Libraries are magical places full of stories and knowledge. Many of us visit our local libraries on a regular basis. However, some libraries stand above the rest whether with content, architecture, or even lack thereof. Here are 7 of the coolest libraries you have probably never heard of!
Started by Luis Soriano, Biblioburro is a mobile library carried on the backs of donkeys. Soriano is a school teacher in Colombia who takes packs loaded with books and uses his donkeys to tote them to rural Colombian villages to children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to books. However, Biblioburro isn’t the only small mobile library around. Libraries across the globe are taken from place to place by mules, camels, motorcycles, horses, and even elephants.
Soneva Kiri Resort Library
On a rocky, seaside slope in Thailand rests the library of the Soneva Kiri six star hotel. Shaped to resemble a manta ray, this structure is made of Thai bamboo and local River Red Gum. The structure is not only a library but also includes a sleeping pod, cooking cave, and vegetable garden. Built in 2007, it was designed to shade and protect from the tropical climate as well as utilizing natural light to illuminate the interior.
Paying tribute to William Gladstone, Gladstone’s Library is Britain’s finest residential library and its only Prime Ministerial Library. Founded in the Victorian Era by Gladstone himself, the library was a crowning achievement of his later life. In addition to the fantastic architecture and the over 150,000 printed items the library possesses, visitors can also pay £66 a night to stay at the library which has bed and breakfast amenities.
Library of Muyinga
In Muyinga, an area in northern Burundi, a library was built for local deaf children. The library was designed by the Belgian practice BC Architects. The structure is made of local materials such as pressed earth bricks that were made on site, and it was specially made to naturally ventilate and guide the hot humid air of the Burundi climate. The space has maneuverable wooden screens, ample exposure to natural light, and a custom-made hammock hanging over reading areas.
Kansas City Central Library
This Missouri library is decorated in a very peculiar way. 22 colossal facades made of mylar and concrete were fashioned in the style of popular books such as Catch-22, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Charlotte’s Web. In addition to the monolithic titles on the outer walls, the library contains several special collections including the local history of Kansas City and an extensive collections on African-American history and culture.
In Dublin, a library that has been open for over 400 years and contains over 6 million printed volumes sits still in use. The library of Trinity College is the largest library in Ireland. In addition to its vast number of volumes, the library contains some incredibly rare books and manuscripts including the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow. The space known as the Long Room is where many of their books are kept. It is a two-story room with an arched ceiling and it is the most recognizable part of the library.
Brooklyn Art Library
Started in 2006, the Brooklyn Art Library is a place that seems unassuming at first glance, but the shelves hold something very different. The library holds the world’s largest collection of sketchbooks, and they also maintain a digital library with images scanned from many of the books. The library holds almost 40,000 sketchbooks on site with around 20,000 of them scanned into the digital library. The library was crowd-sourced from locations all over the world with artists from countries all over submitting their books to the project. Since its opening, there have been over 260,000 sketchbook checkouts.