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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 March 25, 2020

                                  How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

                                  How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

                                  When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

                                  So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

                                  1. Exercise

                                  It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

                                  2. Drink in Moderation

                                  I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

                                  3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

                                  Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

                                  4. Watch Less Television

                                  A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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                                  Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

                                  5. Eat Less Red Meat

                                  Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

                                  If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

                                  6. Don’t Smoke

                                  This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

                                  7. Socialize

                                  Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

                                  8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

                                  Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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                                  9. Be Optimistic

                                  Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

                                  10. Own a Pet

                                  Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

                                  11. Drink Coffee

                                  Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

                                  12. Eat Less

                                  Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

                                  13. Meditate

                                  Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

                                  Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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                                  How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

                                  14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

                                  Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

                                  15. Laugh Often

                                  Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

                                  16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

                                  Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

                                  17. Cook Your Own Food

                                  When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

                                  Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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                                  18. Eat Mushrooms

                                  Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

                                  19. Floss

                                  Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

                                  20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

                                  Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

                                  Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

                                  21. Have Sex

                                  Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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                                  Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
                                  [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
                                  [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
                                  [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
                                  [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
                                  [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
                                  [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
                                  [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
                                  [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
                                  [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
                                  [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
                                  [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
                                  [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
                                  [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
                                  [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
                                  [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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