I think many of us have nostalgic memories of visiting libraries when we were younger and choosing out a book or two to pour our eyes over that evening. For some of us, this has changed as we have grown up, and reading is not something that captures us in the same way that it once did. For others, reading resembles a warm embrace from a narrative and a respite from a hard day. Despite these two categories of people, I think everyone can get something out of a good library.
With it being National Library Lovers month, I have compiled a list of three libraries from around the world that I would like to visit one day.
With over seven million volumes, this library is at the top of my must-see list. Constructed in 1712, it is the oldest library in Ireland. Its beautiful arches and bookshelves make this building worth a visit purely from an architectural perspective. Additionally, a highlight would be to see the original ‘Book of Kells’, which is displayed here. This was a text created in 800 CE and is an illuminated Gospel manuscript of the New Testament in Latin. The Book of Kells is also available online to view.
Admont Abbey Library is the world’s largest Monastic library. Situated approximately three hours from Vienna, the building contains extraordinary frescoes painted by Bartolomeo Altomonte and sculptures by Joseph Stammel, who were two artists of the Baroque period. This library contains 200,000 volumes and is also available for a 3D viewing online.
The reading room stands at the centre of the British Museum. Completed in 1857, it was opened for a special viewing by the public. Over 62,000 people visited, including Karl Marx, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde and Mahatma Gandhi, to name a few. Most of the collection was moved to the British Library in 2000, and the space is now used as an information centre and houses specialty art. The dome-shaped ceiling and large collection as well as the history behind it would make for a fascinating trip.