Czech Republic – Strahov Theological Hall, Prague
Formerly a monastery, the building was initially made of wood before it was later replaced with a stone façade. The Strahov Theological Hall became a fully functioning library in 1979 and boasts an ornately decorated interior featuring around 18,000 religious texts including various editions of the Bible in many different languages.
Brazil – Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio de Janeiro
The spectacular interior of this library is home to over 350,000 books, many of which date back to the 16th and 18thcenturies. In addition, there are a number of paintings and sculptures on display amongst the educational material.
Belarus – National Library of Belarus, Minsk
At 23 storeys high, this library is not small. The architects whose brainchild it was, Victor Kramarenko and Michael Vinogradov, used glass panels on the 24 sides of the diamond-like exterior so that it would look like it was sparkling like the stars at night.
United Kingdom – Bodleian Library, Oxford
Created in 1602, this library is one of the oldest in Europe and houses over 11 million items. Whilst the library consists of a number of buildings, the most prominent and visually appealing is the Radcliffe Camera. It was the first circular library in England and its striking exterior has seen it take pride of place in many films such as The Red Violin and The Golden Compass.
Columbia – Biblioteca España, Medellin
The Biblioteca España was erected back in 2007 out of simple brick and stucco structures. Situated on a hill, the three bulbous shapes containing the community centre, auditorium, and the library itself stand out amongst the surrounding natural landscape. Inside, the library features three stacked, high reading rooms ringed with mezzanine computer levels. Skylights dotted around the roof’s periphery attract the warm glow of daylight.
Denmark – Danish Royal Library, Copenhagen
Founded in 1648 by King Frederik III, the country’s Royal Library is home to all manner of works from the 17th century to the present day. What’s most impressive, however, is that every book printed in Denmark since the 17th century can be found here, as well as the first ever Danish book which dates back to 1482. Despite it housing such an historical breadth of literature, the design is particularly modern with a sleek silhouette and an abundance of glass.
Mexico – José Vasconcelos Library, Mexico City
Vincente Fox, the former Mexican president, dubbed this building one of the most advanced constructions of the 21stcentury. Costing almost $100 million to erect, it was the largest investment for the Fox administration between 2000 and 2006. Inside, the shelves are the main focal point of the design, their modern vibe offering a contrast to the numerous complementary sculptures such as the Ballena, or painted whale skeleton, by artist Gabriel Orozco.