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16 Wonderfully Weird Libraries Around The World

16 Wonderfully Weird Libraries Around The World

When imagining libraries, a serene, quiet, well lighted, and clean surroundings will automatically pop out in your head. However, the list of libraries you’re about to see are absolutely out of this mould. Some of them might not be ideal places to read, but I would definitely enjoy visiting them.  

1. Arma de Instruccion Masiva (Weapon of Mass Instruction) – South America

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    Photo: Carlos Adampol

    Artist Raul Lemesoff has taken a 1979 Falcon (a car that represents a dark time in Argentina) and transformed it from a symbol of fear to a mobile library in the shape of a tank.

    2. Stuttgart City Library – Stuttgart, Germany

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      Photo: Elmastudio

      This amazingly weird looking structure is designed by Korean architect Eun Young Yi. When it opened in 2011, it got mixed reviews from library connoisseurs, architects, and even the locals. It’s been ridiculed and described as a 2-tone Rubik’s Cube and a box-shaped jail for books. I have a different opinion, though. To me it’s a heaven for nerdy people like me.

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      3. The Biblioburro: Delivering Books Via Donkey – Columbia

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        Photo: Itzuvit

        It would be fun to check a mobile library in rural Colombia. Biblioburro (the name of the library) is being operated by Luis Soriano, a primary school teacher during his spare time. Witnessing kids wearing a genuine smile each time he visits their villages in rural Colombia would surely warm anybody’s heart. Using two donkeys, Alfa and Beto to carry loads of books, Soriano spends four hours on each trip just to reach those remote places.

        4. Bibliotheque Nationale – Paris, France

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          Photo: Panoramas

          This library is composed of 4 towers that are shaped like open books. They are built around a sunken and thickly forested courtyard. It was constructed in 1996 to replace a former library structure that could no longer accommodate expansions. It’s one of the largest in the world boosting 22-story structures.

          5. Reading Club 2000 – Manila, Philippines

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            Photo: Andrew Tadalan

            Reading Club 2000 started when Hernando “Nanie” Guanlao thought of a way to honor and preserve the memory of his parents who inculcated in him the love for reading. He gathered his old textbooks and set them outside his Manila residence to test if the community would be interested to borrow and read them. They were. 12 years later Nanie’s library grew to contain 2,500 books. As an additional service, he also runs a “book bike” service, where he delivers books to poor areas in Manila.

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            6. Stockholm Public Library – Stockholm, Sweden

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              Photo:Marcus Hansson

              Sweden’s first library to apply an open shelf design, the Stockholm Public Library, opened in 1928. When architect Gunnar Asplund and librarian Fredrik Hjelmqvist decided that the people who’ll patronize the library could fetch their own books, librarians all over the globe rejoiced! Recently, its self-service model was revitalized by more drive to infuse a check-outs and returns automation system.

              7. Mechanical Libraries: Serving readers 24 Hours A Day – Beijing

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                Photo: Joe Gratz

                Nothing can replace the relaxing rustle of pages, and the smell of dusty tomes, but there are times when night owls like me would love to prowl the night for books even at 3am. That’s why I’m not completely against library vending machines. In a district in Beijing, machines account for 31.6 percent of books loaned. Even if you’re fighting the good fight against the machine overlords, you’ll have to agree that anything that increases the number of books the public consumes can’t be all that bad. Still, it’s not as depressing as a bookless library, right?

                8. Trinity College Long Room – Dublin, Ireland

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                  Photo: Brett Jordan

                  Trinity college, Ireland’s oldest university also houses the largest library in Ireland. The oldest and rarest of its collection is kept in the Long Room. With its more than 200,000 volumes, it’s the largest single-chamber library in the world. The Long Room grabbed the limelight once again recently for being the “unofficial” inspiration for the Jedi Archives in the movie Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

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                  9. Biblioteca Sandro Penna- Perugia, Italy

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                    Photo: Perugia-City.com

                    Nope, that’s not an alien ship you are staring at. It’s not a pink bubblegum candy designed by hello kitty, either! That’s a power house of books providing library services for the people of Perugia, Italy. Biblioteca Sandro Penna, is a public library named after the poet Sandro Penna. It features rose-colored glass walls designed to let sunlight in during daytime and at night it creates a rare glow. The Architect who designed it, Italo Rota, made the three-story disc to exude an appearance of an alien flying saucer.

                    10. Taipei Public Library – Beitou, Taiwan

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                      Photo: LWY

                      The most eco-conscious building in the country is also a famous library in Taiwan. The Beitou branch of the Taipei Public Library system received the highest EEWH rating lately: the diamond rating for being the most eco-friendly structure in the country. All wood used for its construction came from sustainably managed forests. It also uses photovoltaic cells for generating power. To insulate itself from the heat of the sun during daytime, it’s roof is equipped with 20 centimeter layer of soil. this bulding is also designed to collect rainwater to be used for toilet flushing. Not to forget, they have an interesting line up of books.

                      11. The Kenyan Camel Library: Serving Nomadic Populations – Kenya

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                        Photo: BookAid.org

                        Before you assume donkeys are the only mammals able to carry around a library by merely using their backs, meet the library camels of Kenya. The camels carry books and some camping gear. Traveling librarians need a place to rest after a long journey across the desert. The caravan caters to nomadic communities which are mostly illiterate due to lack of access to books. The Kenya National Library Service unleashed the program in 1985 and kept on sending book-wielding hump-backed service animals on the deserts of Kenya.

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                        12. Boston Public Library – Boston, USA

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                          Photo: R..D

                          The Boston Public Library is the 2nd largest library in north America. It opened in 1848. With its over 24 million books it’s undoubtedly one of the biggest libraries in the U.S. Another worthy fact to mention is that it’s also the very first public and free-to-all library – and the first book house to loan books to patrons.

                          13. Vasconcelos Library – Mexico City, Mexico

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                            Photo: Eneas De Troya

                            The 409,000-square-foot Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City is also known as the Megabiblioteca (a megalibrary). To me it’s a haven for real bibliophiles. The architect, Alberto Kalach, created a structure that looks like it’s been taken straight out of a Matrix-induced dream – with books kept on crystal shelves seemingly suspended in mid-air, large industrial steel fittings, and five grid-like levels. The 500,000 books are displayed over an open courtyard boosting gigantic striped whale bones that appear to be floating up from the ceiling. Everything is surrounded by a beautiful and  massive botanical garden.

                            14. Picture Book Library – Iwaki City, Japan

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                              Photo: Ken Lee 2010

                              To the joy of Japanese preschoolers in Iwaki, Fukushima, the Picture Book Museum was built in 2005. Turned off by the strict and conservative atmosphere of traditional libraries, the founder of Picture Book Library allowed architect Tadao Ando ultimate freedom to design a space that would be irresistible to kids. And he had only one condition: To make sure the book covers were highly visible. The end result was the vibrant, colorful, and highly celebrated library considered by many as a new paradigm in educational spaces in Japan, and an architectural masterpiece.

                              15. Epos Book Boat: Floating Books In The Fjords

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                                Photo: Anders

                                In the Fyords, a book boat known as Epos travels to more than 250 small communities on islands every year between September and April. On board the vessel are some 6,000 volumes, a couple of librarians, a cook, a captain, and one or two vaguely titled “entertainers” (Contortionists? Clowns? Exotic dancers? What’s that you say? Three-in-one? What’s the most fitting entertainment when snowed into their abodes for months on end?). During summertime, the boat/library turns into a leisure cruise ferry. It all started in 1959, and is funded by the libraries of the three counties it serves.

                                16. Nassau Public Library – Nassau, Bahamas

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                                  Photo: Brickapolis

                                  The Nassau Public Library has street-cred. In the past it housed criminals. Built in the late 1700s as a prison, the octagon-shaped building was turned into a library around 1837. It’s shape has helped accommodate its treasures for each 8 sides holds a portion of the library’s 28,000-volume collection.

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                                  Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                  We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                  We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                  So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                  Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                  What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                  Boundaries are limits

                                  —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                  Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                  Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                  Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                  Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                  How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                  Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                  1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                  Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                  You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                  To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                  You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                  • When do you feel disrespected?
                                  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                  • When do you want to be alone?
                                  • How much space do you need?

                                  You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                  2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                  Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                  Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                  3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                  Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                  That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                  Sample language:

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                                  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                  Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                  4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                  Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                  Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                  Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                  We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                  It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                  It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                  Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                  Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                  The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                  Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                  Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                  They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                  Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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