Gorgeous Libraries
April 25, 2020 4:27 PM   Subscribe

 
Oh, this is just MARVELLOUS.

It's a shame you can't zoom all the way in to read the titles at the Morgan Library the way you can at some of them - and what is going on with all the empty shelves in Prague?

I LOVE libraries - to visit, to look at, to admire from afar. I've been dismayed I couldn't express my appreciation to the librarians at my favorite branch in person this year. This is a WONDERFUL post. Thank you so much for sharing it, Iris Gambol!
posted by kristi at 5:44 PM on April 25


Gorgeous and previously
posted by Thella at 5:57 PM on April 25


The main Library of Congress building is also quite lovely.
posted by tavella at 6:35 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Images of these libraries make great zoom backgrounds
posted by lollusc at 7:31 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


For five years I went to the Morgan about once a week during my lunch hour. I grew obsessed with a particular bench seat in one room and with several objects, and visited them ritually, like a lover. I keep most too close to my heart to share, but this little cup is just too sweet not to highlight. It sits on a shelf on the West wall of Morgan's office, and I dream of one day being able to see paintings on the interior.
posted by minervous at 7:53 PM on April 25




Oooo, wow! I do wish that Oodi Central Library in Helsinki had a 360 tour. It doesn't have the classical gorgeousness of these buildings but it's spectacular.
posted by rednikki at 8:09 PM on April 25


Why not the Library of Parliament (currently closed for 10 years due to Centre Block renovations) as well : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ_3g-5cd3I
posted by papineau at 8:41 PM on April 25


Here's another list, from The Guardian: The world's most beautiful libraries – in pictures, but I looked for a 360 tour of one of my favorites, the St. Gallen library, and couldn't find one.
Libraries are the best! I love collections of things, but libraries are so friendly and inviting.
posted by mumimor at 12:46 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


I want to go to all of them and take pictures where they have "Learn HTML in 12 Days."
posted by rhizome at 3:18 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


You must also have a look at the oldest iconic library in india also I have listed few of them
Sarasvathi Mahal Library
Connemara Public Library
Seshadri Memorial Library
Trivandrum Public Library
posted by feroz at 4:32 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


The Boston Public Library is really fantastic. From a gorgeous marble staircase appointed with stately guard lions to rooms full of dark wood paneling and elaborate frescoes. There's also a positively delightful outdoor space where you might and expect, and will often find, a live musical performance of some sort, accompanied by the soft, self-obsessed mutter of the modest central fountain.

And then there is the main hall. The soaring, arched ceiling and enormous frosted windows marching down the outside wall combined with the stillness of the library hush create a sublime sort of negative-space ambedo. It's the kind of feeling sought through meditation, mindfulness, and in the ebbing current of post-exertion endorphins. Here, this feeling is thrust upon your awareness the moment you walk in from one of the more pedestrian side rooms. It's wonderful brain candy.

10/10, would recommend!
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 9:07 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite libraries is Vancouver's downtown branch. I love the number of sci-fi shows that have used it for filming.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:21 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Here is a list of links to all of the pictures of the Library of Congress In the Library of Congress open archives.
posted by metasunday at 10:48 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


If you enjoy this post you may enjoy Public Libraries: A Photographic Essay by my old neighborhood buddy Bob Dawson. Pics and review here.
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:26 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


my university's Western Bank Library

Bit of a tangent, but I wanted to add that the Arts Tower just next door is the site of one of the few remaining paternoster lifts in the UK. I've been on it. It's a little terrifying at first, but really neat afterwards.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:41 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


The Boston Public Library is really fantastic. From a gorgeous marble staircase appointed with stately guard lions to rooms full of dark wood paneling and elaborate frescoes. There's also a positively delightful outdoor space where you might and expect, and will often find, a live musical performance of some sort, accompanied by the soft, self-obsessed mutter of the modest central fountain.

I performed a fancy wedding there once. I have always loved that library just for being in, but it was super interesting to see it transformed into a fancy party venue. The wedding ceremony took place in front of that same fountain which was off until I pronounced the couple husband and wife and then I stepped back and the fountain came on and the quartet started playing. It was really something.

Thank you for this post. I haven't been inside a library since early March and that's way too long for me.
posted by jessamyn at 3:41 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Mumimor's Guardian link does feature a number of beautiful libraries but it is inaccurate in at least one respect regarding the library at the Strahovský klášter in Prague. It's correct that most visitors to the monastery are not allowed to do more than poke their heads through the entrance to gape at the fantastic library chambers but a strictly limited number of private tours are available if you book in advance with an authorized local guide. So if you really want to see the library (which is spectacular) you might someday have the opportunity. I was fortunate enough to do so last year and recommend it to library fans if they ever have the chance to visit Prague. As a bonus the library features a couple of doors concealing staircase access that were deeply satisfying to my pre-adolescent fascination with secret doors and passages.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:58 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is lovely, thank you. I am missing my small, suburban local library more than I thought. It's probably one of the places besides work and home I go most often. I spent a lot of time at the Boston public library a few years ago and agree it's quite something.

Some virtual tours of the Bodleian libraries in Oxford I used to work at the Radcliffe camera when the underground passage from the Old Bodleian to the camera was for staff only. Damp, stoney and institutional, with the long clank of the mechanical book lift. It was really something to skulk along there then emerge through the old stacks and into the Radcliffe camera before it opened and students started demanding photocopies.

Central library in Edinburgh ain't too shabby either. Or Fountainbridge library, in its beautiful art deco building.

Ruins of the Olaf Church in Trondheim library.

Back to the tours above! If I remember right, the Autstrian national library has a globe collection, but website doesn't show much as it's closed at the moment...
posted by sedimentary_deer at 3:14 AM on April 27


Coming from a construction worker background into learning mainframe computer languages I found that I absolutely *had* to leave my home to study, and visit some of the fine libraries there in Houston. I really like a lot of them, love a few of them.

The one which was absolutely the best for me to study in was the medical library in The Med Center there in town. Absolutely every person in there was dead serious, there was absolutely no kidding around, these people had serious study to do and not near enough time to do it. They were great teachers for me, just from watching them, but more than watching just being with these people. By far the best place I've ever found to study.

That was 1989, I simply walked in looking like I belonged (amazing the things you can do if you walk with purpose etc) and no one questioned me. I'm certain that any more I'd have to have some type of pass or another
posted by dancestoblue at 3:59 AM on April 27




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