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All of the libraries in the world—whether small or large, public or private—serve the same purpose: to preserve, cherish, or show off the riches of human knowledge. Now, for the first time, an internationally renowned photographer takes the reader on a journey to more than 20 of the most historic of these magical places, all architectural treasures. From the dramatic, baroque Library of the Institut de France in Paris, to the splendid Vatican Library in Rome; from the majestic Royal Library in El Escorial, Spain, to the famed New York Public Library, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece—here are some of the most exquisite libraries of the Western world.Included are national, scholarly, and religious libraries from 12 countries, which have in common a distinguished heritage and an architectural setting that emphasizes art and culture. The accompanying text traces the history of libraries to the present day, and describes how they came to serve famous personalities and men of letters. Libraries must be counted among civilization's crowning achievements; this elegant book is a fitting tribute to that accomplishment.

Author Bio: Guillaume de Laubier is one of France's foremost photographers of interior design. He has undertaken projects all over the world for magazines such as Elle Décoration, Architectural Digest, and Madame Figaro. Jacques Bosser, journalist and translator, has written for Architectural Digest and Connaissance des Arts as well as contributing to Le Dictionnaire international des arts appliqués et du design and Le Dictionnaire international du bijou. James H. Billington has been the Librarian of Congress for more than 15 years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810946347
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 10/28/2003
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 399,309
Product dimensions: 11.50(w) x 11.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Vienna, Austria - National Library of Austria12
Admont, Austria - The Benedictine Abbey Library of Admont22
Ulm, Germany - The Monastic Library at Wiblingen32
Metten, Germany - The Benedictine Abbey Library of Metten42
Weimar, Germany - The Herzogin Anna Amalia Library52
Rome, Italy - The Vatican Library60
Florence, Italy - Riccardiana Library74
Paris, France - The Mazarine Library82
Paris, France - The Institute Library90
Paris, France - The Senate Library98
Chantilly, France - The Cabinet Des Livres of the Duc D'Aumale110
Saint Gall, Switzerland - The Abbey Library of Saint Gall122
Oxford, England - Bodleian Library136
Cambridge, England - Wren Library, Trinity College146
Manchester, England - The John Rylands Library156
Dublin, Ireland - Trinity College Library168
Prague, The Czech Republic - The National Library176
San Lorenzo del Escorial, Spain - The Library of the Royal Monastery of El Escorial188
Mafra, Portugal - The National Palace Library in Mafra198
Boston, United States of America - Boston Athenaeum206
Washington, DC, United States of America - The Library of Congress216
New York, United States of America - The New York Public Library226
Saint Petersburg, Russia - The National Library of Russia236

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Most Beautiful Libraries in the World 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
mstrust on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Full of big color photos that make you feel like you're standing in the room. Some of them are centerfolds!This heavy book also has lots of history of the libraries featured, such as owners and how they began, dates of the buildings and restorations, etc. But it's all about the photos here, which is book porn at it's finest.I first saw this book on a visit to Manhattan where it was at the gift shop of the Fifth Ave. branch, which is glorious and of course, one of the libraries in the book.
Zmrzlina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing coffeetable book that will not leave my coffeetable. I've not been to many of these libraries because most are European, but of the three US ones, I've been to them all...Library of Congress, New York Public Library and Boston Athenaeum.
shawnd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This coffee table book should amaze book lovers and give a physical reaction to library lovers. The pictures--and the paper of the pages--are very high quality technically. The book includes a number of foldouts where the picture spans three page size spaces. And the libraries are amazing. I have looked at this book over and over, and for a long time took up valuable 'real estate' on my desk having this book open to one or other libraries. Some of the pictures are jaw-dropping and make one feel like they were setting their feet in the room right then...or traveling back in time one or two hundred years to hear chairs scraping or footfalls.The drawback to the book includes a) the libraries are all in the Western world (Russia is perhaps the only exception), which is perhaps not an issue except that the title is the Most Beautiful Libraries in the World. I have to imagine there are South American (all the beautiful wood in the continent can't have avoided going to bookshelves); Asian and other geographic libraries outside of Europe and the US; b) the libraries seem chosen for a mix of reasons, and one of which seems to be the statuary and art in the library itself. While the pictures are breathtaking, some library denizens might be interested in these factors playing less of a role; and c) the elegant text seems to meander into some 'interesting facts' about each library but most of the comments are historical or art-historical, without the interesting information about collection sizes, who uses the library today, what role does it play in the culture, etc.
Big_Bang_Gorilla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being a coffee-table book illustrating a good selection of libraries, mostly European, with emphasis on interior photographs of the books and decoration. As such, it is a good book. I would like to have seen more contemporary libraries; too many people don't realize that they can be very beautiful as well. The worst omission, though, is the near-absence of exterior views; surely with so much supererogation going on indoors, a couple of more architectural pictures would have been worth the space and broadened the audience for this nice book.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting read that shows different libraries. The pictures were especially good. It makes you want to see those libraries mentioned in the book. If you're looking for book related books, then this is for you.