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Best Libraries That Give Your Unforgettable Reading Experiences

Best Libraries That Give Your Unforgettable Reading Experiences

Libraries collect the vast stores of human knowledge and imagination.

1. Admont Abbey Library, Austria

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    Although this astonishingly beautiful library looks as though it would exist only in a Disney movie rather than real life, the Admont Abbey Library was built in 1776 and remains the largest monistic library in the world. Adamant Abbey holds 700,000 books which are all accompanied by wonderful pastel paintings and wall carvings.

    2. Strahov Monastery Library, Czech Republic

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      Containing over 200,000 books, this library hosts some of the most important titles printed in Central Europe and the decor is incredible. Not only is this library visually appealing, it alsohas  geek appeal as it has two secret passageways which can be opened by faux books.

      3. Geisel Library, USA

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        libraries.ucsd.edu

        Named after Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel – although you may know him better as Dr. Seuss – this library at the University of San Diego honors the late couple who often donated to UCSD.

        4. Trinity College Library, Ireland

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          Not only is Trinity College Library the largest library in the whole of Ireland, it also houses the Book Of Kells which is believed to have been written as early as 800 AD by celtic monks.

          5. Boston Public Library, USA

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            Established in 1848, Boston Public Library was the first municipal library in the entire U.S.! Containing over 8.9 million books, the library was originally part of a small Massachusetts school house until architect Charles Follen McKim completed the current building – named ‘Palace For The People’ – situated in Copley Square in 1895.

            6. Raza Library, India

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              Once part of a palace, the Raza Library was completed in 1904 but houses a collection the royal family began collecting as far back as 1774. There are now 17,000 rare or completely unique manuscripts and over 200 hand-written letters.

              7. George Peabody Library, USA

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                The first American to be interred in Westminster Abbey, George Peabody is known as somewhat of a success story. Although he was born into a humble life, George worked his way up to become a very wealthy man who funded many museums and libraries in both the UK and USA in the early 1800s. George constructed this library in Baltimore, USA to thank the local people for their “kindness and hospitality’.

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                8. Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, USA

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                  Encapsulated within a huge glass dome, Mansueto Library is the main studying hall of the University of Chicago. So students can receive any books or documents they require quickly, Mansueto actually has a robotic arm system underground that catalogues and finds certain books.

                  9. Villanueva Public Library, Columbia

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                      archdaily.com

                      Villanueva Library was constructed using only locally sourced materials and people. The design, which was created by four college students near to the construction, is focused around natural ventilation so visitors remain cool and comfortable.

                      10. The Walker Library of the History of Human Imagination, USA

                        brainpickings.org

                        This extremely interesting space holds over 20,000 volumes belonging to celebrated inventor Jay Walker. Inspired by the designs of M.C. Escher, Walker’s private library is meant to focus entirely on the never-ending phenomenon of the human imagination.

                        11. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, USA

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                          wikimedia.org

                          One of the largest libraries in the world, Beinecke Yale Library is exclusively reserved for, as I’m sure you can imagine, rare books and manuscripts. There are currently over 500,000 books in its possession and several million manuscripts, including a Gutenberg Bible.

                          12. Karl Lagerfeld’s Private Library, Paris

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                            One of the largest private libraries in existence, Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld owns over 60,000 books which he keeps in his Parisian apartment.

                            13. Bristol Central Library, England

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                              Completed in 1906, Bristol Central Library combines Tudor Revival and Modern Movement styles to create a fascinating combination of architecture. It was also built on a slope, which is why the front half of the building has three stories while the end half has five.

                              14. James B. Hunt Jr Library, USA

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                                businessinsider.com

                                Although this was opened extremely recently in 2013, this North Carolina State Library is host to a robotic arm system that can retrieve any of 20,000 volumes for students as well as two 3D printers.

                                15. Bibliotheque Nationale De France, France

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                                  Despite many parts of The National Library of France having been built back in 1886, the entire structure is still in use.

                                  16. The Library of El Escorial, Spain

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                                    Perhaps the most interesting element of this library is the fact it is situated in the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the residence of all of Spain’s past kings. Although it is now a world heritage site, King Phillip II began the library and collected many of the books that are still held there.

                                    17. Wiblingen Monastery Library, Germany

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                                      Completed in 1744, this beautiful Baroque building is inscribed with the wonderful phrase ‘In quo omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae,’ meaning ‘In which are stored all treasures of knowledge and science.’

                                      18. The Library of the San Francisco Monastery, Peru

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                                        Located in Lima, the San Francisco Monastery was built in 1672 making it one of the oldest functioning libraries in the west.

                                        19. University of Otago Central Library, New Zealand

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                                          The University of Otago is home to several libraries, however their Central Library is by far the most impressive. The library has over 500,000 books, 9000 of which where printed before 1801, and 2000 study spaces for students.

                                          20. Nakanoshima Library, Japan

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                                              True, this building doesn’t look traditionally Japanese but this Library constructed in 1904 actually fits in rather well with the rest of Osaka.

                                              21. Beitou Library, Taiwan

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                                                  Eco-friendly and modern, this library recycles rainwater by letting it run down its slanted roof to be used in the restrooms!

                                                  22. Victorian State Library, Australia

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                                                    Victorian State Library opened in 1856, although the famous domed room (pictures above) didn’t open until 1913. This absolutely huge library is home to over 2 million books including diaries from the famous James Cook.

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                                                    23. The Tianyi Pavilion Library, China

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                                                        Built in 1560, Tianyi Pavilion Library is the oldest private library in Asia, and third oldest on the entire Earth. The collection, which was started by a retired imperial minister, includes over 300,000 ancient books that cannot be found anywhere else.

                                                        24. Fisher Fine Arts Library, USA

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                                                          Built in the late 1800s, this University of Pennsylvania library was designed by Philadelphia’s Frank Furness, making it a historic landmark.

                                                          25. Indianapolis Public Library, USA

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                                                              Originally constructed in 1917, this Indiana library has since been extended to combine older and extremely modern architecture in a harmonious and impressive display.

                                                              26. Palafoxiana Library, Mexico

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                                                                The first publiclibrary in Mexico, built in 1646, this Puebla library is now one of the many buildings on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

                                                                27. University of Michigan Law Library, USA

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                                                                  Renowned for its Gothic architecture, the Law Library is available to all students and is located at the centre of the Michigan campus.

                                                                  28. Library of Parliament, Canada

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                                                                      Built in 1876, the Library of Parliament was originally part of the parliamentary headquarters. The building was under construction for ten years before the builders admitted they didn’t know how to create a domed roof, and so this library became the first structure in North America to have a wrought iron roof.

                                                                      29. National Library, Costa Rica

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                                                                          Featuring an inverted arch above glass walls, this library may now have been built to withstand the numerous earthquakes that hit Costa Rica. So make sure to have a look while you can!

                                                                          30. Austrian National Library, Austria

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                                                                            Built in 1723, Austria’s largest library is located in the Hofburg Palace, Vienna and is host to an incredible 7.4 million books.

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                                                                            31. Central Library of Vancouver, Canada

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                                                                              If you were to look closely at this building, which ancient constructions does it remind you of? If you guessed the Roman Colosseum you’re correct! In fact, this library was based on the ancient structure and covers an entire city block to do so. Not only does it include 1.3 million volumes, Vancouver’s central library also houses retailers, offices and restaurants.

                                                                              32. Klarchek Information Commons, USA

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                                                                                On the shores of Lake Michigan, the stunning building at Loyola University in Chicago offers even more impressive views.

                                                                                33. José Vasconcelos Library, Mexico

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                                                                                  Aptly referred to as the ‘Megalibrary’ by the Mexican press, this huge structure covers 409,000 square feet and houses over 500,000 books all hanging from glass shelves.

                                                                                  34. Delft University of Technology Library, Netherlands

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                                                                                      Delft University’s Technology Library is in a field of its own when it comes to modern architecture. With the library located under what appears to be a hill, the roof is a skylight that transforms into cone.

                                                                                      35. Abbey Library of St. Gallen, Switzerland

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                                                                                        wikipedia.org

                                                                                        As if it wasn’t enough that this library is the oldest in Switzerland, it’s one of the oldest monastic libraries in the world.

                                                                                        36. The Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Brazil

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                                                                                          Located in Rio de Janeiro, The Real Gabinete Português de Leitura was built in 1887 and holds more works in Portuguese than anywhere else outside of Portugal.

                                                                                          37. The National Library, Brazil

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                                                                                            Another of Brazil’s incredible libraries, The National Library is the largest library in Latin America and the seventh largest on the planet.

                                                                                            38. Cornell Univeristy Uris Library, USA

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                                                                                              wikimedia.org

                                                                                              As Cornell University is located on a rather large hill, Uris sits at the top of the ‘slope’ with the proud title of being Cornell’s oldest library. You may also recognise the room above as the ‘Harry Potter’ library.

                                                                                              39. Stephen A. Schwarzman Library, USA

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                                                                                                Otherwise known as The New York Public Library, this National Historical Landmark was originally built in 1911 and houses 75 miles of shelving. As it continued to grow, an underground area was built that extends under Bryant Park.

                                                                                                40. Handelingenkamer, Netherlands

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                                                                                                  This library holds every record of Dutch parliamentary discussions and was very cleverly built to minimize the need for candles in a time before electricity.

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                                                                                                  Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                                                                                  How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                                                                  How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                                                                  Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                                                                  Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                                                                                  I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                                                                  You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                                                                  Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                                                                  When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                                                                  I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                                                                  Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                                                                  Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                                                                  Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                                                                  1. The Inner Critic

                                                                                                  This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                                                                                  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                                                                  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                                                                  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                                                                  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                                                                  The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                                                                  Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                                                                  2. The Worrier

                                                                                                  This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                                                                  The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                                                                                  3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                                                                  This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                                                                                  This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                                                                  The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                                                                  4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                                                                  This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                                                                  The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                                                                                  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                                                                  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                                                                  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                                                                  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                                                                  How can you control these squatters?

                                                                                                  How to Master Your Mind

                                                                                                  You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                                                                  Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                                                                  There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                                                                  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                                                                  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                                                                  This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                                                                  The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                                                                  Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                                                                  For the Inner Critic

                                                                                                  When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                                                                  You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                                                                  For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                                                                                  You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                                                                                  “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                                                                  If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                                                                  • They rile up the Worrier.
                                                                                                  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                                                                  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                                                                  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                                                                  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                                                                                  Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                                                                  Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                                                                  For the Worrier

                                                                                                  Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                                                                  Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                                                                  You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                                                                  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                                                                  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                                                                  • Muscles tense

                                                                                                  Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                                                                  If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                                                                  Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                                                                  “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                                                                  Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                                                                  If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                                                                  Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                                                                                  Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                                                                                  For example:

                                                                                                  If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                                                                  “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                                                                  Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                                                                  “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                                                                  Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                                                                  For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                                                                  Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                                                                  The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                                                                  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                                                                  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                                                                  • Muscles tension

                                                                                                  I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                                                                  Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                                                                  Breathe in through your nose:

                                                                                                  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                                                                  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                                                                  • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                                                                  Breathe out through your nose:

                                                                                                  • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                                                                  • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                                                                  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                                                                  Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                                                                  Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                                                                                  One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                                                                                  Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                                                                  For the Sleep Depriver

                                                                                                  (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                                                                  I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                                                                  Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                                                                  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                                                                  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                                                                  When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                                                                  From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                                                                  For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                                                                  If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                                                                  You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                                                                  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                                                                  • Shut down your thinking.
                                                                                                  • Calm your feelings.
                                                                                                  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                                                                  The Bottom Line

                                                                                                  Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                                                                  You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                                                                  Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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