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18 of the most beautiful libraries in the world

 State Library of New South Wales

Photo: Christopher Chan/Flickr

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12. State Library of New South Wales, Australia

The State Library of New South Wales (NSW) is the oldest library in Australia. In 1869, the NSW government purchased the 1926 Australian Subscription Library to form the Sydney Free Public Library, the first truly public library for the area; it then became the State Library. Perhaps the most famous part of the library is the Mitchell Wing (pictured here), which was completed in 1910. Named for David Scott Mitchell who bequeathed his books to the library, the collection includes the original journals of James Cook. The library now contains more than 5 million items, including 2 million books and more than 1 million photographs.