Who says that amidst modernity reflected in gadgets and the Internet there is no room in our world for any hardcopy of books and documents anymore? The following are unique sanctuaries that provide us an exceptional experience of gaining knowledge that neither gadgets nor the Internet could offer.
St. Catherine’s Monastery in South Sinai, Egypt

Library at St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt
Being the world’s oldest and constantly operated library, it has existed since it was built by Justinian I’s, the Byzantine Emperor, order in 564 AD. Currently, it boasts the second largest (beat by Vatican Library) collection of the earliest manuscripts and codices in the ancient world – it exhibits not less than 3,000 both educational and highly religious manuscripts and scriptures and 8,000 books, together with the very first written scriptures of the historical thinker Plato and classic writer Homer.

Bibliotheca Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt

Bibliotheca Alexandria
Being the most enormous and famous ancient world’s library, there is naught of remnants of the actual Library of Alexandria and no one knows with certainty regarding the details of its destruction. But after 2,000 years had passed in 2002, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was established in honor of the forsaken original library. It is an attempt to rekindle and relive some of the once-held brilliance in knowledge and erudition in Alexandria. With the blending of the ancient world with modern time, this new library offers an intensified reinvention. Being the abode to Internet Wayback Machine, it is the sole location of the Internet Archive’s back-up copy.

The Taipei Public Library in Beitou, Taiwan

Taipei Public Library
Having several branches, Taipei Public Library system’s branch located in Beitou treasures a breathtaking collection of books in its building which is the foremost receiver of the diamond rating in EEWH, the maximum rating that is possible. It is hence the most eco-friendly and eco-conscious structure in Taipei. It was built in November 2006 with primarily wood from the properly managed forests in its area, it also generates its power utilizing photovoltaic cells. It also has 20-centimeter sheet of soil deposits on its roof which is not just utilized as insulation but also used to collect rainwater for flushing the toilets.

Reading Club 2000 in Manila, Philippines

Reading Club 2000 Manila
When Hernando “Nanie” Guanlao has desired to honor and respect the recollection of his loving parents, who have inspired him to love the art in reading, the Reading Club 2000 or popularly known as the “library on Balagtas street” was established. Outside his home in Manila, he set up a collection of his old textbooks and offered it to those who are interested in reading and borrowing them. And gladly, people were interested in doing so. Nanie’s library, after 12 long years, contains more or less 2,500 books. To express and extend his passion of reading to others, he also manages what he calls “book bike” service. Such offers opportunity to the poorest communities around Manila by Nanie delivering the reading materials to them.

Picture Book Museum in Iwaki City, Fukushima

Picture Book Museum
Established in 2005, the preschool students in Iwaki, Fukushima, had been given a special space to learn and build their dreams about. Not enticed and convinced by the silence in traditional libraries, its founder has given its architect Tadao Ando liberty to do whatever he imagines just to develop a certain space that will be definitely beacon children’s interest. But there is a twist; the private owner ordered to ensure that all the books covers are visible. Aside from being known as a certified architectural masterpiece, it ended as a brand new archetype in spaces for educational purposes in Japan built with only concrete, glad, and wood.
Royal Grammar School Chained Library in Guildford, England

Since it was established as early as in 1500s, Royal Grammar School one of rare and remaining last examples of libraries chaining books onto the shelves, an old practice began in 1575 on the death of John Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich. No, it is not intended for stopping one from using these classic books, it allowed principally functional and significant books be positioned in common areas meant for public examination, and even usage, strengthening the ways and means in systems of public libraries. Nowadays, being Headmaster’s Study, this Chained Library boasts books that came from the dawning of 1500s and these include a couple of early versions of Principia, one of Sir Isaac Newton’s most notable works.

Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, France

Bibliotheque Nationale
Comprised of 4 towers shaped like open books, arranged on a full-grown forest, Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris is certainly not just empowered with its distinct architecture but with its enormous collection of classic books. Built in 1996, this 22-story infrastructure took not just the place of from the preceding library in being the home to a continuously expanding book collection but also the recognition as the national library of the France and one of the world’s biggest libraries.

Stuttgart City Library in Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart City Library
Knowing the fact that Eun Yong Yi, a Korean architect, designed the fresh Stuttgart City Library, just opened in 2011, it has received a diverse blend of criticism from not just architects but also library enthusiasts and the locals. It may have been described as barren inhospitable environment, a plain Rubik’s cube with only two colors, and a cube-shaped book prison, but with its breathtaking staircases that connect different floors full of books and mysterious and concealed comfortable areas to sit, read, and relax, I think that seems as a heaven less fluffy and feathery for bookworms. It is interesting how the visitors and books provide color to its architecture.

Trinity College Long Room in Dublin, Ireland

Trinity College Long Room
Home to the Ireland’s largest library is its oldest university, the Trinity College. The Long Room is the most enormous library in the world compared to those that are single chambers and it holds the rarest and eldest books of their collection along with the not less than 200,000 volumes conserved inside. It is also famous for being the permanent keeper of the holy Book of Kells. Here’s a trivia: it also keeps the Brian Boru harp, the one portrayed in the logo of Guinness records, one of the national emblems of the country. And yet, once again, the classic book sanctuary has made it to the headlines as they were recognized as inspiration for the famous Jedi Archives shown in the Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Centrale Bibliotheek in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, The Netherlands
With the area of 28,000 square meters, Centrale Bibliotheek of Amsterdam is definitely the Netherlands’ most massive library. With its sophisticated heating system using ground as its source, magnificently competent boilers that utilizes air in the atmosphere for cooling, solar panels in the roof top, sustainable structural materials, and their storage system for energy that they confess to work for a long-term period, it is undeniably Amsterdam’s most environmentally-friendly building. It is open 12/7 – from 10 AM to 10 PM, 7 days a week – and the lending and returning transactions are eased with automated procedures.

Stockholm Public Library in Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Public Library
It was Sweden’s first library to implement the known open shelf design Fredrik Hjelmqvist, a librarian, and Gunnar Asplund, an architect, decided that clients of Stockholm Public Library could take their personal books. It officially opened on the 31st of March, 1928, with Prince Eugen, duke of Narke. Its self-service form has recently revitalized as the improved automation for transaction processing of the book returns and check-outs.

Boston Public Library in Boston, USA

Boston Public Library
Holding 24 million volumes, the Boston Public Library is known to have achieved the second place in the largest library showcase in the United States of America. Established in 1848, it was the first free-to-all, public library, and also the first one to lend out the books to its patrons. So you should know who to give your gratitude to when your library fine becomes a teen-ager this year.

McAllen Public Library in McAllen, Texas, USA

McAllen Public Library
When McAllen city obtained a title to an elderly retail property, they fetched architects based in Minneapolis, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. to transform the old Wal-Mart into a new colossal public library, which appears not anything near the standard Wal-Mart look as it once did. Being the United States’ most massive one-story public library, the newly improved McAllen Public Library consists of a huge area for children and teens in their state, an auditorium that caters to 200 people, art gallery and, of course, being a previous Wal-Mart, a snack bar that is inspired with the concept of food courts.

Library of Congress in Washington, DC, USA

Library of Congress
The vastest one-story library in the country may be McAllen Public Library, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Library of Congress in Washington, DC, is the national library of the United States and is known to be most enormous library known to man in terms of space of shelf and book volume. With its 838 miles-long bookshelves, occupied by the 151.8 million objects, it is not surprising to know that it is the world’s largest library. Perhaps the colossal compilation is trying to achieve balance to its tiniest book, which is the 1/25 inch by 1.25 inch replica of Old King Cole with pages that can only be flipped using a needle.

Nassau Public Library in the Bahamas

Nassau Public Library
Built in the midst of 1800s originally as jail, the Nassau Public Library was once quartered by the criminals of the city. Constructed as an octagonal structure, it was transformed in 1837 to a library with its sides containing a fraction of its collection of 28,000 volumes of different books and relics like colonial documents, Arawak artifacts, and other historic prints.



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