Insane libraries.

It’s been a very, very rainy and thunderstormy week. The kind that makes you want to curl up with a good book and not leave the apartment.

The University of Coimbra General Library, Coimbra, Portugal [via]

Flavorpill just did an awesome series on libraries so I’m including some of my personal favorites here. Check them all out: Public libraries around the world, College libraries around the world, and Public libraries in the US.

George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD [via]I was talking with the Mr.’s friend Steve who is visiting us this week about how one of the bummers about Hong Kong is it really lacks the historic institutions you have in other places, like old art museums and libraries.

Rijksmuseum Research Library, Amsterdam [via]

I think that is in part because 1.Here they love everything NEW and have no qualms whatsoever about tearing down a historic building 2. Philanthropy is not big in Asia. 3. Everyone sends their kids to the US or Europe to be educated.

Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [via and via]

I often wonder about no. 2. I think in part it’s because obviously the communist idea is for everyone to be taken care of and for the government to provide all social services. That’s true here where all the museums and hopsitals are pretty much funded by the government.

Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA [via]

One would think there would be a Stanley Ho auditorium or a Li Ka-Shing Modern art museum. The truth is these tycoons do more giving in the US–to schools their kids attend, like Stanford.

American entrepreneur Jay Walker’s private library. [via]

Although lots of the tycoons do a lot of philanthropy through the Hong Kong Jockey Club… but I think it still pales in comparison to what we expect of billionaires in the States. The other weird thing is that so many of the tycoons are also in government (like many of them are on the electoral committee) so it’s sort of like one in the same. Also, there’s no such thing as a charitable tax deduction here either so that doesn’t help.

George Lucas’s library at Skywalker Ranch, a company retreat in Marin County, California. [via]

And sadly of course it does seem like real books are going the way of the kindle, but I do love this modern library.

Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart, Germany [via]

If you’re here in Hong Kong and you know of a beautiful library here I need to check out pleas do ping me! Otherwise, I wish you all a relaxing and dry weekend!!

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10 responses to “Insane libraries.

  1. These libraries are so beautiful. A library is one of my favorite places to be. Thanks, Natasha, for sharing the pictures.

  2. Dear HKH,

    I couldn’t help but notice an obvious void in your “personal favorites” list of libraries. I’ve included a link below to hopefully refresh your memory as to your absolute favorite and perhaps the world’s best library:

    http://tour.nd.edu/locations/hesburgh-library/

    I hope you found that valuable, though a very wise man once said, “it is easier to exemplify values than teach them.”

    Very truly yours,
    NYW

    • While I have many fond memories of late nights at Hesburgh, I really can’t say it’s a beautiful building. Sorry, but no can do!

  3. I think you’re forgetting one in the lovely American Midwest!

  4. Sometimes I think that one of the benefits of the kindle is that maybe more people will clear out their old book collections, making their used (and sometimes out-of-print) books available to those of us who still value paper binding… so that we can more easily afford to build up our own personal libraries!

  5. That photo of the Widener reading room is very misleading, because the books are all in the stacks- the inner sanctum, which is where everyone sits and works (except those poor non-Harvardians who can’t get a stack pass), filled with the heady smell of millions of musty books. Seriously, the smell is intoxicating
    Hesburgh: Please. What a dreadful building! One of my dreams is that CAL will tear it down and put up something neo-Gothic, a la Firestone at Princeton…
    One you left off: See if you can hold of a photo of the Codrington at All Souls’, Oxford.
    Hope you are feeling well!
    Debbie

  6. How about the beautiful library at Trinity Dublin?http://www.britannica.com/bps/media-view/96031/1/0/0
    With the beautiful Book of Kells collection… just inspiring.

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