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The Royal Danish Library. Copenhagen, Denmark. via flavorwire.com
Jay Walker is an American inventor and entrepreneur who has used his wealth to develop a notable private library. Walker has dubbed his Library “The Walker Library of the History of Human Imagination.” The Library is located in his Connecticut home and contains more than 50,000 books including many early works and museum worthy items. The architecture is a multi-level design inspired by the surreal works of M.C. Escher. Wired called the library “the most amazing library in the world.”
The Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the largest building in the world that has the express purpose of preserving rare books and manuscripts. The central shelving area of Beinecke is a beautiful structure with glass walls and soft lighting that protect the works from direct light. The library is accessible to the public and it’s exhibition hall displays many of the library’s rare works, including an original Gutenberg Bible, one of only 48 copies.
The University of Coimbra General Library has been in operation since the early 16th century. Inventories for the library exist from the years 1513 and 1532, and show that the library at the time held more than 120 manuscripts. The The Library was definitely established in 1537, and today holds over a million books, with a separate building for pre-19th century books. This is the Biblioteca Joanina, and its architecture is done in majestic Baroque style. The Library is open every day.
The Bodleian Library is the library of the University of Oxford. It was established in 1602, making it one of the oldest libraries in Europe. The Library has over 11 million items, and many, many items of historical import, including four copies of the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, and Shakespeare’s First Folio (from 1623.) The Library consists of multiple buildings, perhaps the most visually interesting of which is Radcliffe Camera, built in 1737-1749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.
Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil