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Some of the world’s coolest libraries – National

Posted on 24/09/2018 | in 杭州龙凤 | by

Picture it. You have a monster test tomorrow and there is no time left for procrastination. The next 12 hours of your life will consist of sitting in an all-too quiet, distraction-free library, with nothing but your thoughts and books to keep you company.

Ugh, the worst amiright?

But find yourself in one of these libraries, arguably some of the most stunning from around the globe, and an all-night cram session may not seem so bad.

Library of Parliament – in Ottawa, Canada

Established in 1876, the Library of Parliament survived numerous fires in its history. In 1916, a blaze destroyed most of Parliament’s Centre Block, but the library survived thanks to its iron doors, which isolated it from the fire. The library is depicted, in hologram form, on the current Canadian ten dollar bill.

The Library of Parliament on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 28, 2011.

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Sean Kilpatrick

The Library of Birmingham – in Birmingham, England

Described by architect Francine Houben as the ‘people’s palace’, this public library opened in September 2013 and is considered the largest public library in the United Kingdom. It houses Birmingham’s collections of rare books, photographs and archives. It also provides free access to the National Film Archive. Add to that a gallery space, theatre, amphitheatre and performance spaces – you’ve got quite the cultural destination.

An exterior view of the new Library of Birmingham and its outdoor roof terrace garden at Centenary Square on Aug. 27, 2013 in Birmingham, England. The modern exterior of interlacing rings reflects the canals and tunnels of Birmingham.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Library of the French National Assembly – in Paris, France

Located in Paris’ Palais Bourbon, the library of the National Assembly holds many treasures, including the draft French Constitution of 1791, annotated by “The Incorruptible” Maximilien de Robespierre, one of the most important figures in the French Revolution.

A photo taken on Nov. 3, 2012 shows the library of the French National Assembly in Paris.

FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

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Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch – in Vancouver, Canada

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the exterior of Vancouver’s Central Branch resembles Rome’s Colosseum. “Library Square” – which is comprised of Central Branch, Federal Office Tower and retail spaces – takes up an entire city block. The decision to build Library Square was the result of a referendum held in 1990. Following the referendum, the city of Vancouver held a design competition. Safdie’s design was by far the most radical – and most favoured by the public. The library also boasts a rooftop garden designed by landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander.

The Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, downtown Vancouver, B.C.

Douglas Williams/The Canadian Press

Philological Library at the Freie Universität Berlin – in Berlin, Germany

Designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster (aka Lord Foster of Thames Bank), Berlin’s Philological Library was built in the shape of a human brain. Foster is also the architect behind the Hearst Tower in New York City and 30 St. Mary Axe in London, England (aka “The Gherkin”).

Students of the Free University of Berlin studying in the library of their University’s Philological Faculty, which was designed by British architect Norman Foster.

AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

UNAM Biblioteca Central – in Mexico City, Mexico

The Central Library of Mexico City’s National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) was established in 1950. The building, covered in murals by Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman, is part of a group of buildings on campus that were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Library building in the campus of the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) on November 08, 2012 in Mexico City.

OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images

Library of Congress – in Washington D.C., USA

The Library of Congress was established in 1800, making it the oldest cultural institution in the United States. It is arguably the largest library in the world, housing 158 million items. Collections were lost and rebuilt on numerous occasions after being lost in fires. While you’re allowed to go in the library as a member of the public and browse the collections, only high-ranking officials can check out books.

A view of the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill July 24, 2014 in Washington, DC.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

New York Public Library – in New York City, USA

Second only to the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library is one of the largest in the United States. The library was established in 1895 and has 88 neighbourhood branches all across New York City. Its historical collection boasts a 1493 letter written by Christopher Columbus while at sea during his first voyage.

People wait in line to see a copy of The Declaration Of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, on display at the New York Public Library on July 1, 2014 in New York City.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) – in Paris, France

The National Library of France houses 14 million books and printed materials and three million digital documents, with the mission of collecting and preserving France’s heritage. Although the origins of the BNF date back to the 1300s, the newest library building was commissioned by then-President François Mitterrand in 1988. The new building was criticized for its architecture and cost, but it boasts more than one million visitors each year.

This picture taken on July 2, 2009 in Paris shows the BNF.

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Trinity College Library Dublin – in Dublin, Ireland

Ireland’s largest library was established in 1592. The Old Library, which houses the famous Book of Kells plus 200,000 of the library’s oldest books, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

A general view of the Old Library in Trinity College University, in Dublin.

BENOIT DOPPAGNE/AFP/Getty Images

The National Library of Belarus – in Minsk, Belarus

This library is the cultural centre of Belarus. Though it was founded in 1922, a new 22-floor building for the library opened in 2006. The new library’s architects Mihail Vinogradov and Viktor Kramarenko designed the building’s main structure after a rhombicuboctahedron that lights up the sky at night.

A picture taken in October 2005 shows the National Library of Belarus in Minsk.

VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images

Bibliotheca Alexandrina – in Alexandria, Egypt

The New Library of Alexandria was built to capture the spirit of the original ancient library of Alexandria. In addition to space for eight million books, it houses four museums, a planetarium, art galleries, a conference centre and several academic research centres. Some have alleged the library is, among other things, an expensive vanity project for the Egyptian government.

An Egyptian policeman stands in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria Oct. 16 2002, on opening night.

MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

Seattle Central Library – in Seattle, USA

Central Library is the flagship location of the Seattle Public Library system. Opened to the public in 2004, the 11-storey modern glass and steel building houses more than one million books and 400 computers free for the public.

An exterior view of Seattle’s Central Library on May 19, 2004 in Seattle, Washington. The glass and steel structure was designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture of the Netherlands and Seattle-based LMN Architects and cost $165.5 million to build.

Ron Wurzer/Getty Images

British Library – in London, England

The British Library’s collection is more than 150 million items strong, with three million items added every year. In addition to manuscripts, maps, magazines, drawings and patents, the library also boasts eight million stamps (stamps!). According to library staff, if you were to visit every day and view five items each time, it would take you 80,000 years to see the entire collection. Treasured items in the British Library’s collection includes Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the Magna Carta and the world’s earliest dated printed book.

Visitors enjoy the cafe at The British Library on April 5, 2013 in London, England.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Don’t see your favourite library on this list? Add it below using our commenting system.

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