The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World
The college library, whether ornate or modern, digital or dusty, is in many ways the epicenter of the college experience — at least for some students. It is at once a shining emblem of vast, acquirable knowledge, a place for deep discussions and meetings of the mind, and of course, a big building full of books, which, as far as we’re concerned, is exciting enough. Colleges and universities are understandably quite proud of their libraries, which can be a selling point for prospective students and donating alumni alike, and they often become the most well-designed and beautifully adorned buildings on campus. To that end, and perhaps to inspire your studies a bit, we’ve collected a few of the most beautiful college and university libraries in the world, from Portugal to France to Boston. Did your alma mater’s library make the list? Or did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.
Housed in the historic Powell Library building, the Powell (College) Library has been an inspiration for students since 1929, when the original 137,000-square-foot structure was built in 1929. One of the first two buildings on UCLA’s Westwood campus, Powell Library was constructed in an adaptation of the Lombardian type of Italian Romanesque architecture. Moorish touches were added to the design to reflect the extensive Spanish influence in the history of Southern California. Throughout the building many symbols of truth, wisdom, and knowledge can be found: the griffin, the caduceus, the serpent, the owl of wisdom, Alladin’s lamp, and the pine cone. Below the first landing on the main staircase is a mosaic which shows two men holding a book bearing the legend, from Cicero’s Pro Archia, “Haec studia adulescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant…” (“These studies stimulate the young, divert the old.”)
Powell Library is named after Lawrence Clark Powell, who was UCLA’s University Librarian from 1944-1961.