In the digital age, where information is readily accessible at our fingertips, there is something truly magical about stepping into a library. Libraries are more than just repositories of books; they are gateways to knowledge, imagination, and inspiration. Beyond their functional purpose, some libraries around the world possess a unique charm that transports visitors to a realm where beauty and intellect intertwine. From grand architectural masterpieces to cozy hidden gems, these impressive libraries offer a sanctuary for book lovers and a haven for those seeking solace in the embrace of literature.
Listed are four of the United States’ most awe-inspiring libraries. From the old-world charm of centuries-old establishments to the cutting-edge design of contemporary architectural marvels, each library encountered transcends the mere preservation of books.
The Seattle Public Library (Seattle, WA)
The Seattle Public Library was established in 1890 but needed more space and due to a burning down of the original, a new building was built in 1906 in downtown Seattle. The current public library was built in May of 2004 thanks to a “Libraries for All” act that allowed renovations. The prized Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, designed the building alongside Seattle architects and created a style of architecture showcasing an 11-floor, 362,987-square-foot building made of diamond-shaped glass and steel. The new library features a nonfiction collection called the “Book Spiral” that is in a 50-foot-high room.
Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)
The Library of Congress opened in 1897 and was considered the largest library in the world. The duo of architects who created the design of the library were John Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz. The two weren’t the most well-known architects, but they crafted the breathtaking Library of Congress with an Italian Renaissance style of architectural design. The beginning of the Library of Congress came with a $5,000 donation of books for the use of Congress by John Adams after the government moved from Philadelphia to Washington.
New York Public Library- Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (New York, NY)
The New York Public Library- Stephen A. Schwarzman Building consists of 92 locations across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. The main branch of the library was opened in 1911 after 10 years of creating a $5.2 million plan for libraries across New York. The architects who designed the library were Thomas Hastings and John Carrere using Beaux-Arts Style architecture. There are over 15 million items housed in the New York Public Library.
George Peabody Library (Baltimore, MD)
The George Peabody Library was opened in 1878 in Baltimore, Maryland. The library was donated to the people of Baltimore by George Peabody, a Massachusetts philanthropist, due to their “kindness and hospitality”. This library was designed by an architect named Edmund G. Lind with the help of Dr. Nathaniel H. Morrison. The library incorporates Baroque, Rococo, and Greco-Roman architectural elements including classical columns embellished with gold leaf. The George Peabody Library holds 300,000 volumes of books from the 18th century to the 20th century.
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