Tianjin Binhai Library, China. / TPG/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
“In the words of Stephen King, “books are a uniquely portable magic.” They have to be stored somewhere—and the buildings created to house them can be equally as magical. There are 2.7 million libraries scattered across the globe, and while there are many beautiful ones, there are also a number of more unique ones. Here are 10 of the most unusual libraries—ranging from creative architectural wonders to libraries that aren’t housed within buildings at all.
“1. Seikei University Library // Tokyo, Japan – The main atrium of Seikei University Library features five elevated glass study pods that are fashioned in a slick, sci-fi style. It was designed by Shigeru Ban and completed in 2006. One wall of the five-story library is made almost entirely of glass, giving those outside the building a brilliant view of the raised meeting rooms that are scattered across the different levels. The futuristic domed pods are aptly known as “planets.”
“2. The Haskell Free Library & Opera House // Quebec, Canada and Derby Line, Vermont – The Haskell Free Library straddles the border between Canada and the United States and serves patrons from both countries. The main entrance is on the American side, but the majority of the books reside in Canada. There’s even a line on the floor to mark the border. While Canadians are not required to show their passport to enter the library, it is strongly encouraged that they bring identification in case U.S. Border Patrol or the RCMP decide to do checks.
As well as operating as a regular library, the building is also home to an opera house. The stage is in Canada, but most of the seats are in the States.
“3. Future Library Project // Oslo, Norway – Each year the Future Library—described by The Guardian as “the world’s most secretive library”—sees a different author add a manuscript to a collection that will not be available for reading until 2114. The project was started in 2014 by Scottish artist Katie Paterson, and the stories involved are being stored in the Silent Room at Oslo Public Library. Once the 100 books have been gathered, they will be printed on paper made from a specially grown forest.
“A Future Library committee has been established to choose which author should be invited to contribute each year. The decision is made based on “outstanding contributions to literature or poetry, and for their work’s ability to capture the imagination of this and future generations.” Margaret Atwood was the first author to pen a secret story for the Future Library; other authors who have contributed include David Mitchell, Han Kang, and Ocean Vuong. …”
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