Fallon Zschiegner-Bleich, Head Editor, INALJ Arkansas
My Bucket List of Libraries-Global Edition
Last month, I wrote about my bucket list of libraries that I want to visit in the U.S. This month, I’ll tackle my ever growing list of international libraries I want to visit. Granted, most of these are probably not going to ever be seen by me, unless I win a trip around the world, but it’s nice to imagine the possibilities! Without further ado, the top 5 libraries around the world that I want to visit are:
This is the new portion of the Royal Library of Denmark located in Copenhagen. First of all, I’m a huge Hans Christian Anderson fan, so going to Copenhagen has been one of my must-see places for a while. Second of all, look at how cool and futuristic looking this library is; it’s like something out of Star Trek. While I like this one mostly for aesthetic purposes, I do think it’s a great example of how a library can function for the overall community. Besides being a library, the Black Diamond houses the Queen’s Hall, which houses 600 people, along with two museums and holds literary events, theatrical performances, and conferences amongst other things. And again, it’s just a really cool looking library.
If you’ve been paying attention, you probably knew that this one would be on my list. Known as the New Library of Alexandria, the Bibliotecha Alexandrina is located on the shores of the Mediterranean in Alexandria, Egypt. Its trilingual, has shelf room for 8 million books (No, that was not a typo) and was built in order to commemorate the library that was lost in antiquity and as a revival of that kind of pursuit of knowledge. It has several specialized libraries, four museums, four art galleries, a planetarium, and a manuscript restoration laboratory. The scale of this library is huge and from the pictures I’ve seen contains one of the most beautiful views in the city. Oh, and did I mention that it houses a backup of the Internet Archive? Yes, THAT Internet Archive and that’s not all of the many digital projects that they house. The BA has too many projects to list, but let’s just say that they are definitely advancing digital knowledge.
I’m going to be honest on this one, this doesn’t strike me as the most beautiful library, and I’m pretty sure I’d get a really bad case of vertigo inside of it, but I can’t help but be intrigued it. Housed in Mexico City, the Jose Vasconcelos library used the natural flora of the area to landscape the outside of the building which also has a botanical garden on the land. What’s the most interesting to me is to read the architect’s vision for the library where he compares it to the story of Jonah and the whale. Apparently to him, the library represented different sections of the whale and each part he designed was like “Jonah finding a new section of the whale”. I definitely think it would be interesting to visit this library and see a good example of a government leader supporting libraries and knowledge as a whole.
I love this project for so many reasons, mostly because these architects work specifically to bring projects that improve people’s lives in poorer parts of the world. Located in Bangkok, the Old Market Library is a project that the TYIN tegnestue Architects brought to the Min Buri Old Market community in order to encourage residents to engage with their community. They used locals to build the library, they used local materials to build the library, and they ensured that the library would be safe from any flooding that occurs regularly in the area. This library is not like the other mega-libraries that are mentioned in this list; it’s small and mainly a community library. However, it’s a great example of how something small can impact a community, especially when the builders engage the residents and get them involved in the process.
I chose this library because 1.) It is my dream to visit Versailles (one that will come true in 2015!), 2.) I’m kind of obsessed with learning about Marie Antionette, and 3.) again, total history nerd writing this article. While not in the palace itself, Marie Antoinette’s library at Versailles is surprisingly intact considering the history of the owners of Versailles and the fact that her estate was not restored until 2008. I would love to see the books that she read or had read to her, as was common of the time, and the books as described on the website, sound beautiful: The few books from the library at Trianon are bound in calfskin; they bear the queen’s coat of arms on the front and the initials “CT” (Château de Trianon) underneath the royal crown on the back.
So, there you have it; my list of libraries I want to see in my lifetime. While the list might get altered as I get older and hopefully see some of these places, I’d like to think that it will never be fully complete. New libraries are built every day and there are many libraries I’ve never heard of, I’m sure. Again, if you have any suggestions to add to my list, comment below or send me a tweet at @INALJArkansas!