Library Blog

Around the World with Famous Libraries by Mary Kelly

There is no better place to celebrate reading and writing than the library! The following list highlights some of the most famous and interesting libraries across the world. Click on the links to explore them further!


The Library of Congress 

Perhaps the most famous library in America, the Library of Congress is one of the largest libraries in the world. Serving as the research library that officially serves the United States Congress, it occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Although it is open to the public, only high-ranking government officials and library employees can check out materials. Use their website to explore their library of free to use images. 

More fascinating facts about the LOC. 

Or, take an online tour from the comfort of home! 

Next, let’s skip across the pond to the Bodelian Library located at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England.  The University of Oxford has a collection of 28 libraries that service the university, with the old Bodelian Library most famously serving as the main research library of the University. Together the libraries hold over 13 million printed items. 

Take a tour of some past exhibitions.  

Let’s stay in Europe and make a quick stop at Library Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, France.  More about the beautiful architecture and history can be found here. 

Fun fact- the library’s interior was used for scenes in Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo, based on the children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. 

In Asia, you can tour the art collections of the Keio University Library in Japan.  There is a fun, exploration of one of the Tokyo Fish Markets.

Back in the United States, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is the rare book library and literary archive of Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut. Open to the public, visitors are encouraged to look at the Gutenberg Bible and John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which are on permanent public display. More about those materials can be found here. 

Here’s more information about accessing their digital collection. 

And finally, let’s conclude this tour with the history of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County! 

If you are interested in learning more about different libraries across the world, here are some additional titles that maybe beneficial: 

Library, the Drama Within 

The Library, an Illustrated History 

The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World 

Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly is an adult services librarian currently based at the Austintown and Michael Kusalaba branch libraries. She’s a big fan of all things mystery and thriller. When she’s not at the library, she enjoys walking her dogs, practicing yoga and true crime podcasts.