Human kind will always remember the terrible, infamous fire that destroyed the Ancient Library of Alexandria (Alexandria, Egypt), and precious papyrus scrolls that were kept there for years. In 391 AD, the most magnificent pieces of literature were eternally lost. However, today, luckily for us, we have many impressive libraries that can match the one from the ancient times. Knowledge has never been more available for us, and libraries serve to help in achieving the goal of widening public knowledge. Here are some of the most grandiose libraries we can enjoy today.
1) The British Library
The national library of The United Kingdom. Yes, it is a huge complex, and it counts over 170 million books, journals, magazines, newspapers, even music recordings, maps, prints etc. Their Sound Archive has the sound recordings from the 19th century! You can only imagine how many rows of books and recordings that is. Well, to be precise, that is 625 km of shelves! And this number is increasing every year. Among the treasures of this enormous library are Magna Carta, The Times first edition, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, Beatles manuscripts and many other valuable historical documents.
2) The Library of Congress
National library that beautifies the United States. This beautifully designed building is the oldest federal cultural institution established in 1800 in the United States. Almost half of the items in this library are in other languages (other than English). This institution can boast of the first book printed in North America that dates from 1640 called The Bay Psalm Book.
3) Library and Archives Canada
Canada’s heritage is preserved in 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, where this library is located. The most valuable collections are kept here, in the 48 preservation vaults, and many laboratories. For Canada’s national identity, this library is an institution that protects the Canadian archives, such as Canadian Constitution Act from 1982; the book written by Flavius Josephus from the 15th century; the British North America Act, and a variety of other important Canadian documents and publications.
4) New York Public Library
In the middle of Manhattan, brightly shines the second largest library in the United States: The New York Public Library. Adorned with marvelous marble, it stands for one of the greatest libraries ever and it certainly deserves to have a place among the top five. It was opened in 1911, and the number of visitors was unbelievable on the opening day: fifty thousand people rushed to see the striking building! In the collection, there is a unique copy of the letter written by Columbus himself, saying that the New World is discovered!
The Library also holds the locks of hair (oh, yes!) of the famous writers like Walt Whitman, Mary Shelley,
Percy Bysshe Shelley, and other eminent personages. Unbelievable and amazing!
5) Russian State Library
The outstanding Russian writers found their place in spectacular library in Moscow! Of course, the Library also possesses a collection of foreign manuscripts, including Greek, Arabic, Indian, Japanese and so on. Today, it has reading rooms for over two thousand readers, and the earliest collections of Slavonic publications. The interior is fascinating, richly decorated with sculptures and 275 km of book shelves. It is absolutely stunning, leaving you with the impression that you entered a castle from some other century.