Posted by: bluesyemre | May 13, 2019

The 50 Best #Libraries in The United States

Ben May Main Library: Mobile, Alabama


Nothing says “library” more than ancient Greek design elements, of which the sprawling white Ben May Main Library has plenty. The building, which opened in 1928, is also on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can browse its original wood bookshelves while experiencing a slice of Alabama history.

Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives And Museum Juneau, Alaska


The best thing about Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives and Museum (SLAM) is that its design is inspired by the culture and landscape of Alaska. Its curved roof references a bird’s protective wing, and its high windows keep visitors connected to the surrounding mountainous landscape as they’re reading inside.

Arabian Library: Scottsdale, Arizona


Arabian Library is a modern library that takes inspiration from its landscape — the sprawling desert canyons of northern Arizona. It’s not hard to get the reference with its weathered walls and narrow “canyon courts,” which open up to the sky.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library And Learning Center: Little Rock, Arkansas


The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center was built in 2013 as a place to foster imagination and appreciate nature. But this library’s not just about the books — it also has a performance space, a teaching kitchen, a greenhouse and vegetable garden, and an arboretum.

Geisel Library At UC San Diego: La Jolla, California


How can a trip to the library feel dull when the books are being held in a futuristic structure that almost appears to be floating? This building, named for Audrey Geisel and Theodor Seuss Geisel, or “Dr. Seuss,” is just as imaginative as its namesake.

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library: Denver, Colorado


Denver’s Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library is an inviting space that’s full of light and color, and it’s no accident. The variety of bright colors within and, most notably, on the building’s exterior are meant to symbolize the diversity of West Denver.

Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book And Manuscript Library: New Haven, Connecticut


What’s as awe-inducing as the number of rare books Yale University’s Beinecke Library holds (about 1 million, for the record)? To be frank, what holds them: A large glass tower that stands tall at the center of this marble, granite and bronze structure.

Hockessin Public Library: Hockessin, Delaware


Browsing the bookshelves in a suspended glass structure, surrounded by a beautiful green park? Count us in. The Hockessin Public Library is beautifully simple and easy to navigate.

Gulf Gate Library: Sarasota, Florida


Built in 2015, this ultra-modern library exudes warmth and comfort through a scattering of color and a wood and brick design. On the outside, the building is meant look like the craftsman style homes that are popular in the area, so visitors feel at ease from the moment they arrive.

Georgia State University Library: Atlanta, Georgia


Sometimes fundamental design can be incredibly inviting in a library. Georgia State University’s 300,000-square-foot library is all about clarity with abundant natural light, glass-rimmed staircases and glass-enclosed bridges that hold study spaces.

Hawaii State Library: Honolulu, Hawaii


This library’s exterior is pure Roman elegance with 20-foot high Tuscan Columns and 18-foot arches. Inside though, the design is all Hawaiian: You’ll find murals of famous Hawaiian legends and a garden courtyard with a mosaic depicting ocean currents.

Coeur D’alene Public Library: Coeur D’alene, Idaho


The town of Coeur D’alene is named after a neighboring lake, so it’s fitting that its public libraryhas views straight to the water. The neutral-hued library, which opens up onto a neighboring park, also won an Idaho Library of the Year Award in 2012.

Chicago Public Library Chinatown Branch: Chicago, Illinois


Chicago Public Library’s Chinatown branch is an otherworldly structureinspired by its neighborhood. Its design is based on Feng Shui principles, and its glass exterior is meant to evoke a glowing lantern at night. The building also won a AIA/ALA Library Building Award earlier this year.

Indianapolis Central Library: Indianapolis, Indiana


Indianapolis’s Central Library is a seamless blend of new and old. The sprawling green mall leads to a library that’s both an early 20th century Greek-style building adorned in limestone and marble and a wide-open modern structure built in 2007 with a 10,000-square-foot glass atrium.

Iowa State Law Library: Des Moines, Iowa


The 19th-century Iowa State Law Library is the stuff of fairytales with its twisting staircases that look like delicate lacework and seemingly endless rows of bookshelves that hold more than 100,000 volumes.

Lawrence Public Library: Lawrence, Kansas


Lawrence Public Library blurs the lines between library and giant piece of modern art, so it’s no surprise that it won a AIA/ALA Library Building Award and a Landmark Libraries Award from Library Journal. Thanks to an $18 million renovation completed in 2014, it features a sleek glass and terracotta exterior and a community reading room that wraps around the entire library.

Wiliam T. Young Library at The University Of Kentucky: Lexington, Kentucky


This impressive 455-thousand-square-foot, six-story building holds 1.2 million volumes. As if the building itself wasn’t enough, it also previously featured a 3,700-pound chandelier in its central atrium, but it fell in 2014 and hasn’t been replaced since.

East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library at Goodwood: Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Old-fashioned libraries are a thing of the past, and hi-tech, green ones are in, as East Baton Rouge Parish Library proves. The award-winning library opened in 2014 with large stained glass windows, a rooftop terrace and garden, a plaza with water features, a recycled paper waterfall spanning three floors and a sloped roof that catches and feeds rainwater to surrounding plants.

Portland Public Library: Portland, Maine


Maine’s largest city is full of Victorian architecture, so this bright, modern building with a glass façade truly stands out from the crowd.

George Peabody Library At Johns Hopkins University: Baltimore, Maryland


When it was completed 1878, the George Peabody Library was described as a “cathedral of books,” and it’s easy to see why with its 61-foot high ceiling and an enormous skylight. Cast-iron balconies with columns with gold-leaf detailing hold five floors of books — aka 300,000 volumes.

Boston Public Library: Boston, Massachusetts


The Boston Public Library is the second largest in the country, at 930,000-square-feet and holding 21 million items — but that’s only part of why it’s so spectacular. The older side of the building, which opened in 1895, features murals by John Singer Sargent, and a courtyard based on the 16th-century Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome.

University Of Michigan Law Library: Ann Arbor, Michigan


Hogwarts, is that you? The University of Michigan Law Library looks remarkably like the school of magic’s great hall with its 50-foot vaulted cathedral ceiling and chandeliers.

Minneapolis Central Library: Minneapolis, Minnesota


Open air is the theme at Minneapolis Central Library. The 90-foot-high atrium features wide, clear walkways and glass elevators and towering windows. Outside, a 90-ton, 58-foot long overhanging “wing” feature on the roof grabs attention from the street below.

Mississippi Library Commission Headquarters: Jackson, Mississippi


Nature is never far from reach at the Mississippi Library Commission Headquarters. Not only is the building built of natural materials like wood, aluminum, glass and stone, but the woods are right outside the library doors.

Kansas City Public Library: Kansas City, Missouri


Now here’s a building that makes no question of what it is. The library building, which previously held a bank, is most well known for its “community bookshelf” parking garage that features 25-foot tall book spines along the sidewalk — including titles from “Charlotte’s Web” to “Silent Spring.”

Billings Public Library: Billings, Montana


This library is all about light, color and dynamic shapes. The children’s area features an extraordinary tower that juts through the second floor and out to the sky.

Nebraska State Library: Lincoln, Nebraska

Nebraska State Library

The standout feature within Nebraska’s oldest library is a painted mural from 1930 called “Spirit of the Prairie.” It features a woman and children looking East toward the home they left behind to move westward.

Prim Library At Sierra Nevada College: Incline Village, Nevada

Prim Library

Prim Library at Sierra Nevada College is located on the shores of Lake Tahoe among pine trees and evergreens — and exudes major cozy cabin vibes.

The Phillips Exeter Academy Library: Exeter, New Hampshire

Exeter Library

Exeter Library might be dedicated to literature, but the building itself is all about geometry with a cube-shaped layout, circular staircases and huge round openings that span three floors high.

Julian Street Library At Princeton University: Princeton, New Jersey


This recently renovated 1960s-era library makes a major statement with bold blue that saturates parts of the space from floor to ceiling.

Farmington Public Library: Farmington, New Mexico

Farmington Public Library

Farmington Public Library’s beauty is borrowed from its surroundings, and that’s what makes it so magical. Its warm colors reference the New Mexico landscape, and its layout is inspired by elements in Navaho Nation architecture.

Teen Center At The New York Public Library’s Hamilton Grange Branch: Harlem, New York


It’s hard to believe this open, energetic space within Hamilton Grange Library in Harlem is even a library. With a bright, sprawling layout and colorful poofs, the youthful library is a perfect spot not just for reading, but for hanging out too.

James B. Hunt Jr. Library At North Carolina State University: Raleigh, North Carolina


This 220,000-square-foot angled glass and aluminum library is the definition of streamlined design. Plus it has vibrant ultra-modern furniture, illuminated by all the natural light that pours into the space.

North Dakota State Library: Bismarck, North Dakota


The North Dakota State Library is quite stately with its classical stone architecture and ornamental bronze doors. Built in 1924 on Bismark’s Captiol Mall, it’s also surrounded by an open field lined by gorgeous elm trees.

William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library At Ohio State University: Columbus, Ohio


A three-year, $108.7 million renovation completed in 2009 brought William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library into the modern era. Transparency is key in its new look, complete with glass walls and a staircase that almost appears to be floating in the center of the building.

Patience S. Latting Northwest Library: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Oklahoma is known for its praire lands, and Northwest Library is reminiscent of just that. The wood, glass and steel building is sunk into small mounds of grass, and features crisscrossing steel beams that echo windmill towers.

Ashland Public Library: Ashland, Oregon


Originally built as a Carnegie Library in 1912, the Ashland Public Library is both a relic of the past and a hint of the future, with a 14,000-square-foot expansion with large windows looking out into the surrounding mountains, and sustainable materials.

Fisher Fine Arts Library At The University Of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The Fisher Fine Arts Library is hard to miss with its bright red brick exterior, but it’s what’s on the inside that makes this library so magnificent. Its main reading room, which was featured in the 1993 Oscar-winning film “Philadelphia,” is a stunning meld of brick red and yellow terra cotta with Roman arches and a giant roof skylight.

Fleet Library At Rhode Island School Of Design: Providence, Rhode Island


In 1917, Fleet Library was a banking hall, but now it’s a perfect example of how to pull off a blend of old and new design elements. The building has been transformed into a creative, open space that seamlessly melds modern furnishings with original design elements like towering columns and a massive clock.

Doctors Bruce And Lee Foundation Library: Florence, South Carolina


An immense bright white limestone building with classical columns, set on a pristinely manicured lawn? This is one incredibly eye-catching library.

Hot Springs Public Library: Hot Springs, South Dakota


Hot Springs is a small city known for its beautiful natural surroundings, and its log cabin library fits right in. The cozy building’s stone fireplaces and large windows look out onto the surrounding hills — the perfect reading environment.

Nashville Public Library Bellevue Branch: Nashville, Tennessee


By now you’re probably convinced to get a library card pronto, but even if books don’t fascinate you, there’s much more to do at Nashville Public Library’s Bellevue branch than read. The space also includes serene walking paths and public art.

Oak Forest Neighborhood Library: Houston, Texas


Everything about Oak Forest Neighborhood Library is crisp, clean and modern — but also invigorating. The space features stunning green tile mosaics and an outdoor reading room.

Salt Lake City Main Library: Salt Lake City, Utah


No need to turn the lights on when you have a five-story glass atrium for a library (with 360 degree views of the city). You can also get a dose of fresh air in the library’s rooftop garden full of trees, flowering bulbs and perennial plants.

Manchester Community Library: Manchester, Vermont


With a roaring fireplace and a calming color palate, the Manchester Community Library exudes coziness and serenity in Vermont’s Green Mountain region.

Tidewater Community College And City Of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library: Virginia Beach, Virginia


Don’t be surprised if you run across a flock of geese outside the library, because the building design and its surrounding marsh ponds were intended to keep wildlife active in the area. If you think the building’s shape is funky, there’s a reason: Architects used the preexisting shrubbery to dictate its size and shape.

Seattle Central Library: Seattle, Washington


There aren’t many libraries that will stop you in your tracks — but Seattle’s unusual 11-story glass and steel structure is one of them. There’s a lot that makes this building unique, including its “book spiral,” a winding array of shelves connected by ramps that allow visitors to browse the bookshelves without ever heading to another floor.

J Frank Marsh Library At Concord University: Athens, West Virginia


A simple brick library is always a classic to visit. Plus, this library has not only over 150,000 books, but also an arsenal of historical federal documents safely stored away — making it even more fascinating on the historic scale.

University Of Wisconsin’s Law School Library: Madison, Wisconsin


At University of Wisconsin’s Law School Library, walls are a thing of the past. Instead, floor to ceiling windows will have you feeling like you’re reading in the trees.

Teton County Library: Jackson, Wyoming


Nestled among the mountains in Jackson Hole is a library that’s the opposite of stuffy. The building blends in seamlessly with its natural surroundings thanks to its brown log walls.


  1. Wonderful. I shared on my blog.


    • Thank you very much


      • You are very welcome! Lots of interest in this one.


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