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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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                                  Anthony Dejolde

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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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