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Places to Go Before You Die: Book Lover's Version

by: 
Molly, Golden Library Teen Advisory Board Member

As I am sure you all have seen lists of travel destinations to which everyone ought to go before death, I felt it would be apropos to compile a list of not any place to go before you die, but a collection of libraries to see.

1.Library of Congress, Washington D.C. - This institution boasts more than 155 million items, print materials in 460 languages, the largest rare book collection in North America, and the largest collection of films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings in the world.

2.New York Public Library, New York City - If you like history, the building was constructed with money from Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate in the election of 1876 that ended Reconstruction. And, President William Howard Taft helped to dedicate it, so it is just BURSTING with historical connections. The library also displays the Gutenberg Bible, the earliest known copy of the “Nican Mopohua” and contains manuscripts from 1,200 languages and dialects.

3.Salt Lake City Public Library - This is among the more modern of the bunch, and actually opened in 2003. It is six stories tall, featuring a 300-seat auditorium and a multi-level reading area full of natural light (as opposed to those sad fluorescent bulbs you all have in your school classrooms).

4.Geisel Library, University of California: San Diego - As if the architecture were not awesome enough, this library is where the university’s art collection is housed.

5.Seattle Central Public Library - This 11-floor building features a “books spiral” that displays the entire nonfiction collection in a continuous run. If has a towering “living room” along Fifth Avenue that reaches 50 feet in height, and let’s be honest, the building just looks cool.

6.Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland - This library dates back to 1592 and houses more than 5 million items.

7.Abbey Library, St. Gallen, Switzerland - The institution is the oldest library in Switzerland and has a collection of manuscripts all the way from the Early Middle ages until 1805.

8.Vatican Library, Vatican City - Saving the best for last, I’d like to think of the Vatican Library (pictured above) as a bit of a challenge to any readers. The admission criteria only allows in researchers, teachers, graduate students and scholars. You are pretty special if you get to check out these collections!

(Thank you to ABC News Explore for a lot of this information. Photo courtesy of Michal Osmenda through fotopedia.com)