5 of the world’s most Instagrammable libraries

Take a look inside these spectacularly Instagrammable libraries.

1. Abbey of St Gall Library

St Gallen, Switzerland

Abby of St Gall Library

You’ll need to don a pair of soft felt slippers to enter the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Abbey of St Gall Library, one of the oldest and most significant monastic libraries in the world. Although its origins date back to the 8th century, the spectacular library hall was built in the 1760s and is a beautiful example of over-the-top Rococo style, complete with deliciously fat cherubs and a lavish application of gilt.


2. Green Square Library

Sydney, Australia

Colourful Library Community Space, Green Square Library

Thirty-nine skylights and a sunken garden bring light and air to Sydney’s newest library, a funky subterranean space where books, music, gaming, computers and a rehearsal/recording studio reflect its role as a contemporary community hub. The award-winning architecture of Green Square Library includes a six-storey glass tower complete with a baby grand, for music practice with a view.


3. George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, US

George Peabody Library

George Peabody Library (also known as 'The Peabody') regularly makes it on to the list of the world’s most beautiful libraries and it’s not hard to see why. The 1878 building’s elegant interior includes a six-level atrium with a glass roof that’s flooded with light, patterned marble floors and detailed iron lacework that make it a serene and inspiring spot for students of any age.


4. Beitou Library

Taipei, Taiwan

Beitou Public Library, Beitou, Taiwan

Taipei’s ‘treehouse’ library, Beitou is an elegant timber construction with huge windows that actually open and an energy- and water-saving design that helped it become the first green-certified building in Taiwan. Designed to be a library that ‘breathes’, the award-winning building blends in beautifully with its forest surrounds. 


5. Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin, China

Tianjin Binhai Library

A library with the kind of wow factor usually reserved for luxury hotels and theatres, Dutch architecture firm MVRDV’s futuristic Tianjin Binhai Library includes a massive atrium with a central sphere and cascading swirls of bookshelves. Picking a book off the shelf isn’t always an option  – there are also images of books lining the walls, with the real thing housed off the central space – a detail that hasn’t deterred the thousands of visitors.


Words by Justine Costigan; images courtesy of individual libraries.

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