Friday, February 3, 2012

Best Libraries of the World

Strahov Monestary Library & Theological Hall  ,Prague

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland
Wren Library,Trinity College,Cambridge University
Biblioteca Castilla La Mancha,Spain
National Art Library, London
Beatus Rhenanus Library, Basel
Biblioteca Castilla La Mancha, Spain
Bernadotte Library, Stockholm
Library of the Prussian King Frederic the Second, Germany
Library of Alexandria,Egypt
Bodleian Library, Oxford University
Library of the Prussian King Frederic the Second in Potsdam, Germany
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The world's biggest library
Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 
Bad Schussenried Bibliothekssaal, Baden-Württemberg,Germany
Royal Danish Library (also the "University Library" of University of  Copenhagen)

Vatican Library,Vatican City, Rome

In this article I will talk about the oldest and the most beautiful libraries of the world.Alexandria Library ,Egypt is the oldest library of the world(established in 200BC) but it was destructed and rebuilt .The 70 libraries listed here are not in order according to their age  but I just added them as these are the biggest ,oldest and most luxurious libraries of the world.I might have missed few ones but if I happen to discover them I will add them.

  • 1.Strahov Monestary Library and Strahov Theological and Philosophical Hall ,Prague ,Czech Republic. Established in 1143,Europe's Classical library now transformed into Museum of National Literature.
  • 2.Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen,Denmark .The is National library of Denmark and also the main Library of University of Copenhagen. Established in 17th Century.
  • 3. Vatican Library, Vactican City, Rome. Established in 1475 it has 75,000 codices.
  • 4. Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland  . Established in 719,one of the richest medieval libraries in the world.Since 1983 it has been a  UNESCO World Heritage Site.            
  • 5. Biblioteca Angelica Library, Rome, Italy. Established in 1604 ,it is the first public library of Italy.
  • 6. August Herzog Library, Wolfenbüttel, Germany. This library has collection from Middle Ages and Early modern Europe,Established in 1572.
  • 7. Beatus Rhenanus Library, Basel, Switzerland . Beatus Rhenanus's private library.Inscribed in the UNESCO's Memory of the World in 2011.
  • 8. Bernadotte Library, Stockholm Sweden
  • 9.National Library of Scotland. Established in 1925 by Act of Parliament ,it contains over 20 million books and printed items.
  • 10. Biblioteca Di Bella Arti, Milan and also National Library of Florence
  • National Library of Florence is the largest library of Italy and the house of many priceless artifacts.It was established in 1714 but it contains many old books and collections from Renaissance era.
  • 11. Biblioteca do Palacio e Convento de Mafra I, Lisbon Coast, Portugal.Library of the Mafra National Palace.A small but beautiful library.
  • 12. Biblioteca do Palàcio Nacional da Ajuda Lisboa III, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 13. Biblioteca Geral University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. Established in 1537.
  • 14. Biblioteca Palafoxiana, Puebla, Mexico.Included in UNESCO's Memory of the World.
  • 15. Bibliotecha de la Real Academia De La Lengua, Madrid, Spain
  • 16. Bibliotheque Alencon, Normandy, France
  • 17. Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris, France.National Library of France and one of the biggest library of the world (and biggest in France).It was established under Louis XIV and it was opened to public in 1692.
  • 18. Bodleian Library, Oxford University, England.Established in 1602 and the second biggest library in Britain.
  • 19. Boston Copley Public Library, Boston, USA. This library includes more than 1.7 million rare books and manuscripts,it was established in 1895.
  • 20. LSE Library(also known as British Library of Political and Economic Science).It is the world's largest social and political library.
  • 21. Old British Reading Room, British Museum, London, England.A classic place to study.
  • 22. Cathedral Library, Kalocsa, Hungary
  • 23. Chetham's Library, Manchester, UK. England's oldest public library ,the meeting place of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
  • 24. Dutch Royal Archives Library, Netherlands
  • 25. El Escorial Library, San Lorenzo, Spain. The library formed in 1616 and is housed in the palace of King of Spain(Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial,Spain).
  • 26. Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA
  • 27. George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.19th Century research library of John Hopkins University.
  • 28. Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag, the Hague, Netherlands
  • 29. Hereford Cathedral Chained Library, Hereford, England .The library in Hareford Cathedral which was built in 1079.It contains many old books and manuscripts of ancient Europe and written with ancient hand writing and containing illustrations in gold and colour.Rare books were once kept chained to the bookshelf to prevent stealing.
  • 30. Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar II, Germany
  • 31. Joanina Library University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 32. Kremsmuenster Abbey Library, Kremsmünster, Upper Austria.The magnificent monastery library was built in 1680.
  • 33. Biblioteca Castilla La Mancha, Spain
  • 34. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C, is the world's biggest library.
  • 35. Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada
  • 36. Library of St. Walburga, Zutphen, Netherland (Preserved from the 16th Century)
  • 37. Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria.The largest monastery library in the English speaking world.
  • 38. Library of the National Palace of Mafra, Portugal.The library of Royal Palace of Mafra.
  • 39. Library of the Prussian King Frederic the Second in Potsdam, Germany
  • 40. Melk Monastery Library, Melk, Austria. 17th Century library which houses many many medieval manuscripts.
  • 41. National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • 42. North Reading Room, UC Berkeley, California, USA 
  • 43. New York Public Library, New York, USA
  • 44. Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp, Belgium.This library contains exceptional collection of typographical material.It was included in the UNESCO's Memory of the World in 2001.
  • 45. Queen's College Library Oxford.Great medieval library in Oxford University.
  • 46. Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (Possibly the most beautiful library of them all.)
  • 47. Rennie Mackintosh Library, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland.Rennie Mackintosh was the greatest artist of Scotland and this library houses his art and other art materials.
  • 48. Riggs Library, Georgetown University, USA
  • 49. Rijkmuseum Library, Amsterdam.The largest art history research library in Netherlands.
  • 50. Riksdagen Library, Swedish Parliament Library, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 51. Russian National Library, St. Petersburg. The oldest public library of Russia,Established in 1795.
  • 52. St. Florian Monastery-Library, Austria
  • 53. Salamanca Library, Salamanca, Spain.The General History library of University of University of Salamanca. It was established in 13th Century.
  • 54. Sansovino Library, Rome, Italy.A library and a Renaissance building in Venice.It was built in 1537 and contains many important and rare manuscripts.
  • 55. Sorbonne Library, Paris, France.Min library of Paris-Sorbonne library,it was built in 1253.
  • 56. British Library ,London.  Biggest library of Britain and also the secound biggest in the world (after Library of Congress).The library was originally a department of the British Museum and from the mid-19th century occupied the famous circular British Museum Reading Room. It became legally separate in 1973, and by 1997 had moved into its new purpose-built building at St Pancras, London.
  • 57. Stiftsbibliothek Klosterneuburg, Klosterneuburg, Austria
  • 58. Suzzallo Library, Seattle, Washington. The central library of University of Washington 
  • 59. The New Library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
  • 60. University-Library, Helsinki, Finland Theology Room at St. Deiniol's library, North Wales
  • 61. Trinity College Library. Also known as The Long Room, This is the largest library in Dublin, Ireland.
  • 62. University-Library, Helsinki, Finland
  • 63. National Library of Israel(Hebrew University of Jerusalem),Jerusalem.The national library of Israel and the biggest library of Judaica and Hebraica books.
  • 64. Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria
  • 65. Waldsassen Abbey Library, Bavaria, Germany.Probably the most spectacular library in Germany.
66. Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge,England.The famous library of Cambridge University was built in 1695 .
    Its collection includes:
 Issac Newton's  "Principia Mathematica " with hand written notes for 2nd edition. 
 An 8th century copy of Epistales of St Paul.
 The Capell collection of early Shakespeare editions.
 A collection of autograph poems by John Milton.
 Several works of William Caxton ,including the first book printed in English and the first 
book  produced in England.
 Ramanujan's Lost Notebook.
  • 67. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, Connecticut.A library of Yale University ,Established in 1963.It contains many original and rare pieces of greatest writers of Western Literature.The holdings of the Beinecke Library include:
 Joseph Conrad
 Daniel Defoe
 Charles Dickens

 George Eliot
 Benjamin Franklin
 Wolfgang von Goethe
 Thomas Hardy
 John Ruskin
 James Joyce
 Rudyard Kipling

 Thomas Mann
 D. H. Lawrence
 Friedrich Schiller
 Alexis de Tocqueville
 John Masefield

 Pre-1500 manuscripts
 Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts
 Modern Books and Manuscripts (post 1800)
  • 68. Library of Alexandria, Egypt(The Ancient Alexandria Library which is destructed now was built in 3rd Century).The biggest library of Egypt,the old Alexandria Library was built around 250 BC but it was destroyed and so this new building was made.
  • 69. Harper Library Reading Room, University of Chicago,Chicago,USA
  • 70. Bapst Library, Boston College,Boston,USA
  • 71. Biblioteca Marciana of Venice, Italy
  • 72. National Széchényi Library is a library in Budapest, Hungary. It is one of the two Hungarian national libraries.The library was founded in 1802 by the highly patriotic Hungarian aristocrat Count Ferenc Széchényi.
  • 73. The Law Library at the University of Zurich.
  • 74.The Philological Library of the Freie Universität Berlin. It was designed by internationally known architect Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank in the shape of a human brain, and opened in 2005.
Biblioteca Marciana of Venice

Melk Monastery Library, Melk, Austria.

Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp, Belgium.

The Law Library at the University of Zurich.
The Philological Library at the Freie Universität Berlin

Rijkmuseum Library,Amsterdam

Sansovino Library, Rome
British Museum Reading Room,London

Suzzallo Library,University of Washington, Seattle

National Central Library of Florence,Florence
 Riksdagen Library, Swedish Parliament Library, Stockholm
Bibliothéque Nationale de France (National Library of France),Paris
Sorbonne Library (University of Paris), Paris
Kremsmuenster Abbey Library,Austria
Harper Library Reading Room, University of Chicago
Biblioteca Angelica, Rome
Biblioteca Geral, University of Coimbra,Portugal
British Library, London

Waldsassen Abbey Library, Bavaria, Germany
Austrian National Library,Vienna
Biblioteca Di Bella Arti, Milan

General  History Library , University of Salamanca
National Széchényi Library, Budapest

El Escorial Library, San Lorenzo, Spain
Admont Abbey Library, Austria
Biblioteca Angelica, Rome
George Peabody Library ,John Hopkins University
National Library of Finland, Helsinki
Melk Monastery Library, Melk, Austria
Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel,Germany
Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library,New York
Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library,New York
Cathedral Library, Kalocsa
Bibliotecha de la Real Academia De La Lengua,Madrid
Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag, Netherlands
Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar II,Germany
Kremsmuenster Abbey Library, Austria
Library of St. Walburga, Zutphen, Netherland

Biblioteca do Palacio e Convento de Mafra,Portugal
 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,Yale University


  1. Hey Nassif

    I love this post! Am a total book fanatic myself.

    I am the CEO of something called Everplaces. People use, to save and share collections of places they want to remember or visit one day. Its the perfect medium for your library lists and I was wondering you would consider sharing it there, that might also help create interest for your blog.



  2. Nice post !!!!! You'd like know that exists a Library called Biblioteca Marciana of Venice (Italy).It is one of the earliest surviving public manuscript depositories in the country, holding one of the greatest classical texts collections in the world. Thanks a I know more library......

  3. There is a pretty one also in Eger, Hungary...the building is a College, called Líceum and the library is called könyvtár in Hungarian. Here are some pics:

  4. Thanks Henriett Der, I have added that great library.