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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 December 9, 2019

                                  5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                                  5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                                  Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                                  Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                                  Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                                  1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                                  Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                                  This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                                  In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                                  The result: no more mental stress.

                                  2. Unplug

                                  Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                                  How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                                  It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                                  Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                                  3. Easy on the Caffeine

                                  Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                                  Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                                  4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                                  That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                                  How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                                  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                                  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                                  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                                  While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                                  5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                                  This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                                  The result: mental stress will be gone!

                                  So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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