The 10 Best University Libraries in the U.S., Ranked
Remember all those late-night, coffee-fueled study sessions spent in your college library? Ahh, memories. These days, students are more likely to do their research from the comfort of, well, anywhere they want (thanks, internet), but we say that these ten architectural stunners are worth a cram-sesh (or at least a visit). Here, the prettiest university libraries in the U.S.
10. Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design
It’s no surprise that an arts school boasts such an elegant study center, but what is unexpected is that when RISD students say they “live at the library,” they actually mean it—the third through 11th floors of this gorgeous building contain dorm rooms.
9. Harper Memorial Library at the University of Chicago
Named after the school’s first president, this grand old dame was built in 1912 and inspired by the lofty buildings in Oxford and Cambridge (and possibly Hogwarts).
8. Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego
This spaceship-like structure is named after Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel—yep, none other than Dr. Seuss. (The couple were longtime residents of the neighborhood.) Hey, the design may be a little quirky, but as Dr. Seuss said himself: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
7. Bapst Art Library at Boston College
Dating back to 1925, this stained-glass structure with a vaulted ceiling and was named after BC’s first president, Reverend John Bapst. The main library on campus until 1993, it’s now devoted entirely to art with more than 51,000 books, manuscripts and other works on the subject, as well as student artwork.
6. Senator John Pinto Library at Diné College
This beautiful curved structure was built in 2010 and designed to reflect Navajo traditions. Light bulbs are arranged to look like constellations inside and there’s a calming blue glass storytelling room in the building’s center. The library serves 2,000 students across 26,000 square miles through Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
5. Uris Library at Cornell University
With its stained glass windows and three tiers of wrought iron stacks plus an impressive 8 million printed volumes, it’s no wonder that this gorgeous library made the list
4. Nicholas Murray Butler Library at Columbia University
This imposing Gothic structure in New York’s Morningside Heights features an arcade of 14 columns inscribed with the names of great writers and thinkers. Hit the books here and who knows? Maybe you could be the next Shakespeare or Sophocles.
3. Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington
There’s a whole lot of beauty on the “U Dub” campus (Mount Rainier in the background? Swoon), and the college’s Gothic library is no exception. We guarantee that studying in the cathedral-like reading room is better than cramming in your local coffee shop (no matter how good Seattle’s coffee is).
2. Beinecke Library at Yale University
Researchers and scholars from around the world come to visit this impressive library that’s devoted exclusively to rare books and manuscripts. Highlights include the glass tower found in the center and a Gutenberg Bible (ya know, just one of the first books printed with the Gutenberg press) on display in the lobby.
1. George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University
Skylight + cast iron + black and white marble = library perfection. This beauty was built in 1866, and happily you don’t have to live in a dorm in order to enjoy it (it’s open to the public per the wishes of Mr. Peabody himself, an American entrepreneur).