Spectacular Sanctuaries of Knowledge: The World’s Most Stunning Libraries

The architecture, art collections, and lush gardens of these libraries go beyond books.

In spite of the fact that bookworms and masters of the Dewey decimal system know not to judge things by their covers, we appreciate the best libraries based on their appearances alone when it comes to the most beautiful libraries around the world. Despite the soaring shelves, vaulted ceilings, and ingenious designs, these erudite institutions still boast extensive collections worth viewing.

You can visit these 26 libraries in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and beyond if you appreciate scholarly style and exquisite craftsmanship. You’ll want to visit at least one of these world’s most beautiful libraries whether you’re a literature lover or an architecture enthusiast. (And if you’re a beauty and knowledge nerd, don’t forget to add a museum or two to your itinerary.)

The Admont Monastery Library, Austria

Our readers won’t be the first to say this late Baroque masterpiece — completed around 1776 — looks like something out of a fairytale.. This beautiful hall is awash in natural light, with elaborate ornamentation, and ceiling frescoes painted in whimsical pinks, blues, and golds.. You’ll also find “secret doors” tucked away in the hall’s famous white and gold bookcases, covered with faux books to hide unsightly interruptions

Tama Art University Library, Tokyo

The Tama Art University Library was completed in 2007 and features concrete arches, glass walls, minimalist furniture, and tidy rows of computers, but its design still evokes a classic, almost ancient feeling despite its modern design. It’s possible that the 100,000 books lend it a touch of archaism, or perhaps it’s because the sleek structure reminds me of a vaulted wine cellar. Either way, this complex structure is something every architecture lover should see.