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Troubadour Jun 27, 2011 8:36 PM

Architecture of Bibliotopia: Library Pr0n
Libraries are (or at least should be) magical places. And sometimes they succeed at that beyond imagination. Post your library pr0n here. I'll start things off with the Peabody Library in Baltimore - a wonder of wonders that gives me the same spine-tingling awe as Amiens Cathedral:
(Credit: Johns Hopkins University at
(Public Domain at

texcolo Jun 27, 2011 9:50 PM

Nice idea for a thread and nice library in Baltimore.

Cirrus Jun 27, 2011 9:52 PM

Great idea for a thread!

I am ashamed to say that I have never been in that Baltimore library, even though it is so close.

Here is the Library of Congress, Washington, DC:
my picture
from flickr user rien de nouveau

And here is the Boston Public Library:
by flickr user joseph a
my picture

arkhitektor Jun 27, 2011 11:06 PM

Salt Lake City Library:
Salt Lake City Library by Shaan Hurley, on Flickr
Salt Lake UT (312) by Ken Lund, on Flickr
Salt Lake City Public Library by tmac97slc, on Flickr
Salt Lake City Library by informationgoddess29, on Flickr

photoLith Jun 27, 2011 11:13 PM

Holy crap, that staircase on the outside of the SLC library is kick ass.

CGII Jun 27, 2011 11:22 PM

Exeter Library, Lou Kahn:

hauntedheadnc Jun 28, 2011 2:38 AM

The Biltmore library, with approximately 10,000 volumes.


It's hard to find decent images of the interior of Biltmore House because they don't allow photography inside the structure.

In addition to the books -- which you can still peruse if you are a researcher with permission from the Estate -- perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the library is the ceiling. The painting is called The Chariot of Aurora and was taken from a palace in Venice.

Here's a link to a good shot that someone snuck inside the library, showing the ceiling.

Troubadour Jun 28, 2011 4:53 AM

Canadian Library of Parliament:
(Credit: Ashwin Kumar, at
(Public domain)

Tolbert Jun 28, 2011 6:42 AM

Anna Amalia Library, Weimar, Germany

Grimm Library, Berlin, Germany

Centropolis Jul 9, 2011 3:44 PM

Heres the St. Louis Central Library - it's currently being renovated, so these are out of date. It's a Cass Gilbert product circa 1912.

it used to have this weird glass floor that was pretty beat up. There are also classic old school "library tech" cork floors which are being restored.

Expat Jul 10, 2011 1:17 AM

Great idea for a thread. I grew up in libraries and love them. Centropolis, thanks for posting the STL library pics. I love that place. Looking forward to seeing it post-renovation.

Centropolis Jul 10, 2011 2:02 AM


Originally Posted by Expat (Post 5342727)
Great idea for a thread. I grew up in libraries and love them. Centropolis, thanks for posting the STL library pics. I love that place. Looking forward to seeing it post-renovation.

Yeah, I sort of grew up in libraries too, and then worked in one in college. I wonder if I'm the last generation that did, kinda makes me sad. I was born in 1981 for "reference." :cool:

LMich Jul 10, 2011 2:12 AM

I was thinking the the Detroit Public Library - Main Library looked incredibly familiar to St. Louis's inside and out, and then realized they are by the same archtitect. In fact, the one in St. Louis looks like the Detroit Institute of Art right across the street from the Main Library.

The other notable branch is the Detroit Public Library - Skillman Branch, which is actually in the heart of downtown (the Main Library is actually a few miles north in Midtown):

I love the sayvings around the top of the building, as well as the labeling of the avenues on each end of the building. It's the kind of detail you just don't see, anymore.

I'm not a fan of the architecture, but the sheer size of the Library of Michigan in Lansing is impressive. Supposedly, it's the second largest state library in the country. The building includes the state archives and the state historical museum, as well.
Mr Niceguy

jetsetter Jul 10, 2011 2:46 AM

Unfortunately almost every library built after 1940 or so are godawful modernist architectural abominations. Almost all of the Carnegie libraries were good looking and a list/photos of them can be found here:

Codex Nov 3, 2011 11:40 AM

A few UK Libraries -

Liverpool Picton Reading Room and Hornby Library -

Pics coutesy of Simon Curran - Flickr

Manchester Central Library

Pic - Matthew Black (flickr)

pic - mirki (flickr)

Bristol Central Library

pic - bolou (flickr)

pic- stevecadman (flickr)

Edinburgh Central Reference Library

chris_malcolm (flickr)

Tales of One City (flickr)

Mitchell Library - Glasgow (the largest public reference library in Europe)

Oldsch00l (flickr)

brotherofapesod (flickr)

John Rylands - Manchester

Video Link

Anosmia (flickr)

Paul Williamson-GWC (flickr)

Paul Williamson-GWC (flickr)

Paul Williamson-GWC (flickr)

Paul Williamson-GWC (flickr)

Anosmia (flickr)

Paul Williamson-GWC (flickr)

Chetham's (Medieval Chained) Library - Manchester (oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom)

Video Link's_Library

All pics - The Edditer (flickr)

Bodleian Library - Oxford

List of Oxford University College Libraries -


Duke Humphrey Reading Room

Keli Rylance (picasa)

CaputAethiopum (flickr)

Wren Library - Trbity College - Cambridge

List of Cambridge University College Libraries -

wgsiesser (flickr)

lauralilauralu (flickr)

lauralilauralu (flickr)

British Museum Library - Reading Room

The Reading Room was used by a large number of famous figures, including notably Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mahatma Gandhi, Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Lenin, Norbert Elias, Virginia Woolf, Arthur Rimbaud and H. G. Wells.

Rico Rommheim Nov 3, 2011 2:43 PM

Those english libraries are in-sane.

MolsonExport Nov 3, 2011 4:01 PM

That's it. I'm moving to England.

Codex Nov 3, 2011 10:51 PM


Originally Posted by MolsonExport (Post 5466719)
That's it. I'm moving to England.

Canada and the US have some beautiful and amazing libraries :)

Not sure I would like to be alone in a medieval libraries - lol

amor de cosmos Nov 4, 2011 5:19 AM

building M-55 @ NRC, ottawa

bennett library, sfu

the sugar cube, UWaterloo

korner @ ubc

national library & archives, ottawa

Codex Nov 4, 2011 1:34 PM

The British Library in London was a controversial building. The original library was part of the British Museum with the main reading room being the British Museums reading room which is still in use. The new library was designed to both blend in with the beautiful listed St Pancras station next door, to be very functional and to help regenerate the once seedy St Pancras/Kings Cross Area which was once more famous for prostitution and other such unsavoury activities.

The Library opened in 1998 and since this time has become a much loved institution due to it's functionality and it being a driving force in terms of investment in this area of London, with a £600 million Medical Research Centre, the Francis Crick Institution currently being built next door to the library, massive investment in St Pancras International next door (and train journey times between London and Paris set to be cut to less than 2 hours), whilst the whole Kings Cross Area as well as the station are currently undergoing massive redvelopment.

This contrasts with the fortunes of the French National Library, a building designed to shout it's presence as a moument to the late President Mitterrand, and which has been criticised for being windwept, unwelcoming and not meeting the functions of the public it serves. The Parisan Bibliothèque nationale has been plagued with problems not least the fact that they had to buy blinds after they realised the sun streaming through the windows was ruining the books, whilst the windswept space between the French Libraries four main buildings has also been widely criticised.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris -

Video Link

It should however be noted that despite some criticism of it's new building, France's BnF has an amazing collection and is without doubt one of the greatest libraries in the world :)

Video Link

The British Library -

Video Link

Video Link

Video Link

Historian David Professor Starkey at the British Libraries 500th Anniversary of Henry VIII Exhibition

Video Link

Video Link

Business and IP Centre

Video Link

The real star of this area is St Pancras and not the British Library, and the Library was designed with this in mind does, not wishing to detract from the beautiful gothic station and it's surroundings.

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