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Library Lust

7 Beautiful US Libraries

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Created by Roadtrippers - July 20th 2016

Technology makes life easier than ever. We can find what we are looking for in the speed of wifi and a whole world of information is literally at our fingertips. But what about nostalgia? Remember libraries? Those giant, quiet places people used to go before books were downloadable? So here is a road trip for the nostalgic literary nerd, the seven most amazing libraries in the US. It’s the perfect combination, after all, in the time of air planes and quick travel, aren’t road trips a bit nostalgic as well?

Photo of Boston Public Library

Newbury Street, Boston, MA, US

Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library was the first public library in the US. Built in 1895, this building is exactly what one imagines when the word library is mentioned

Green lamps lighting the way for ambitious students, rows upon rows of books, and hallowed halls bustling with book lovers, this library has all of the staples.Gorgeously masculine with its dark wood, and even housing an interior courtyard, this library is a historic treasure.

Photo of New York Public Library - Main Branch

476 5th Ave, New York, NY, US

New York Public Library - Main Branch

No list of the best libraries would be complete without this NY icon. When this building was established in 1911, it was the largest marble structure in the States.

The whole library is gorgeous of course but the Stephen A. Schwarzman reading room, with its painted ceilings, is definitely not something seen in your average library.

The Art and Architecture room looks like the kind of cozy book laden place a visitor could spend a whole afternoon. Tuesday through Saturday there are guided tours through the library that explain the history of the building.

Photo of Cleveland Public Library

1375 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH, US

Cleveland Public Library

This library is a work of art. Built in 1925, The Old Wing of the Cleveland Public library shows a kind of attention to detail that you don’t often find in libraries anymore.

With high arched and painted ceilings, being in this library seems like a religious experience and amidst the modern age of kindles and computers, time spent at this library could be meant to be just that.

Photo of Harold Washington Library Center

400 South State Street, Chicago, IL, US

Harold Washington Library Center

Built in 1991, this library was designed to fit in with many of Chicago’s older buildings. The outside architecture is meant to reflect a few different kinds of architecture and its classical interior design gives it a regal and timeless feel that seems to fit perfectly with its job of housing timeless classics. Inside, it has eight library floors plus ninth floor “winter garden” for exhibits and events.

While you’re in Chicago, visit what is now the cultural center and you will be standing in what used to be the library circa 1897. It’s worth visiting if only for the Tiffany glass dome.

Photo of Salt Lake City Library

210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT, US

Salt Lake City Library

And now for something completely different. It would seem that the trip through the Midwest has culminated in something of a time warp. In Salt Lake we have a library that is almost entirely made from concrete and glass.

Clean, shining, and beautiful in its modernity, this building has a few features that make it really special. There are spiral fireplaces that appear as columns of fire, a rooftop garden, and a special staircase takes readers straight to the library’s young adult section.

Photo of Seattle Public Library

1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA, US

Seattle Public Library

This modernist Mecca is almost more art project than library. The eleven story glass and steel structure looks like something you could have seen in a geometry class. As foreign as it may look on the outside, inside it was designed to be as user friendly as possible. To break up the monotony of the chrome building, there is vibrant color splashed around the library. The fourth floor is entirely red and is home to classrooms, conference rooms and offices.

An illuminated escalator is used to get patrons where they need to go. This truly is one of the most unique buildings in America.

Photo of Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library

5614 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA, US

Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library

Could anyone expect something short of fantastic from the same library system as the Seattle Central Library? This branch library retains its parent branch’s glass façade and modern architecture but has an eco-friendly edge.

The roof is covered with low-water-useplants and there is a periscope that patrons can use to look at the roof and the surrounding mountains. They use polar power and have a series of complex computer programs that turn weather and climate data into LED light shows.


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