Libraries are one of the most knowledgeable parts of our cities. They’re home to millions of books, a place for people to gather together, and more than anything else, they’re a place that consistently inspires awe. We’ve rounded up the most beautiful libraries in the U.S., from small-town libraries built by an architect with a passion for literature to grandiose temples devoted to knowledge on a whole other level.
These are places where you can borrow books, magazines, newspapers, and other materials. They’re also places where you can read those materials in a comfortable environment.
Libraries are great for learning, finding information about your favorite subject or topic of interest, relaxing with a book, and meeting up with friends.
Most Beautiful Libraries in the U.S
Wilmington Public Library
The Wilmington Public Library is located in Wilmington, Delaware. Designed by the architect James H. Windrim and completed in 1892, the building features a clock tower topped with a copper dome and an iron lantern that houses an additional clock face. The roof of the library is made from terra cotta shingles, and terracotta was also used to create ornamental details throughout the building.
The library features three floors of reading rooms and more than 200 study carrels where patrons can work privately on their laptops or other devices. There are also public computers available for use by visitors interested in accessing the internet or searching for information about local programs offered by city government agencies such as police departments or fire companies.
St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library
If you’re looking to get lost in a book, this is the place. St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library is a Beaux-Arts-style building that houses more than 1 million books and other materials, including CDs and DVDs. It also has many computers and internet access, which makes it a perfect spot for scholars who want to research their next big paper or people looking for job training resources. The library has several meeting rooms available for groups of any size, so if you have an idea worth sharing with others, this might be your best bet.
Seattle Central Public Library
Located at 1000 Fourth Avenue, the Seattle Central Public Library is a public library in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest library in the Seattle Public Library system and the 11th largest library in the United States.
The library has a collection of nearly 2 million books and media items, including materials in more than 50 languages. With its large meeting rooms and open-access Internet terminals, it provides resources for a variety of cultural activities as well as being an important educational center for Seattle’s diverse communities.
Louisville Free Public Library Main Branch
Louisville Free Public Library Main Branch is the largest library in Kentucky, with a collection of more than 3 million items. It has a children’s library, an art gallery, and a community room. This library was built in 1996 and designed by Michael Graves.
The building’s design is meant to evoke images of bookshelves filled with books and large windows that let light into the reading rooms.
Los Angeles Central Library
The Main Library is the flagship library of the Los Angeles Public Library system. It was designed by Bertram Goodhue in 1928 and opened its doors in May 1926. The library was called “the Carnegie Hall of Libraries,” and it houses thousands of books, CDs, DVDs and other media resources.
The building has undergone several renovations over the years: most recently in 2006 when an underground parking structure was added to accommodate growing demand for space at this popular destination spot.
Nashville Public Library
The Nashville Public Library, located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, is a Carnegie library built in 1912. It was designed by architect Bruce Price and featured in the 1994 film Forrest Gump.
The original design for the building was based on the type of Greek temple that was popular at that time—the idea being that this would be an elegant and dignified space for public use. The building features a classical facade with Corinthian columns supporting a pediment above large windows; its interior includes an octagonal reading room (which you can see in Forest Gump).
Burton Barr Central Library
The Burton Barr Central Library is the main public library of the City of Phoenix, Arizona, United States. It is located in Downtown Phoenix at 1221 North Central Avenue. The library serves as the central branch of the Phoenix Public Library system, which includes 23 branches throughout the city.
The original Carnegie library opened its doors on February 1, 1912, to an eager audience of nearly 7,000 people. In its first month alone it received over 4,000 volumes from nearby cities and towns under its interlibrary loan program. In 1917 another addition was built onto this building that was able to hold some 50 miles worth of bookshelves (at 250 feet long).
Mandel Public Library
The Mandel Public Library is a public library in Columbus, Ohio. Designed by the architecture firm of Alden & Harlow, it was named after George and Ethel Mandel. It opened on September 24, 2008, and has been described as “an architectural marvel that will be an important part of the city for years to come”.
The library’s design consists of several elements: asymmetrical shapes made from glass and steel; a large skylight to let natural light into the building; an “outdoor” patio with trees growing through it; an open floor plan with transparent walls that allow for flexibility in use; bookshelves built into staircases so patrons may easily reach items without having to go back upstairs; and comfortable seating throughout the building including at mezzanine level where you can sit down with your computer or book while looking over at all that’s happening around you.
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Indianapolis Central Library
The Indianapolis Central Library is a public library located in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is the largest branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, whose mission is to be the “library for all.”
The building was designed by architect Paul Philippe Cret, who also designed many buildings for universities and colleges in the United States. The library was built in 1927, replacing an older building on Monument Circle (now called Old City Hall) that had served as a public library since 1889. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006 due to its significance as one of Cret’s most important works and an outstanding example of Beaux-Arts architecture.
A historic building in Charlottesville, VA, the Slover Library was built in 1923 and is one of the most beautiful libraries in the U.S. It was designed by William A. Freret and it was a gift from the Slover family. The library is located on a hill near the top of Rugby Road and includes Italianate features such as arches, columns, and cornices that are all decorated with intricate carvings of fruits, flowers, and birds.
The exterior of this beautiful building is also decorated with white columns that match its stone façade; along with its elaborate roofline, which makes it stand out from other buildings nearby (including Jefferson’s Monticello).
Columbus Metropolitan Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library is located in Columbus, Ohio. With over 1 million books, magazines, and other materials; 6 million visits per year, it’s the most-visited library in the country. Its collection includes more than 300 languages with access to an additional 2 million titles through its national lending partners.
The library offers a variety of resources including access to computers and printers for patrons who wish to use them for job applications or resumes. There are also small business centers where you can find out how to start a business or rent office space if you need help starting up your own company.
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Geisel Library is the main library of the University of California, San Diego. It was designed by architect Rob Quigley, who also designed several other buildings on campus. The building has a collection of over 2 million items, including books and journals; maps; photographs; visual arts materials; recordings and videos; and rare books such as an original copy of Handel’s Messiah. The library has a cafe and children’s library branch within it as well as a roof-top garden made up of 1700 different types of plants from around the world.
While the library may not be a typical destination for tourists, it is a great place to visit if you want to explore American history and culture. The libraries listed above represent just a few of the many beautiful buildings that can be found across America’s cities, towns, and rural areas; they are all unique in their own way and feature unique architectural designs that reflect their surroundings as well.