A few months ago I wrote a post on the 10 coolest libraries in the world and, obviously, I limited it to 10. That was so hard I felt compelled to include an honorable mention section at the end.  You’d be surprised how many very cool libraries are out there.

Since then, I’ve discovered more unbelievable libraries. So I’ve decided to update the list! Yay books and libraries! Check them out!

New Additions to the List

Kansas City Library, Missouri, USA

Why it’s Cool

  • The façade of the parking garage looks like a giant shelf of books.
  • Community members and patrons were asked to vote on the titles to be displayed.
  • Titles of the 22 volumes represented include “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury among many others.
  • The theme of making you feel like a Lilliputian in a giant’s library even continues inside.

Library of Birmingham – Birmingham, UK

Birmingham

Why it’s cool

  • It’s Britain’s biggest public library and the largest regional facility of its kind in the whole of Europe.
  • It includes adult and kids’ libraries, music collections, a Shakespeare Memorial Room, and even a health facility.
  • There are gardens on the roof that change with the seasons.

Mediatheque Sandro Penna – Perugia, Italy

Why it’s cool

  • It looks like an alien spaceship from a planet filled with Disney princesses from the 1950s.
  • Built in the memory of the a poet (Perugia Sandro Penna)
  • Ground floor is a multimedia floor where people have access to the Internet and there are rooms for music lessons. 

Peckham Library – London, UK

  • The building is the shape of an inverted L.
  • It changes color and looks a little like it came out of a comic book or was made by chopping up a Rubik’s Cube.
  • The main hall is a double-height space punctuated by three large gourd-shaped enclosures floating in the upper void that creates 60 secluded study spaces below the three pods with light and airy areas for shelving and circulation.

Biblioteca Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

brazil

Why it’s cool

  • The royal reading room was built in 1837 but feels like something from medieval times.
  • It houses more than 350,000 works from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, as well as a small collection of paintings and old coins.

Vennesla Library, Vennesla, Norway

Vennesla

Why it’s cool

  • It has a oddly interesting, modern bone/rib cage look.
  • It links together an existing community house and learning center into a cultural center.
  • The library includes a café, open meeting places and a small scene incorporated into the plan of the new building, making it a combined library and house of culture. 

Amsterdam Public Library, Netherlands

Amsterdam Public Library

Why it’s cool

  • Largest public library in the Netherlands (and largest in Europe until 2013). 
  • Seven floors of book collections and community spaces.
  • Within the library lies a theatre, an exhibition space, study pods (that look like cracked eggs), a music department, conference rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace.
  • Reading spots throughout the library present stunning south-facing panoramic views.

Old Market Library, Min Buri, Bangkok, Thailand

Old Market Library, Min Buri, Bangkok

Why it’s cool

 

Previous List of Coolest Libraries

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

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

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.)

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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!)

  • The Royal Danish Library — Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 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
  • UNAM Central Library – Mexico City, Mexico
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