University California Los Angeles Campus UCLA Powell Library Students
Powell Library at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Libraries are spaces specifically for learning and may have a nasty association for students with all-nighters and test cramming.

However, libraries can also inspire a student's love of knowledge or help introduce them to a new subject. We've compiled a list of the coolest college libraries across the country, highlighting both traditional and modern marvels.

Many of these buildings are iconic structures on their campuses, and have housed generations of studying students. Others were built more recently, and show how technology can shape the future of education.

University of California, San Diego — Geisel Library

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UCSD's main library is named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss — who donated to the library throughout their lifetimes.

The Geisels were long-time residents of La Jolla, the San Diego, Calif. neighborhood that includes UCSD.

Geisel Library Interior

Courtesy of UC San Diego

Boston College — Bapst Library


Each room in Bapst Library has a distinctive stained-glass theme, with window designs covering everything from epic poetry to natural sciences.

The political science section, for instance, features glass designs representing Plato, Benjamin Franklin, and the political economy.

Bapst Library Interior

Gary Wayne Gilbert/Boston College

University of Chicago — Joe and Rika Mansueto Library

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Perhaps the most striking aspect of Mansueto Library is the giant glass dome that encloses the building's main study space.

Underground, the library employs a high-tech storage system, using a robotic crane to quickly retrieve any requested material.

Joe and Rika Mansueto Library Interior


Yale University — Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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Beinecke Library is one of the largest buildings in the world used exclusively for rare books and manuscripts, housing about 500,000 volumes and several million manuscripts.

Among the most prominent books in Beinecke's collection is a complete Gutenberg Bible, which is kept on permanent display in the building's lobby.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Interior

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Baylor University — Armstrong Browning Library

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A research library with a focus on 19th-century literature, Armstrong Browning houses the largest collection of Victorian poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The library has become a popular wedding venue, and the walls of one room are adorned with gold leaf renderings of the Brownings' love poems.

Armstrong Browning Library Interior

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Johns Hopkins University — George Peabody Library

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Housed as a part of the Peabody Institute conservatory in Baltimore, the Peabody Library is a research facility with strengths in documents from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Designed by 19th-century architect Edmund Lind, Peabody is still an active library and is also a popular Baltimore-area wedding venue.

George Peabody Library Interior

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North Carolina State University — James B. Hunt Jr. Library

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The newest library on our list, Hunt first opened its doors in January 2013.

The state of the art science library features a robotics book retrieval system that can access up to 2 million volumes, as well as two 3-D printers.

James B. Hunt Jr. Library Interior

AP Photo/Allen Breed

University of Washington — Suzzallo Library

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Suzzallo Library is the main library for UW and makes up one of the borders of Red Square, a central campus hub.

Terra-cotta figures adorn the library's facade, including images of Moses, William Shakespeare, and Adam Smith.

Suzzallo Library Interior

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University of Pennsylvania — Fisher Fine Arts Library

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Originally built in the late 19th century as UPenn's primary library, Fisher is now the university's art library, with collections including architecture, historic preservation, and art history.

Fisher was designed by Philadelphia-based Victorian architect Frank Furness and is a National Historic Landmark.

Fisher Fine Arts Library Interior

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Lehigh University — Linderman Library

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Designed by Philadelphia architect Addison Hutton in the 1870s, Linderman Library has undergone several major renovations to add study and storage space in the ensuing decades.

Linderman's rare book collection houses copies of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" and James John Audubon's four volume "Birds of America."

Linderman Library Interior

Christa Neu, Lehigh University

Princeton University — Lewis Library

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The Frank Gehry-designed library features a reading room known as The Treehouse due to its tree-top views of the Princeton campus.

Located around many of the school's science buildings, Lewis is supposedly designed to reflect interdisciplinary scientific fields.

Lewis Library Interior

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University of California, Los Angeles — Powell Library

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Constructed in the 1920s, Powell Library was one of the original four buildings that made up UCLA in the school's early years.

Notably, the dome in the main reading room features designs identifying various famous printing houses from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Powell Library Interior

Stephanie Diani/UCLA

Loyola University Chicago — Klarchek Information Commons

Via Loyola University Chicago

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Information Commons offers breathtaking views of the Great Lake and the surrounding area.

Designed with environmental concerns in mind, the library's layout allows for natural heat and cooling in the building.

Klarchek Information Commons Interior

Via Loyola University Chicago

Cornell University — Uris Library

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Cornell's oldest library, Uris is located at the top of the campus' "Slope" and contains predominately humanities and social sciences materials.

Uris houses a reading room named after the university's first president — Andrew Dickson White — that is better known as the "Harry Potter" library and is a popular study destination.

Uris Library Interior

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University of North Carolina — Wilson Library

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The Wilson Library hosts UNC's special collections and exhibitions, including its North Carolina Collection — the largest set of documents in the country related to a single state.

The library has more than 170,000 books and 110,000 pamphlets related to North Carolina in their collection.

Wilson Library Interior

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University of Michigan — Law Library

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Open to all students, Michigan's law library is located on the university's central campus and is known for its Gothic architecture.

The library has specific strengths in collections related to Native Americans and early American court reports, among other topics, and has several documents from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Law Library Interior

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Want to see some more beautiful colleges?

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