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Famous University Libraries of the World

By Martha Simons

Libraries are still popular no matter what your friends might say. The digital world is still missing some of the books as they have not yet been scanned. You can still enjoy the smell of books and absorb the rare facts the manuscripts from the past present. Let’s look closer at the best and most renowned university libraries in the world to find out what each of them has to offer.

Bodleian Library

Oxford, United Kingdom

Being one of the oldest libraries in Europe, Bodleian attracts scholars and science enthusiasts from around the globe with its 11 million items. Here you will find several copies of Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, and many other significant historical manuscripts. There are also special collections of rare books and archives you can find here. The oldest items date back to the 3rd century B.C. Using a helpful catalog, you can browse through the numerous manuscripts to find the information you need. To enjoy the variety of sources, you will need the Bodleian reader’s card. You can get it by filling out two forms indicating the personal information and current address.


Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

A good library should be rather big to have enough place for every significant book. This library definitely has this feature being the largest building in the world preserving an impressive collection of rare manuscripts. Visiting the website, you can search for rare medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, discover the papyrus collection, and look through the general catalogs and databases of books in the fields of literature, theology, history, and the natural sciences. Every visitor of the library gets the chance to visit the permanent and special exhibitions on the ground floor.


George Peabody Library

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Baltimore, Maryland

If one had to design a library of a fairy tale castle, this is probably what it would look like. The Library of the Peabody Institute The central hall is lit by daylight from above and has the height of 61 feet. You will be happy to find over 300,000 volumes dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. If you are in search for rare and reputable sources for the papers on archeology, British art and architecture, British and American history, in particular, this is the best place to start your research. You will not find any manuscripts on law and medicine here, though.


Trinity College Library

Dublin, Ireland

Trinity College Dublin

It is one of the tourist attractions being famous for its Long Room – its main chamber. It is 65 meters long and preserves around 200, 000 books. Here you can discover the renowned Book of Kells created by Celtic monks. If you don’t get the chance to travel to Dublin, you still can explore this manuscript using the Library’s new Digital Collections online repository.


University of Coimbra General Library

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra Library

The library is a National Monument and impresses its visitors with mesmerizing Baroque architecture. As it is a university library, you can order a guided tour and find out about its history and most notable manuscripts. There are around over a million book titles you can explore most of them dating back to the 19th century.


Gheorghe Asachi Technical University Library

Iasi, Romania

Universitatea Bucuresti

Established in 1948, this library counts around ninety thousand volumes. It has undergone the process of computerization and decreased the students’ efforts of finding the necessary source.


Philological Library, Free University of Berlin

Berlin, Germany

Philologische Bibliothek

If you are a great fan of the modern architecture and the dust on the wooden bookshelves of the past centuries does not impress you, you should definitely visit the Philological Library in Berlin. The architect of the building decided that the most fitting design for it would be the form of a human brain. Even if you are not hunting for ancient pages and don’t have to write a long academic paper, the library is worth visiting just for its amazing architecture.


Warsaw University Library

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw University Library

The library is open to non-Warsaw University students that makes it one of the main tourist attractions. No, they do not come here to find a 19th-century book or get impressed by the architecture. The main attraction is the botanical garden on the library’s roof. In case you do need a manuscript to go on with your research, you can find it using the fast way of online navigation – by the book’s year of publishing, its author, topic, etc.


Tama Art University Library

Tokyo, Japan

Tama bijutsu daigaku library

This library is an opportunity for all the creative souls out there to find the inspiration. It was built in 2007 by the prize-winning architect Toyo Ito. Every corner is full of creative ideas and amazing designs.


TU Delft Library, Delft University of Technology

Delft, Netherlands

TU Delft Library, Delft University of Technology Delft, Netherlands

A tech library should be cool, right? This is what the architects of the Delft Library probably were thinking covering it with real grass and flowers. It is not only beautiful but also very useful. You’ll find books on aerospace engineering, architecture, industrial design, etc.

While traveling the world, we often forget that some of the libraries can be as beautiful buildings as the famous sights described in every city guide. Do not be lazy to discover the literary treasures of the past the next time you go abroad. Visiting one of these libraries will let you see the life of the modern students from the different countries. Combining the wisdom of the previous generations and the modern technology, the libraries nowadays remain to be the significant source of information. It would be a crime not to use the massive abundance of data they store.