25 Most Famous Libraries Of The World

For centuries libraries have been one of the hallmarks of major cities as well as minor ones. From public libraries to university institutions, libraries serve as a repository of information and knowledge. Some libraries are a little more well-known, of course. Here are 25 of the most famous ones the planet is home to.

  1. The Library Of Congress – This is certainly the most famous and the largest library in the world. Open to the public, it is basically the national library of the United States. It’s also the oldest federal cultural institution in the country, and is home to more than 32 million books and 61 million manuscripts as well as numerous unique, historical documents.
  2. Reading Room Of the British Museum – Located in the Great Court of the British Museum, this library is an information center as well as a large collection of curated books. It’s a stunning piece of architecture and truly a marvel to see.
  3. Bodleian Library – Situated in Oxford, UK, this library is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to 1602. It has more than 11 million items within its walls.
  4. Vatican Library – Established in 1475, this is one of the oldest libraries in the entire world. It holds the oldest complete manuscript of the bible as well as over one million other books.
  5. Yale University Beinecke Rare Book Library – This is the largest building in the world that is focused solely on the preservation of rare books and manuscripts and is open to the public.
  6. National Library Of St. Marks – Located in Venice, Italy, This library dates back to 1468 and houses millions of books and manuscripts.
  7. Boston Public Library – Founded in 1848, this is the first publicly supported library in America. It houses more than 22 million items including numerous rarities.
  8. New York Public Library – The New York Public Library is the third largest in the country and houses more than 50 million items. It’s actually made up of 87 separate libraries and houses numerous major historical documents.
  9. Library Of Parliament – Located in Ottawa, Canada, this building is found on the Canadian ten dollar bill and is a national landmark. It’s closed to the public but does offer tours to guests.
  10. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library – This Toronto based library is the home of the largest collection of rare books in Canada and has an impressive collection of items.
  11. Seattle Central Library – One of the newest libraries on this list, this library was built in 2004 and features one of a kind glass and steel construction that helps it truly stand out as something unique.
  12. Abbey Library of Saint Gall – This library, located in St. Gallen, Switzerland, is the country’s oldest library and one of the oldest monastery libraries in the entire world. It has a huge collection of very rare books and documents.
  13. Austrian National Library – The Austrian equivalent of the Library of Congress, this library houses the country’s publications as well as numerous historic documents.
  14. Library of the Benedictine Monastery – This library is located in Austria and is the largest monastery library on the planet.
  15. National Library Of Sweden – This library preserves all Swedish printed works. It’s home to more than 20 million different items.
  16. Morgan Library and Museum – Housing numerous famous and historic books and works of art, this 1906 institution holds the private collection of JP Morgan.
  17. Trinity College Library – Home of the famous ‘Long Room’, this Dublin based library is that country’s equivalent of America’s Library of Congress.
  18. Jay Walker’s Library – With more than 50,000 books, this library is often called the most amazing library in the world, although it’s closed to the public.
  19. Danish Royal Library – This is Denmark’s official National Library and dates back to 1648, holding all works printed in that country since the 17th century.
  20. Salt Lake City Public Library – Another newer building, this library was built in 2003 and features stunning modern architecture as well as more than 500,000 documents.
  21. Melk Monastery Library – This library is as well-known for its large assortment of medieval manuscripts as well as its amazing architecture. It’s located in Austria.
  22. State Library of Victoria – More than 1.5 million documents are found here, in this Melbourne-based library.
  23. George Peabody Library – Part of the Johns Hopkins college, this school is often called a ‘cathedral of books’
  24. Library of Alexandria – The original Library of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This modern version, located in Alexandria, Egypt, is a memorial to that piece of history.
  25. Stockholm Public Library – This Swedish Library is home to more than 2 million documents and more than 2 million media items. It’s one of the country’s most famous buildings.


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Sarah J

Sarah J is Chief Editor and Founder at MastersinLibraryScience.net, formerly LibraryScienceList.com (LSL). Join us today and become a community curator. We can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Learn more about me on Google+