A visit to your local library is the best way to celebrate the national reading month of March or to celebrate the birthday of the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss on March 2. For the rest of the year, some libraries use unique architecture to encourage visitors to explore the shelves and settle down with a new book, or they use traveling libraries to bring books to hard-to-reach populations. Either way, these novel libraries keep the magic of reading alive.
1st Kansas City Library
Kansas City, Missouri
Along the south wall of the exterior of this parking garage, visitors are treated to something that looks like a giant bookshelf. The building was originally used as a bank, which is easy to recognize when the library in its vault theater performs performances in a real bank vault from 1925.
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2nd Biblioteca Vasconcelos
Mexico City, Mexico
The interior of this library, known as a mega library, is more like a huge storage room than a library. The open interior has a towering floor of open grids that create a labyrinth effect and surrounds Gabriel Orozco’s “Matrix Mobile” – a sculpture transformed from the skeleton of a gray whale. The exterior is surrounded by almost 6 ½ hectares of lush gardens dedicated to plants endemic to Mexico.
3. public library Stuttgart
Designed by Yi Architects, this nine-story public library, which will open in 2011, is characterized by its impressive white-on-white color scheme (illuminated at night with blue light), its bold cubic shape and its cave-like interior. This cultural center of the city, which is designed to feel open and flooded with light, can be entered from each of its four sides, and visitors can borrow both artwork and books.
4. biblioteca Sandro Penna
In a country known for its classical architecture and historical buildings, the Biblioteca Sandro Penna stands out for its modern aesthetics. Built in 2004, this library, which houses books and multimedia, was named after a local poet and is easily recognizable by its round pink glass plate, reminiscent of a flying saucer.
5th beach library
Reading a book on the beach is a classic, and in Bulgaria a library encourages tourists to do just that. The white, weatherproof shelves not far from the surf contain 6,000 books in 15 languages, so that every visitor can find the perfect beach reading to enjoy while soaking up the sun’s rays.
6. the camel library service
North East Province, Kenya
To combat the low literacy rates in the desert of Kenya, the government created a travelling library consisting of nine camels that bring books to the villages. The library
travels four days a week in the service of the nomadic peoples of the region. Currently, the service focuses on children, but with more resources they want to increase their reach both in distance and in the titles they carry.
7th Library of Bishan
Built in 2006, this library with skylights and trellises is intended to remind us of a modern glass tree house. Different colored glass capsules protrude randomly from the building to create comfortable yet airy reading angles throughout the building. At the same time, a more open children’s room in the basement invites interaction and at the same time prevents noise from penetrating upwards and disturbing those who are concentrating in the high rows of seats above.
8th Seikei University Library
Libraries are usually known for their quiet atmosphere, but this encourages conversation. Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban designed the library with free-standing, soundproofed pods from the space age to respect those who need to study non-stop and at the same time encourage other learning methods; they serve as perfect places for study groups and lively discussions.
9 Macquarie University Library
This building is an impressive combination of modern