Most libraries aren’t on the cutting edge of architectural design, these prime examples from around the world, beg to differ. First up, we have the beautiful library located at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Continue reading to see more.

5. Canadian Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament (French: Bibliothèque du Parlement) is the main information repository and research resource for the Parliament of Canada. The main branch of the library, which is the focus of this article, sits at the rear of the Centre Block, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, and is the last untouched part of that larger building’s original incarnation, after it burned down in 1916. The library has been augmented and renovated a number of times since its construction in 1876, the last between 2002 and 2006, though the form and decor remain essentially authentic. The building today serves as a Canadian icon, and appears on the obverse of the Canadian ten-dollar bill.

4. University Club Library New York

Founded to celebrate the union of social duty and intellectual life, the Club states in its charter that the purpose of the organization shall be the “promotion of Literature and Art by establishing and maintaining a Library, Reading Room and Gallery of Art, and by such other means as shall be expedient and proper for such purposes.” In addition to its many grand architectural features, the University Club hosts one of New York’s great private art collections, with a particularly strong group of works by great American painters such as Gilbert Stuart and Childe Hassam, who featured the Club’s facade in his work “Allies Day, May 1917”.

3. Suzzalo Library at the University of Washington

Of the 6 million volumes that make up the University of Washington Libraries collection, approximately 1.6 million are housed in Suzzallo/Allen Library. Along with the Main Collection, Suzzallo/Allen Library also has a Children’s Literature, Government Publications, Natural Sciences, and Periodicals collections. The Special Collections contains a Rare Book Collection with books printed before 1801. The Microforms/Newspapers collection is the largest collection of microform materials in any Association of Researches Library. Suzzallo Library also houses the main technical services units of the UW Libraries, including the Monographic Services Division and the Serials Services Division.

2. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University

A six-story above-ground glass-enclosed tower of book stacks is surrounded by a windowless rectangular outer shell, supported only on four massive piers at the corners of the building, which descend 50 feet to bedrock. The outer walls are made of translucent veined marble panels quarried from Danby, Vermont, which transmit subdued lighting and provide protection from direct sunlight. At night, the stone panels transmit light from the interior, giving the exterior of the building an amber glow. The outside dimensions have “Platonic” mathematical proportions of 1:2:3 (height: width: length). The building has been called a precious “jewel box”. The building has also been called a “laboratory for the humanities”.

1. José Vasconcelos Library

Mexico City’s José Vasconcelos Library, labeled by the press as the “Megabiblioteca” (“megalibrary”), is considered controversial and is the largest investment in infrastructure by the Vicente Fox administration. It is dedicated to José Vasconcelos, the former philosopher, presidential candidate and president of the National Library of Mexico. The library is spread across 38,000 square metres (409,000 sq ft) and had an initial planned cost of 954 million pesos (roughly US$98 million). The Congress of Mexico proposed plans to reduce the budget of 2006 that included cuts for all three branches of government. National Action Party (PAN) presented an alternative budget that preserved funds for Enciclomedia and the José Vasconcelos Library.

Bonus Video

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