Ever since I can remember, the library has been somewhere I could seek solace; a place where my soul feels most at peace among the millions of pages waiting to be flipped and discovered. That’s why today I wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the beautiful libraries around the world— specifically libraries in places I’ve been— in both an effort to showcase their beauty and for you to get to get the chance to know me on somewhat of a more personal level.
Library of Parliament, Ottawa:
This grand tour of libraries starts at home. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and as such, the federal legislature resides there. There too resides one of Canada’s most important libraries—the Library of Parliament. This library is at the core of parliamentary democracy as the source of information for parliamentarians, parliamentary committees and associations in order to keep up to date with relevant news and information. This library is extremely important as it keeps Parliament informed and allows its members to consider legislation and ensure the government is accountable.
Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with California. I love Canada with all my heart (as much as I complain about the cold weather in winter) but for as long as I can remember, I have always felt a connection to this place. I know it’s kind of ‘basic’ now because so many people romanticize it, but finally getting to go there was a feeling I can’t describe. What I’m also finding hard to describe is how I feel about this UCLA library. Apparently it’s one of the top 10 research libraries in the US and has more than 9 million titles! It’s supposed to be designed after Milan’s Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, which explains the European vibes I’m getting from the space.
Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milano:
Speaking of Milan, how beautiful is the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan? Those chandeliers are everything. I’ve always wanted one of those bookshelves you need a ladder for and these ones are calling my name. It was built in 1770 and opened to the public in 1786. I’m a huge fan of places with history—honestly the older the spaces, the better, so I wonder how many people have graced its halls; if only walls could talk!
There’s no way you can visit the most romantic city in the world and not find pretty library somewhere, so I was really excited to research this one. The Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne in Paris was open in the same year the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan was built—1770. It’s a university library now; however, it is open to the public as well. What drew me to this were the walls because I find that colour gorgeous and serene, especially with all the natural light pouring into the space. If I had to describe to someone what I thought heaven might look like, this photo would come pretty close.
Although I find the libraries pictured beautiful, they are so much more than that. It doesn’t matter whether you are there for leisure, school, or even political purposes, libraries have been and continue to be at the heart of our communities promoting learning and advancement. They are a vital lifeline for those learning a new language, looking for jobs, needing resources to start small businesses, and more. I never want to imagine a world without the library—my involvement and access of which has shaped me into the person I am today. It’s not until I spoke to someone who told me their nearest library is an hour away that I began to realize how fortunate I am that for my whole life I have been within walking distance from one, and I will never, ever take that for granted.