Infographic Designed By USC
Libraries have long been associated with learning. Throughout the ages, libraries have played an integral role in education and development, with institutions across the world benefiting visitors searching for information, guidance, or simply a safe place to meet and learn. This infographic provides a fascinating tour of some of the world’s most famous libraries.
The US is blessed with hundreds of libraries, but there are two buildings that steal the show. The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, dates back to 1800 and it houses a vast collection of artifacts and books. The map department alone boasts more than 5 million pieces, the most famous of which is Martin Waldseemuler’s world map of 1507. This Washington landmark now houses the research wing of the US Congress. Moving to Philadelphia, visitors flock to the Library Company of Philadelphia, which was established by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. The library’s collection of over 2,000 personal items owned by its founder is a highlight for many.
The history of the library dates back to the 7th Century BC when the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal was built in Nineveh. This is the earliest library on record, and reports suggest that it contained around 30,000 artifacts. When the city was toppled, the library lay buried for over 2,000 years.
Moving forward in time, the British Library forged a reputation as one of the most important institutions on the planet. Although relatively modern compared to many of the other libraries featured in the infographic, this library is famed for its diverse collections. If you were to layout every book, you would need 389 miles of shelves.
The most recent addition to the world-famous library list is Tokyo’s unique Musashino Art University Library. Built-in 2010, the brief was to create a simplistic, understated library that showcased its collection using basic wooden shelves and glass walls.