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What's the nicest public library you've ever seen?

There are some really beautiful public libraries all over the place these days. Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Cardiff, Columbus OH, Rome GA, Bogota, Medellin, Vennesla, Norway and so many other places have built fabulous new libraries which are great "3rd places."

What great public libraries, big & small, have you seen?

by Anonymousreply 3603/02/2013

I've been in this one in Buenos Aires. It's actually very pleasant inside.

by Anonymousreply 103/02/2013

Of course Boston Public set the standard for the USA.

by Anonymousreply 203/02/2013

Harold Washington Library in Chicago has a beautiful "Winter Garden" but much of the library is kind of sad.

by Anonymousreply 303/02/2013

The opulence of the Library of Congress is supposed to astound you, but somehow fails to do so.

by Anonymousreply 403/02/2013

The Troy, N.Y., Public Library. Seriously.

by Anonymousreply 503/02/2013

Being a COMPLETE TOTAL dork, I stopped by the San Antonio library while visiting that city last year; needing to actually kill some time, I shopped at their volunteer store downstairs where for $1 a bought a book (they're all discards, but in good shape) I thought my mom might like, and she ended up raving about it. I've also visited the Salt Like City library which was quite nice.

I was amused to be at the new Seattle public library on the first rainy day it was open, and yes ... the roof leaked!

Oh yeah, besides being a dork, I'm also nerdy as hell.

R1 -- did you tour the Buenos Aires opera house, too?

by Anonymousreply 603/02/2013

The Old Chicago Public Library (now a cultural center)was pretty amazing:

by Anonymousreply 703/02/2013

Surprisingly, the Nashville Public Library has a plethora of great spaces, not least of which is the Grand Reading Room on the 3rd floor, overlooking the capitol.

by Anonymousreply 803/02/2013

As far as contemporary Public Libraries go, I was surprised at how well-done Jacksonville, FL's central library is. Beautifully designed and user-friendly.

Other cities where I lived, Chicago and Miami, have miserable central libraries. Harold Washington is like something Albert Speer would have designed for Disney. Miami is a neglected mess.

by Anonymousreply 903/02/2013

But only Detroit has "D-lectricity"

by Anonymousreply 1003/02/2013

Of course shortly after that, the FBI raided the DPL.

by Anonymousreply 1103/02/2013

But it could have been political, of course.

by Anonymousreply 1203/02/2013

Which ever have the least amount of homeless people.

by Anonymousreply 1303/02/2013

The newly renovated St. Louis Central Library is magnificent.

by Anonymousreply 1403/02/2013

Chetham's Library in Manchester (England, not Alabama). Oldest public library in the UK and where Karl Marx first met Friedrich Engels

by Anonymousreply 1503/02/2013

I've never been there, but I love how the Kansas City library exterior looks like a mountainous bookshelf.

by Anonymousreply 1603/02/2013

The Los Angeles Central Library is a pretty remarkable place, with its gilded central rotunda and its architectural nods to ancient Egypt, Byzantium, and Mediterranean Revival. Its modern extension with soaring glass and steel isn't bad either.

by Anonymousreply 1703/02/2013

The downtown Seattle library is amazing. But there are a lot of Carnegie libraries in neighborhoods throughout the city that were restored.

The Carnegie library in my hometown was knocked down.

by Anonymousreply 1803/02/2013

Vasconcelos library in Mexico City

by Anonymousreply 1903/02/2013

The Seattle Library owns this thread. THE END.

by Anonymousreply 2003/02/2013

Seattle, Los Angeles and Vancouver are all tie for first place in my book; Denver is nice too.

by Anonymousreply 2103/02/2013

State Library of Victoria, Australia. It has this fabulous sculpture 'The Sinking Library' outside.

by Anonymousreply 2203/02/2013

State Library Victoria, Queens Hall

Has this ravishing and rarely seen now Victorian-era colour combination of arsenic green and gold, lit by magnificent gilt electroliers.

by Anonymousreply 2303/02/2013

The interior of the Stuttgart Library looks like something Bettina and Max would've appreciated back in the day. It's so stereotypically German, it's actually funny.

by Anonymousreply 2403/02/2013

This thread is making me HORNY AS HELL!

by Anonymousreply 2503/02/2013

I realize the subject is the "nicest", but I simply have to note that, having spent most of my life in the midwest, there are literally hundreds of beautiful Carnegie libraries in small towns throughout the region - I have to tip my hat to Andrew C - who in trying to make amends for his business/societal sins, at least did something worthwhile and postive with his great wealth.

by Anonymousreply 2603/02/2013

Did alot with installing pipe organs in churches too r26 (including one in Carnegie Hall??). I think over 1700 public libraries were built by Carnegie and about half are used today as libraries if I recall reading it somewhere correctly. Remarkably few have been torn down; often they were converted to other uses if the libraries outgrew their Carnegie buildings. I believe Wikipedia may have the statistics on just what is left and how they are used.

Anyway, my vote is for Stamford, Connecticut--nice New England library with fireplaces that work and rocking chairs. The Cleveland, Ohio public library is also a beautiful, well maintained library as well.

by Anonymousreply 2703/02/2013

My stay in the Bay Area was miserable and one reason was that, for the first time in my life, I had no Carnegie Library near by.

Now I am back in LA and am back to being happy and surrounded by them.

by Anonymousreply 2803/02/2013

the Free Library, despite being dangerous, is quite nice

by Anonymousreply 2903/02/2013

Lots of great choices, but to focus on the second half of "big & small", this is the Beaux Arts public library in my town of just 5800 people (at the time of its construction, 1906-1913.) It was an act of philanthropy not from Carnegie but from a judge from another state who never lived here.

by Anonymousreply 3003/02/2013

The West Hollywood Library

by Anonymousreply 3103/02/2013

I got that one r31! And do you do much reading there as well?

by Anonymousreply 3203/02/2013

r32 is grandpa in his Depends.

by Anonymousreply 3303/02/2013

All the big city libraries are easy to name in this category. However, I've traveled by car a lot throughout New England, I like to stay off the highway. I love running across small town libraries. Of course the libraries are smaller but they were built with pride in a time when a library meant your small town had arrived. There are lots of beautiful ones. Especially in Connecticut. Ones like this.

There relative grandeur in the middle of a small town is a nice sight.

by Anonymousreply 3403/02/2013

And this one built in one of the smallest towns I've ever driven through.

by Anonymousreply 3503/02/2013

Copenhagen's Black Diamond building which houses the Royal Library. A truly stunning piece of architecture.

by Anonymousreply 3603/02/2013
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