The Best Library in Every State
No disrespect to your e-reader or anything, but nothing beats curling up with an actual book. There’s just something about the smell of dusty pages, the crack of a new spine and a bookshelf filled with old favorites. Not to mention how a real book will never run out of batteries. Even better? Get yourself a library card and the cost of a new read is totally free. Here, the best library in every state where you’ll definitely want to get lost in the stacks.
Alabama: Ben May Main Library
This stately white edifice opened in Mobile in 1928 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Alaska: The Homer Public Library
A sleek and modern design using local materials allows for plenty of natural light.
Arizona: Scottsdale Public Library
Inspired by the surrounding landscape, sloping terra-cotta stone walls reflect the canyons of northern Arizona.
Arkansas: The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library
This Little Rock learning center features books, a teaching kitchen, a vegetable garden and a greenhouse for young minds.
California: Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego
This quirky San Diego library is named after one of the city’s most famous residents—Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.
Colorado: Crested Butte Library
Surrounded by craggy mountaintops, this sandstone beauty was originally built in 1883 as a schoolhouse.
Connecticut: The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University
Translucent marble windows and a six-story glass tower make this one impressive library indeed. Oh, and there’s a sunken sculpture garden.
Delaware: The Wilmington Public Library
Check out that ornate molding on this historical landmark.
Florida: The Gulf Gate Library
Not just a place for books, this library is a welcoming community space with reading gardens, a storytime room for kids, conference rooms and a technology lab.
Georgia: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Gallery at the University of Georgia
This impressive brick structure houses maps, photographs, books and manuscripts—some dating all the way back to the 15th century.
Hawaii: Hawaii State Library
Did you know that the Hawaii State Public Library System is the only statewide public library system in the country?
Idaho: Coeur D’Alene Public Library, Idaho
Even the name sounds beautiful. Add in the stunning lake vistas and we’re in reading paradise.
Illinois: Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch
This sleek and modern design is inspired by its surroundings and based on Feng Shui principles. The glass exterior is meant to evoke a gleaming lantern at night.
Indiana: Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame
The iconic mural on the library’s facade is nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus,” thanks to its location right behind the school’s football stadium end zone.
Iowa: Iowa State Law Library
This gorgeous spiral staircase can be found in the capitol building in Des Moines.
Kansas: Lawrence Public Library
This modern glass, wood and concrete structure won the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award (basically the Oscars of library design).
Kentucky: Louisville Free Public Library
The Southwest Regional Library branch of the Louisville Library System features a striking wooden facade, 35-foot-tall light towers and plenty of space to curl up with a good book.
Louisiana: East Baton Rouge Parish Library
This high-tech library is all about smart, environmentally friendly design like the sloped roof that catches rainwater to feed surrounding plants and a recycled-paper waterfall spanning three floors.
Maine: Portland Public Library
A large, glass facade gives this library plenty of natural light.
Maryland: The George Peabody Library
Oh hello, cast-iron railings and ginormous skylight. Is it any wonder this library is considered one of the most beautiful in the country?
Massachusetts: Boston Public Library
The second largest library in the U.S. (after the Library of Congress), this giant beauty holds an impressive 23 million items. And the Rome-inspired courtyard isn’t half bad, either.
Michigan: The University of Michigan Law Library
The 50-foot vaulted ceiling, gleaming chandeliers and stained-glass windows give this Gothic structure a very Hogwarts-esque look, don’t you think?
Minnesota: Minneapolis Central Library
Clear walkways, glass elevators and a lack of interior load-bearing walls make this library open and airy.
Mississippi: Mississippi Library Commission Headquarters
This building made from natural materials is perfectly located for getting stuck inside a good fairy-tale—beautiful woods surround the entire library.
Missouri: Kansas City Public Library
A larger-than-life bookshelf on this building’s exterior features books like Catch-22, Charlotte’s Web and Silent Spring.
Montana: Billings Public Library
This sustainable building is all about light and transparency.
Nebraska: Nebraska State Library
This Lincoln landmark is the oldest library in the state and boasts a painted mural, high-domed ceilings and secret doors...oooo, mysterious.
Nevada: Prim Library at Sierra Nevada College
This cabin in the woods is giving us major cozy vibes.
New Hampshire: The Phillips Exeter Academy Library
Just look at those circles.
New Jersey: The Firestone Library
With more than 70 miles of bookshelves, Firestone Library at Princeton University is one of the largest open-stack libraries in the world and has more books per enrolled student than that of any other university in the U.S.
New Mexico: The Farmington Public Library
The design of this curved reading center was inspired by Navajo Nation architecture.
New York: The New York Public Library
The marble, the high ceilings, the lions guarding the outside—the main branch of the city’s libraries is a must-see for any visitor to the Big Apple.
North Carolina: James B. Hunt Library
Located in Raleigh, this sleek and modern learning center boasts 220,000 square feet of space for books and reading.
North Dakota: North Dakota State Library
Why have two stately columns when you can have eight?
Ohio: William Oxley Thompson Library
The exterior may look traditional, but a recent three-year renovation transformed the interior into an ultra-sleek and high-tech facility.
Oklahoma: The Bizzell Memorial Library
This Oklahoma University study haven features red brick, oversize windows and a handsome clock tower.
Oregon: Ashland Public Library
Complete with mountain views, natch.
Pennsylvania: Fisher Fine Arts Library
Recognize the red brick interior? The library was featured in the 1993 Oscar-winning movie Philadelphia.
Rhode Island: Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design
Would you expect anything less from a school of such good taste?
South Carolina: The Thomas Cooper library
Who wouldn’t want to hit the books by this serene water fountain?
South Dakota: Hot Springs Public Library
This wood cabin is filled with books and surrounded by beauty.
Tennessee: Nashville Bellevue Library
Got enough books on your reading list? Enjoy one of the beautiful walking paths or public art displays at this library instead.
Texas: McAllen Public Library
Can you believe this library used to be a Walmart?
Utah: Salt Lake City Public Library
Five stories of glass, a rooftop garden and 360-degree views of the city? Not too shabby.
Vermont: St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and Public Library
Home to one of the country’s oldest art galleries (and a whole lot of wood).
Virginia: Slover Public Library
This striking Norfolk building is all sleek lines and modern design.
Washington: Seattle Central Library
This city landmark’s unique design includes 11 stories of glass and steel and a “book spiral”—four floors of book stacks connected by ramps so that visitors can browse the library’s collection without using the stairs.
West Virginia: West Virginia University Library
This Morgantown campus library almost makes us wish that we were students again. Almost.
Wisconsin: Milwaukee Public Library
Back in 1878, a national competition was held to choose the design for the Milwaukee Public Library and out of the 74 entries received (including one from Frank Lloyd Wright), this was the one selected.
Wyoming: Sublette County Library
Country chic at its finest.