it’s cool

  • Library designed and positions to establish the City Library in Stuttgart as a new intellectual and cultural center of Stuttgart.
  • Unique cube design and super modern efficiency
  • Makes me think that this is what a library looks like in Heaven

6. Biblioteca Vasconcelos — Mexico City, Mexico

mex city

Why it’s cool

  • Known as the “mega library,” this giant library takes up a 409,000 square feet.
  • Over 500,000 books are displayed on glass shelves that hang from the building’s five stories.
  • Massive white whale skeleton that greets you as you walk through the main hall

Reminds me of what a library would look like in Star Wars or the remnants of a broken down train from space.

 7.  Delft University of Technology Library — Delft, Netherlands

delft 2

Why it’s cool

  • Grass-covered roof that makes the building look like it’s just part of the landscape (oh and people hang out on it like it’s a picnic area!

8. National Library of Belarus — Minsk, Belarus

belarus 5

Why it’s cool

  • Unique geometric shape (rhombicuboctahedron  – a complex polyhedron of 18 squares and 8 triangles)
  • Lights up in different colors and patterns at night

To me it looks like an alien pod that skimmed through Las Vegas before landing in Belarus.

9. Philological “Brain” Library at the Free University — Berlin, Germany

brain library

Why it’s cool

  • Unique looping, sloping and waving interior design has a lot of calming movement
  • Combined 11 libraries into 1 (that’s a lot of books)
  • Designed for eco-efficiency
  • Nicknamed “the Berlin brain”

Remind anyone else of a Zepplin that crashed down and turned into a library?

10. Kanazawa Umimirai Library — Kanazawa City, Japan

Kanazawa

What makes it cool

  • Polka dot perforations and sleek design
  • Modern mixture of white and glass

Makes you feel a little like you’re inside a cheese grater, no? But in a super cool way.

Honorable mention (because there are so many cool libraries out there!)

  • Central Library at National Autonomous University of Mexico — Mexico City, Mexico (This one makes me think of an Aztec boombox)
  • The Royal Danish Library — Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Villanueva Public Library — Villanueva, Colombia
  • Galway Mayo Institute Of Technology Library — Galway, Ireland
  • Geisel Library at University of California, San Diego — San Diego, Calif., USA
  • Joe & Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago — Chicago, Ill., USA
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