These inspiring university libraries are about to blow your mind
From the traditional to the whimsical; from the art deco to the high-tech - these university libraries sure are something to look at! Source: Adli Wahid/Unsplash

The library is a central hub on any university campus. For generations, these iconic buildings have informed the student experience, reliably serving the inquisitive writer, the academic citer and the last-minute all-nighter from one semester to the next.

As the world rides the digital wave the university library remains strong. Shelves from floor to ceiling are still stacked with books, while students plan big projects on fancy Macs and iPads, academics use tablets to browse through endless journals, and slick electronic systems ensure the lending process is seamless and stress-free.

The library is an institution blessed with the gift of adaptability – and that’s how it stays relevant. According to a report by Gensler Research, libraries serve a critical role in the on-campus experience of today’s students. In a survey conducted on more than 1,200 US students, they found that campus learners greatly value the academic library, seeing it as a “bastion of quiet and a prime place to continue individual work, and see this core purpose continuing into the future.”

And what better way to inspire student learning that to provide a study space that’s an architectural, creative or technological masterpiece? Well, these university libraries are about to blow your mind…

Musashino Art University Library

Source: Park/Flickr

Part of Musashino Art University in Kodaira, Japan, this building is stunning from the inside out. The library holds a collection of around 310,000 books and 5,000 titles of academic and other specialized periodicals on art and design. It’s home to one of the largest collecctions among Japanese libraries in the field of art and design.

The library’s vast collection of rare resources include avant-garde art materials, natural history archive materials, Nara “picture books” and “Ukiyozoshi” books – all of which are used by students for a range of courses, seminars and lectures.

It also has an Image Library, which harbours an immense collection of visuals – movies, documentaries, animations and more – from every genre you can imagine.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Part of Yale University Library, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is one of the largest buildings in the world that’s completely dedicated to rare books and manuscripts.

“In the late 1950s, interest in rare books, the extraordinary philanthropy of the Beineckes, the University’s pressing need for a special collections library, and the genius of architect Gordon Bunshaft came together to give us the Beinecke Library,” writes Barbara A. Shailor’s introduction to The Beinecke Library of Yale University (2003).

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The library’s central tower has space to house 180,000, while the underground book stacks have the capacity to house more than a million volumes.

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library


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The Fisher Library’s new exhibition ‘De monstris: An Exhibition of Monsters and the Wonders of Human Imagination’ opens today! . This exhibition explores the textual and visual sources at the centre of the stories of the monsters recounted in popular texts throughout history and persisting in contemporary popular culture. . The exhibition will introduce you to some familiar and unfamiliar creatures using the Fisher Library’s remarkable collections in the areas of history, medicine, science, and literature, and will explore the main themes in the history of monsters in the West, such as the invention of monsters in the Age of Exploration, the nature of monsters in light of Humanism, and the conception of monsters as creative bodies. We hope you’ll drop by the Fisher to see it! This exhibition is curated by Fisher librarian David Fernandez, and runs from Mon, Sep. 17, 2018 to Fri, Dec. 21, 2018. . #monsters #monstersinthelibrary #creatures #history #medieval #science #medicine

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Part of the University of Toronto, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library harbours the Department of Rare Books and Specialist Collections – including books, manuscripts and other wonderful materials.

Since opening in 1973, the library has grown hold approximately 740,000 volumes and 4,000 linear metres of manuscript holdings.

As one of North America’s leading research libraries, the mandate of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is to excel the quest for knowledge by supporting research and learning across all disciplines taught at the University of Toronto.

Tama Art University Library


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Toyo Ito’s Arch-itecture . Library at Tama Art University . #Japan #ToyoIto #TamaArtLibrary #Favorite 🖤

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Located in Japan, the library at Tama Art University was designed by Ito Toyo – one of the nation’s leading architects.

The entire first floor slopes gently from the entrance, while exterior glass walls and large arches bring the contours of the natural environment surrounding campus inside the building to create an incredible open space.

The library contains around 77,000 Japanese books, 47,000 foreign books and 1,500 periodicals covering specialist fields like art, design and architecture, ranging from reference books necessary for university classes to specialised research materials.

General Library of the University of Coimbra

The General Library of the University of Coimbra is the biggest and richest University Library in the Lusophone world. Divided into two buildings – the Baroque Library, built in 1782, and the main building, operating from 1962 – the Library holds a huge estate comprised of manuscripts, maps, periodicals and books – some of priceless value.

In total, the General Library houses close to two million pieces.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mainly addressed to the academic community, library services include several reading areas, some of for researchers use only. It also has an interlibrary loan service that allows readers to access documents that are in other libraries, both national and foreign.

But all that aside – boy, is this just one beautiful space!

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