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Book Lovers Alert: 8 Of The Most Spectacular Libraries In The World

Book Lovers Alert: 8 Of The Most Spectacular Libraries In The World

Reading is probably one of my favorite things to do, but as a graduate student I don’t have a lot of extra money for going to local bookstores and filling up a shopping cart. Because of this, I spend a lot of time at libraries– both local branches and the one at my school. And though they’re great resources for all kinds of books (and audiobooks), they’re not exactly awe-inspiring.

If you find yourself in the same boat, let’s start planning a trip to some of these amazing libraries around the world, with at least one in almost every continent.

1. National Library of China, Beijing

national-library-china
    Adam Rifkin

    This library has more than 31 million items including books, Chinese literature, and historical documents. This gorgeous library is the largest in Asia and one of the biggest libraries in the entire world. We could spend a few days exploring it and still not know everything it has to offer.

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    2. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Connecticut

    4286475665_e5aa160764_o
      Lauren Manning

      Although this manuscript library is closed for some extensive renovations right now, we can visit it after it reopens in September 2016 to find out what they’ve changed and improved. Its marble exterior protects the valuable materials from direct sunlight while the glass enclosure that holds the books provides climate control to protect them from visitors.

      3. Stuttgart City Library, Germany

      germany
        Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart

        Europe’s addition to our list is a huge nine-story library. The first four floors are your standard building shape, but the upper five floors form a pyramid with a glass ceiling. The inside is just as beautifully designed and is ready for us to visit- and those little blue couches look like the perfect place to relax with a good book.

        4. Rand Club Reading Room, Johannesburg

        south-africa
          Andrew Moore

          Although this particular library is members only, it has more than 10,000 books, magazines, newspapers, and “irreplaceable treasures.” Maybe we can sneak in and take a look at their beautiful books. Who’s with me?

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          5. Adelaide City Library, Australia

          australia
            Jon Westra

            This library is home to some absolutely stunning architecture, in addition to all of the books. The ceiling has a glass dome in the middle of it to add some natural light and let us enjoy a little bit of nature without actually having to go outside.

            6. The Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Brazil

            brazil
              Mathieu Bertrand Struck

              This South American library was completed in 1887 and apparently holds more Portuguese works than anywhere else outside of Portugal. It’s a beautiful building with some rare works, an amazing chandelier and an iron skylight. It has a wealth of information to offer us on top of the beautiful architecture.

              7. National Art Library, London

              389048674_a17e43ba86_o
                lizsmith

                If you also love art, you can try out the National Art Library in Kensington. It has reference materials about all kinds of art, from painting, to textiles, to woodwork and sculptures. It does have books too, but some of those books are works of art themselves and aren’t kept for reading.

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                8. Trinity College, Dublin

                ireland
                  Irish Welcome Tours

                  Trinity College’s library is the largest research library in Ireland AND it’s the legal deposit library for the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. This means that it gets a copy of every book that’s published in those countries. That results in the library acquiring about 100,000 new works every year. I think that could keep us busy for a little while.

                  Although there are probably hundreds more beautiful libraries in a bunch more countries, this list will give you a good starting point to plan your trip. Once you’ve hit all of these libraries, you can definitely say that you’re a well-read person who’s been to (almost) every continent.

                  Once they build a library in Antarctica, I’ll update this list so we can make it there too.

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                  Featured photo credit: Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart via flic.kr

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                  Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                  your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                    Why You Need a Vision

                    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                    How to Create Your Life Vision

                    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                    What Do You Want?

                    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                    Some tips to guide you:

                    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                    • Give yourself permission to dream.
                    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                    Some questions to start your exploration:

                    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                    • What qualities would you like to develop?
                    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                    • What would you most like to accomplish?
                    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                    A few prompts to get you started:

                    • What will you have accomplished already?
                    • How will you feel about yourself?
                    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                    • What does your ideal day look like?
                    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                    • What would you be doing?
                    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                    • How are you dressed?
                    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                    Plan Backwards

                    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                    • What important actions would you have had to take?
                    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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