Colleges with the most magnificent libraries in the United States


In any learning institution, the library is the ultimate learning space available to both students and staff. Libraries provide both the required learning resources and materials plus a peaceful, distraction-free environment. They can also be instruments of inspiration, which is why many colleges across the United States have put a lot of effort and funding into putting up impressive library buildings that attract students. Many of these buildings are iconic structures on campus that add to the school pride.

The best of these libraries can accommodate hundreds of students, store millions of volumes, and are even open 24 hours a day. The most magnificent libraries in the country are a mix of centuries old buildings, some of which have been renovated, and newer modern structures, but they have all incorporated technology into their operations. Some libraries cater to all disciplines, while others are subject-specific. Below are the most magnificent libraries found in colleges across the U.S.

Boston College – Bapst Library.

The Bapst library at Boston College was opened back in 1924. An art library, it’s available to all students at the college, offering about 400 personal study spaces. Its beautiful structural design stands out, and it has been dubbed the “Harry Potter Library” as it bears resemblances to scenes in the movies. All rooms have distinctive stained glass themes, with window designs that cover everything from epic poetry to natural sciences.

University of Washington – Suzzallo Library

This library boasts an elaborate cathedral-style design that took 27 years to complete. The main study area has a high vaulted ceiling, complete with hanging light fixtures. Adorning the library facade overlooking the reading area are stained glass windows with 18 terracotta figures of important people in world history, such as Shakespeare. Large oak bookcases add to its appeal.

Baylor University – Armstrong Browning Library

This is a research oriented library with a strong focus on 19th century literature. There’s a preference for the Victorian poet couple Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, with the largest collection of their works housed there. This is made more evident by the 62 stained-glass windows that display their work. There is even a room in the library in which the walls are adorned with the married couple’s love poems. Other than being an expansive study center, this library has also gained a reputation as a wedding venue.

Yale University – Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

As its name suggests, this library was opened in 1963 with a purpose of housing rare documents not found anywhere else in the world. It is the largest such building worldwide, holding up to 500,000 volumes and millions of manuscripts. The complete Gutenberg Bible is one of the most prominent books found in the collection, and it is displayed in the library lobby.

North Carolina State University – James B. Hunt Library

The James B. Hunt library is quite new, having become operational in 2013. It’s high tech and spacious, with an extensive collection in engineering and sciences. There is a robot retrieval system that can search and deliver requested material from the collection of over two million volumes, within minutes. There is also an expansive modern study space, with 3D printers available.