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20 of the most beautiful libraries in the world

By: Melissa Breyer on Nov. 15, 2017, noon
The entrance to the New York Public Library

Photo: Elisa.rolle [CC by SA-4.0]/Wikimedia Commons

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Beyond words

Libraries are special places. They are the brick-and-mortar repositories of our collective knowledge, and as such, have long been afforded some of the best architecture money can buy. Beyond their often exquisite design — which is enhanced by an abundance of books — are the unique sanctuaries they offer, like cathedrals for readers. While nobody requires a magnificent space to enjoy a good book, the following libraries are nonetheless some of the most beautiful places in the world to revel in the splendors of the written word.

Editor's note: This photo gallery has been updated since it was originally published in April 2014.