Mankind’s Greatest Libraries

September 14, 2012
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The Bodleian, United Kingdom

If you want access to this seminal European library, you must agree to a formal declaration. While the “Bud’s” roots can be traced further than its oft-cited 1602 founding, Oxford University’s Bodleian Library has a heritage as rich as its book collection.

Library of Celsus, Turkey

The Library of Celsus was once home to approximately 12,000 scrolls and the tomb of the Roman senator for which the building was named. An unfortunate by-product of natural disasters, all but the facade of the library was burned to the ground in the year 262. In its heyday, the library was considered the third richest library of its kind.

Library Of Trinity College, Ireland

Ireland’s Library of Trinity College serves as one of the many beacons of the Emerald Isle. The library is home to over five million books, the most famous of which being the Book of Kells–the Four Gospels of the New Testament acclaimed for their stunning example of what is known as the insular style.

Bibliothèque Nationale, France

Consider France’s Bibliothèque Nationale a central hub for all things literary and French. One of the more pleasant things to come from France’s revolution was their national library, whose inventory increased tenfold as private libraries of the elite were seized and entered into the national system.

The Great Library Of Alexandria, Egypt

From its Ptolemy I or II inception, the Library of Alexandria’s goal was certainly ambitious: collect all the world’s knowledge. Located in Egypt, it was the first known library of its time and was home to some renown international scholars. But as a tragic consequence of conquest, the library was destroyed by Julius Caesar when he claimed to have been trying to set fire to his own ships.

New York Public Library

Second only to the United States Library of Congress in terms of size, the New York Public Library serves as a testament to philanthropy, persistence and the importance of literature. The product of the minds and money of millionaires like John Jacob Astor, Joseph Logswell and Andrew Carnegie, the NYPL has branches throughout the Big Apple, the most famous of which being the one on Fifth Avenue.