Cool and Unusual Libraries Around the World

Calling all bibliophiles!

If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely you have a strong affinity for libraries. Are you the kind of person who travels somewhere and just has to stop into the local library to see how their children/teen/reference department looks? Then this month’s post is for you.

First stop: Detroit – where you’ll find a TARDIS mobile library. Fanatics of the BBC series Dr. Who will delight in this adorable little library, created by Dan Zemke, who runs a branch of the youth reading program “Reach Out and Read.” It houses around 140 books and operates on the policy of “take a book, leave a book.”

Next we’ll make a stop in New York City, home of the mystical and delightfully curious Conjuring Arts Research Center, which is “dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of magic and its allied arts.” It is here that librarians and preservationists are hard at work digitizing works that explain centuries-old card tricks, explore mentalism, delve into séances, and probe psychic and occult phenomena.

An amazingly non-traditional library can be found in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the Human Library the “books” are people from various walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, and varied life experiences. Visitors can borrow “books” and speak to someone completely different from themselves. It’s a method of challenging stereotypes and in turn igniting social change.

Moving right along to Beijing, you’ll witness the popularity of library vending machines. 31.6 percent of library books loaned in a district of Beijing are represented by these modern book dispensers.

Perhaps the “holy grail” of libraries is Trinity College in Dublin – the largest library in Ireland. Reminiscent of Hogwarts with its ornate wood interior and spacious halls, this is a bibliophile’s dream! The Long Room, which houses the oldest and rarest of its collection is the world’s biggest single-chamber library in the world. Impressive!

Lastly, let’s take a look at Idea Stores in the UK. Idea stores are a mishmash of libraries and adult learning centers, with a talks – such as a history of 18th and 19th century London – health training courses, book discussion groups, and courses in photography, cookery, and even fashion design. These community centres are all about meeting consumer needs – though it should be noted that some of the specialized courses are not free. Presently, Idea Stores are scattered about busy parts of London.

It is thoroughly awe-inspiring to explore the innovative ways we are reaching, educating, connecting, and sharing old and new works within the library science profession.