These 20 Libraries Around the World Look Like a Harry Potter Set
“With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” mused Oscar Wilde. Indeed, the simplest of life’s pleasures are often our most sacred. Like the feeling of wiling away an afternoon with no plan...
“With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” mused Oscar Wilde. Indeed, the simplest of life’s pleasures are often our most sacred. Like the feeling of wiling away an afternoon with no plan or watching your favorite movie series on repeat, libraries will always hold a special kind of magic. Magic, say, found in a beloved novel series turned record breaking movie series such as Harry Potter. From libraries that look like they are straight from Hogwarts to modern day libraries that could be from a futuristic spin off, here’s 20 beautiful libraries from around the world to be both magically lost… and found in. Brace yourselves, your week is about to be lit…erary.

Reporter: Katie Bush | Location:  Carturesti Carusel
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Tianjin Binhai Library
Tianjin, China

Photo by harimaolee
If what lies within a library sparks endless inspiration, imagine if the building itself was just as extraordinary? As if there weren’t already enough reasons to go to China, a visit to the impossibly beautiful and futuristic Tianjin Binhai Library should certainly be on your book bucket list. Open as of 2017, it’s an architectural masterpiece featuring a luminous spherical auditorium around which floor-to-ceiling bookcases gently cascade like waves.
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Carturesti Carusel
Bucharest, Romania

With six literary levels to its name, Cărturești Carusel bookstore, located in Bucharest within a 19th-century building, is a beautiful representation of the old and new of Romanian culture. It’s a space for reading and socializing and includes a bistro, a media space and a gallery dedicated to contemporary art. It was designed to have a rhythm and symmetry around a center luminary much like a carousel for which it was named.
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Trinity College Library
Dublin, Ireland

Photo by maird_
A visit to the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin feels like being on a literary cruise aboard a sumptuous, centuries-old, cavernous ship bound for anywhere and everywhere. The library was built between 1712 and 1732 and the Long Room is 65 meters high, filled with 200,000 of the library’s oldest books and accented by a long line of marble busts of great writers and philosophers.
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Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany

Photo by Louis Dachsel
Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart looks like a modern, polished jewel box holding all the books of Stuttgart in it’s secret compartments. By day the exterior of the library is grey but by night it glows an iridescent blue. Besides the literary light show, the exterior is meant to feel closed off. Upon entering, it’s meant to feel like an open new world of intellectual and cultural ideas for people of every nation.
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Stift Admont
Admont, Austria

Photo by Allie Provost
Stift Admont library is the world’s largest Abbey library, awash in European baroque design, finished in 1776 and utterly magnificent. With tomes dating back to 8th century AD, it’s safe to say there’s history written in it’s bones as well as in its books.
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Stadsbiblioteket i Malmö
Malmö, Sweden

From specific angles, Stadsbiblioteket i Malmö library in Sweden looks like a futuristic colony for the studious and the storytellers. With multiple levels of precision-perfect matching cubes for study, gleaming white accents and glistening glass walls, its warmth comes from the rows upon rows of bookshelves and quietly curved booths, facing each other, for discussion and idea exchange.
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Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Montréal, Canada

Photo by Marty
A true cultural information hub, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec seeks to preserve and disseminate the documentary heritage of Quebec. What makes it so utterly unmissable besides its contents is the delicate, contemporary design – a restoration that was the result of an international architectural competition, the first to be held in Quebec.
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Livraria Lello
Porto, Portugal

Photo by Julia Vlasova
Livraria Lello is a bookstore located in Porto, standing stately as of 1881 when brothers Jose and Antonio Lello opened an establishment dedicated to the “commerce and edition of books.” If you understand style to mean “too much is never enough” then Livraria Lello will speak to your soul. The architecture is neo-gothic combined with art nouveau and a dash of art deco. The most striking feature is the bright red staircase, set directly in the middle of the bookstore, that serves as a wonderful foil to the warm wood of the numerous bookshelves.
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Maison de La Littérature
Quebec City, Canada

Maison de La Littérature is located in Quebec City and housed in the former Wesley Temple. It is a luminous modern library in shades of gleaming white and a must-visit for any bibliophile. Dedicated to the public, it includes writing cabinets, a comic studio, a creative studio, a writers' residence, a “salon of quietude” and rotating programming throughout the year.
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Law Library at Iowa State Capitol
Des Moines, Iowa

Photo by Zach Houghton
While this list has been marked by glamorous cities around the globe, the most surprising next stop is in Iowa, right in the heartland of America. The Law Library at Iowa State Capital is physically grand and ornate with spiral staircases, marble wainscoting and chandeliers housing a highly specialized legal collection of both state and federal statutory, regulatory, and case law.
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Ler Devagar
Lisbon, Portugal

Ler Devagar (“read slowly”) bookstore in Lisbon is a luscious, literary feast for the senses. Housed in a former printing warehouse called LX Factory, it isn’t simply a bookstore, but a gathering place for concerts, exhibitions and events. It’s also home to two bars, thousands of books, cozy nooks and a rotation of music and performance artists.
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Municipal Law Library
Munich, Germany

Photo by ss0522
If you’ve ever wanted to get lost in a Gothic Revival-style magical forest of books, the Municipal Law Library in Germany is your literary woodland. The interior resembles a bright and warm forest with the railing on the great spiral staircase rendered as vines and leaves while the light fixtures repeat the same motif. While it is a law library as the name suggests, it’s open to the public and worth a visit, if not simply to lose yourself amid the volumes and vines.
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Biblioteca Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Photo by floboniface
The Biblioteca Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (or Portuguese Royal Library) is the largest and most valuable library of works by Portuguese authors outside of Portugal. Its collection, fully digitized, is around 350,000 volumes. For a real book lover’s treat in the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro, visit the library’s Royal Reading Room. Mostly ignored by the majority of tourist itineraries, it’s a beautiful spot to soak in Portuguese culture and architectural beauty.
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Library at Orchard

Photo by Zach Houghton
Like finding yourself on a small, perfect isle in the middle of the sea, the Library at Orchard is tucked discreetly into a bustling shopping mall in the heart of Singapore. Named for the undulating design of the book shelves, it quite fittingly is centered on lifestyle, design and the arts. This beautiful space is a lovely port in the proverbial storm of busy Singaporean life touting an anthem that “design is for everyone.”
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Boston Public Library
Boston, Massachusetts

Photo by Brian Pu Ruiz
The Boston Public Library has a certain magic in its majestic, barrel arched ceilings as well as some of the finest, rarest works in the world housed within its walls. What started of humble, schoolhouse beginnings in 1848 grew to amass 23 million books including original folios by William Shakespeare, original scores by Mozart and the personal library of John Adams.
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Joe and Rika Mansueto Library
Chicago, Illinois

Photo by Israel Reza
If books are seen as an antiquated medium, then a visit to the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is a must to turn this sentiment on its head. Opened on the University of Chicago’s campus in 2011, it features a soaring elliptical glass dome capping a 180-seat Grand Reading Room. In addition, The Mansueto Library retrieves materials within an average time of 3 minutes through use of robotic cranes.
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Rijksmuseum Research Library
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Much like the history so beautifully preserved within its walls, the Rijksmuseum Research Library is itself a living work of art. Delicate iron railings and spiral staircases lead to and from multiple levels of books, bathed in the loveliest natural light from the large glass domed ceiling. The library is dedicated to preserving Dutch art and history while providing services to assist readers and researchers alike.
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Seattle Public Library
Seattle, Washington

Photo by Zach Houghton
The Seattle Public Library is a beautiful testament to the idea that a library isn’t simply a place for housing books but an information hub where all forms of media are celebrated. As such, it’s organized in an innovative way, the Books Spiral. In lieu of the flatness of floors, the library’s programs are arranged across five platforms and four flowing "in between" planes, which together dictate the building's distinctive geometric shape.
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George Peabody Library
Baltimore, Maryland

Photo by Zach Houghton
The George Peabody Library is a literal love letter to the soul of every book stored within its walls. It’s housed within the world-renowned Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore, Maryland and while it is a working research library, it is also the most beautiful place for a bibliophile bride to be wed. Whether you choose to host a luncheon for 40, a seated dinner for 170 or a reception for 350, the very grand feels very intimate. Picture classic black and white floors lit by an array of twinkling lights and surrounded by 300,000 volumes of books, sure to give any gathering a historic heartbeat.
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Bibliothèque Nationale de France - Richelieu Library
Paris, France

Is it any surprise the Parisian library tasked with preserving French heritage is an opus to the extraordinary? The Bibliothèque Nationale de France dates back to 1666 under the direction of Colbert as a tool to praise Louis XIV. Today, the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France are housed in two different places: the François-Mitterrand Library and the Richelieu Library. While all of it is a treasure trove of literary goodness, it is the Labrouste Hall, located within the Richelieu Library, that is a true must see. Think light-colored marble with red round cabochons, hunter green accents, stone-covered walls and ceiling carvings inlaid with polished marble disks.

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