Libraries of Wonder & Delight

One of the greatest gifts my parents passed on to me is the love of books.

Immerse yourself in a book and the world around you disappears. Choose the right book and you can enter a world full of wonder and enchantment. You can travel the world and see marvelous sights without ever leaving your comfy chair. You are curled up in a large comfy chair aren’t you?

Along with the love of books came a love of browsing book stores and libraries. I can be content for hours in one of those places.

Imagine then, how it would be, to lose yourself in a library like one of these:


Stiftsbibliothek Klosterneuburg, Klosterneuburg, Austria










Trinity College Library, AKA, The Long Room, Dublin, Ireland


strahov theological hall

Strahov Theological Hall – Original Baroque Cabinet


strahol philosophical hall

Strahov Philosophical Hall


abbey library St Gallen

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland



angelica library rome

Angelica Library, Rome, Italy



Herzog August Library, Wolfenbüttel, Germany


I luoghi della memoria scritta. Le Biblioteche italiane tra tute

Biblioteca Angelica, Rome, Italy


biblioteca di belle arti milano

Biblioteca Di Bella Arti, Milan, Italy


biblioteca do palacio e convento de mafra

Biblioteca do Palacio e Convento de Mafra I, Lisbon Coast, Portugal



Biblioteca do Pala`cio Nacional da Ajuda Lisboa III, Lisbon, Portugal


biblioteca geral da universidade de coimbra

Biblioteca Geral University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal


biblioteca palafoxiana

Biblioteca Palafoxiana, Puebla, Mexico


biblioteca de la real academia de la lengua madrid spain

Bibliotecha de la Real Academia De La Lengua, Madrid, Spain



Bibliotheque Alencon, Normandy, France


bibliotheque nationale de france

Bibliothe´que Nationale de France, Paris, France


duke of humphreys

Duke of Humphrey’s Library, Bodleian, Oxford University, England


boston copley

Boston Copley Public Library, Boston, USA


british-library-london reading room

Old British Reading Room, British Museum, London, England


casanatense library

Casanatense Library, Rome, Italy


el escorial library san lorenzo de el escorial spain

El Escorial Library, San Lorenzo, Spain


frederick ferris thompson memorial library

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA


peabody library

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland, USA



Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag, the Hague, Netherlands


herzogin anna amalia bibliothek weimar ii germany

Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar II, Germany


joanina library university of coimbra portugal

Joanina LIbrary University of Coimbra, Portugal



Kremsmuenster Abbey Library, Kremsmu¨nster, Upper Austria.



Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA



Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada


library of st walburga zutphen netherlands

Library of St. Walburga, Zutphen, Netherland (Preserved from the 16th century)



Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria


library of the national palace of mafra

Library of the National Palace of Mafra, Portugal


library of the prussian king frederic the second in potsdam germany

Library of the Prussian King Frederic the Second in Potsdam, Germany


melk-library small--austria

Melk Monastery Library, Melk, Austria



New York Public Library, New York, USA


queens college library oxford

Queen’s College Library Oxford


real gabinete portugues de leitura rio de janeiro

Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil



Riggs Library, Georgetown University, USA



Rijkmuseum Library, Amsterdam


nationalrussia manuscriptdept

Russian National Library, St. Petersburg


st florian monastery library

St. Florian Monastery-Library, Austria


salamanca small

Salamanca Library, Salamanca, Spain


sansovinos library

Sansovino Library, Rome, Italy


library of the sorbonne

Sorbonne Library, Paris, France


suzzallo library

Suzzallo Library, Seattle, Washington, USA


the new library of the royal college of physicians of edinburgh

The New Library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh


theology room at st deiniols library north wales

Theology Room at St. Deiniol’s library, North Wales


vatican Library

Vatican Library, Vatican City, Rome


vienna austrian national library

Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria



Waldsassen Abbey Library, Bavaria, Germany


wren library trinity

Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, England


Bad Schussenried bibliothekssaal

Bad Schussenried Bibliothekssaal, Baden-Württemberg, Germany


medicea Laurenziana italy

Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence, Italy


bibliotheque solvay wall

Bibliothe`que Solvay, Brussels, Belgium


athenaeum 2nd floor reading room

Boston Athenæum, Boston, MA, USA



Codrington Library, All Souls College, Oxford, England



Cornell Law School Library, Ithaca, NY, USA


Folger Shakespeare Library

Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., USA



George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House Library, Asheville, N.C., USA



Harper Library, The University of Chicago, IL, USA



John Rylands Library, Manchester, England



Klementium library in Prague

Klementium Library, Prague, Czech Republic



Pierpont Morgan Library, NY, NY, USA


the grolier club nyc

The Grolier Club Library, NY, NY, USA



Law Library, Iowa State Legislature, IA, USA


St Johnsbury Athenaeum vermont

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, Northeast Vermont, USA



Thomas Crane Library, Quincy MA, USA



University of Michigan (Old) Law Library, MI, USA



Widener Library, Harvard. Cambridge, MA, USA



Wiblingen Monestary Library, Ulm, Germany


Mitchell Library sydney

Mitchell Library, Sydney



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9 comments on “Libraries of Wonder & Delight

  1. Willis on said:

    Libraries are like Cathedrals. . In one you worship the written word. In the other you worship God.

  2. Susan Sontag on said:

    Thank you so much for this stunning website!
    The most breathtaking images of our local, magnificent restoration project (the ones that would be appropriate for your website) are acquired by googling St Louis Central Library and clicking images. Here is the address of their humble webpage:

    • Susan thank you so much for the link to the library restoration. What an enormous task! But isn’t it wonderful that the right people saw the benefit of restoring the original and not ripping it down to make way for some bland steel and glass structure! Absolutely wonderful!

  3. This was a beautiful, amazing, and talented display of photography. Thanks!

  4. S VanNoy on said:

    Absolutely breathtaking!! Magnificent and hope-inspiring- We can’t be all bad as a human race, to have created these beautiful edifices… Thanks for sharing these pictures! 🙂

    • you are right, their beauty is hope inspiring. I have to believe that in order to create such beauty, the creators must have had beautiful souls.

  5. Thank you, such a surprising tour of places I have been and libraries I have missed.

    • I know right? who puts libraries on their list of things to do as a tourist? Yet look how utterly amazing and beautiful they are. I would feel the same kind of reverence in those places as I would in a cathedral!

  6. sandeep jaryal on said:

    i wish we have a big library as like this in my home town

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