The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

I’ve always loved libraries.

Whenever I visit a new city, I make it a point to check out their main library. In the spirit of adventure, here are the most beautiful libraries in the world…

Bapst Library, Boston College, Boston, MA
Speed Reading at the Bapst Library in Boston, MA

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Speed Reading at Yale University in New Haven, CT

Codrington Library, All Soul’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Speed Reading at Oxford University, Oxford, UK

Cornell Law School Library, Ithaca, NY
Speed Reading at the Cornell University Law School Library, Ithaca, NY

Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Speed Reading at the Fisher Library at the University of Pennsylvania

George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Speed Reading at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

La Sorbonne Reading Room, Paris, France
Speed Reading at the La Sorbonne Reading Room in Paris, France

Philological Library of the Free University, Berlin, Germany
Speed Reading in Berlin, Germany at the Philological Library of the Free University

Speed Reading in Berlin, Germany

Pontifical Lateran University library, Rome, Italy
Speed Reading in Rome, Italy at Pontifical Lateran University

Speed Reading at the Lateran University Library in Rome, Italy

Queen’s College Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Speed Reading at Oxford University, Oxford, UK at the Queen's College Library

Suzzallo Library’s Graduate Reading Room at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Speed Reading in Seattle, Washington at the University of Washington

The Harper Library Reading Room, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Speed Reading at the University of Chicago Harper Library Reading Room

The North Reading Room in Doe Library, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Speed Reading at UC Berkeley, California

The Trinity College Library, aka “The Long Room,” Dublin, Ireland
Speed Reading in Dublin, Ireland at the Trinity College Library

The University of Coimbra General Library, Coimbra, Portugal
Speed Reading in Coimbra, Portugal

University of Michigan Law Library, Ann Arbor, MI
Speed Reading in Ann Arbor, MI at the University of Michigan

University of Salamanca Library, Salamanca, Spain
Speed Reading in Salamanca, Spain

Speed Reading at the University of Salamanca Library in Spain

Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Speed Reading in Cambridge, MA at Harvard University

Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
Speed Reading at Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland
Speed Reading in St. Gallen, Switzerland

















Herzog August Library, Wolfenbüttel, Germany
Speed Reading in Wolfenbüttel, Germany












Jay Walker’s Private Library





















Library of Congress, Washington, DC, US
Speed Reading in Washington, DC

Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada
Speed Reading in Ottawa, Canada























Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria
Speed Reading in Austria








Library of the Durch Parliament, The Hague, conserving all ever said and written words in the parliament.

Library Parabola is the reading room of the British Library and is said to be the birthplace of the Communist Manifesto.
Speed Reading at the British Library

Melk Monastery Library, Melk, Austria
Speed Reading in Melk, Austria















Old British Reading Room, British Museum, London, England
Speed Reading in London, England








Sansovino Library, Venice, Italy
Speed Reading in Venice, Italy









State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Speed Reading in Melbourne, Australia

Strahov Monastery Theological Library, Prague, Czech Republic
Speed Reading in Praque, Czech Republic









The Astronomy Library of the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Speed Reading in Utrecht, The Netherlands

The Library of the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Speed Reading in El Escorial, Spain

The Stockholm Public Library, Stockholm, Sweden
Speed Reading in Stockholm, Sweden

Wiblingen Monastary Library, Ulm, Germany
Speed Reading in Ulm, Germany


















Amsterdam Public Library
Speed Reading in Amsterdam

Angelica Library, Rome, Italy
Speed Reading in Rome, Italy

Bristol Central Library, Bristol, UK
Speed Reading in Bristol, UK

Central Library, Seattle, WA
Speed Reading in Seattle, WA at the Central Library

Central Public Library, Vancouver, Canada
Speed Reading in Vancouver, Canada

José Vasconcelos Library in México City, Mexico
Speed Reading in Mexico City, Mexico

Kanazawa Umimirai Library, Kanazawa City, Japan
Speed Reading in Kanazawa City, Japan

Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt
Speed Reading in Alexandria, Egypt

National Library, Belarus
Speed Reading in Belarus

National Library, Site Richelieu, Paris, France
Speed Reading in Paris, France

New York Public Library, New York City
Speed Reading in New York City at the New York Public Library

Old Market Library, Min Buri, Bangkok, Thailand
Speed Reading in Bangkok, Thailand

Rijksmuseum Research Library, Amsterdam
Speed Reading in Amsterdam

Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Speed Reading in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Taipei Public Library, Beitou Branch
Speed Reading in Taipei

The Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California
Speed Reading in LA at the Los Angeles Central Library, Los Angeles, California

The Royal Danish Library (the Black Diamond), Denmark
Speed Reading at the Royal Danish Library

Vennesla Library and Culture House, Vennesla, Norway
Speed Reading in Vennesla, Norway

Villanueva Public Library, Villanueva, Colombia
Speed Reading in Villanueva, Colombia


Paul NowakAbout the Author: Paul Nowak is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading courses in North America. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and business professionals in major cities across the U.S. He has been a guest speaker at numerous institutions, some of which include Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago. He has also trained employees at NASA, Google, Groupon and a number of Fortune 500 companies.

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