Increasingly, books are created with electrons instead of atoms and libraries are going digital. We deliver Library as a Service, a cloud-based delivery platform combined with research and curation expertise of our distributed network of information specialists.
Yet in honor of National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014), we thought it would be fitting to pay homage to the “library as a place” – those buildings and rooms (often architecturally distinguished) that are filled with books and dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and pleasure. We did some research and came up with this list of interesting libraries worth noting.
The World’s Biggest Library
We begin our list of famous libraries with the Library of Congress, which is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and the largest library in the world. And as a matter of both transparency and pride, the Library of Congress is also a client of ours.
No trip to Washington D.C. would be complete without a visit to this venerable institution, though if you cannot make it in person, you can download the app. Yes, you can go to iTunes for a virtual tour of the Library of Congress, any time, on an iPhone or iPad. (no Android version yet)
Unique American Public Libraries
NPR features the work of Robert Dawson, author of the new book, The Public Library, which is a photographic essay of public libraries across the country. Included are images from a library established by former slaves, the first Carnegie Library to open in the United States and a bookmobile in rural Nevada.
Famous Libraries in the World
A site dedicated to providing information on colleges has curated a collection of pictures from famous university libraries around the world, and did not neglect their brethren in the public and private sector. You can view pictures and descriptions of libraries from locations across most of the continents, in countries from Belarus to Egypt to Singapore.
Famous Libraries in the World, According to Librarians
Since the best judge of a library’s worthiness ought to be a librarian, we include the curated list from LibraryScienceList.com. Some of the entries you will see in the other links, yet this list differs in that rather than featuring pictures, it provides a brief explanation as to why the library is worth noting, and a link to the library’s site for more information. Click here to see what the experts consider to be the world’s most famous libraries!
Private Libraries of Famous Authors
What makes a good writer, above all else, is a love of reading. This blog included a post by Maria Popova entitled, “Writers and Their Books: Inside Famous Authors’ Personal Libraries”, which features not only pictures of a few interesting private libraries of authors (including one that houses what appears to be a horse from a carousel), but quotes from various writers and other interesting musings.
Private Libraries of Famous Men
See the personal libraries of 15 famous statesmen, authors and renowned men throughout history. The collection includes pictures from the libraries and studies of Rudyard Kipling, George Washington, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William F. Buckley, whose death in 2008 was from a fatal heart attack that happened while he was in his study.
Vintage Photographs of Famous Libraries
Some of these black and white photos date back to the late 19th century, capturing a piece of history from ten libraries in various locations in the United States and Europe. Included are images of the New York Public Library and a dramatic, post-Blitz image of the London Library, circa 1940, which shows that even through the bombings of World War II, some intrepid Londoners would not be kept away from their books.
Libraries with Dramatic Architecture
This collection, at a website dedicated to bookmarks, is entitled the “Most Interesting Libraries of the World” which is not at all misleading or unrepresentative of the dozen or so dramatic libraries that are featured. What makes the collection noteworthy is the architecture, from the modern public library in Aix-en-Provence, France, with a façade that resembles hard-cover books, to the Library of the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, a World Heritage Site that was built in the 16th century.
Famous College Libraries
Who wouldn’t want to do research and study at the libraries of these universities? The only downside might be the distraction of the amazing space that surrounds you, as you will see in these pictures. “The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World” features a collection of renowned college libraries at renowned institutions of higher learning around the world, like Cambridge, Oxford, University of Chicago, UCLA and La Sorbonne.
Many of these libraries have survived centuries of time and destructive forces like war and weather. Some lament that the most destructive force of all is digitization. While LAC Group is at the forefront of delivering the “Library as a Service“, we will always support the traditional “Library as a Place“.
May the two of them long continue to coexist in harmony!