Celebrate National Library Week with the Best Libraries of Yore!

3 min read

By Melissa Rayner

Libraries mean so much to so many people. For me, personally, the library represents a place of belonging and comfort, a place of endless possibilities, and a dream. My mother took me to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in theaters for my seventh birthday. Being that I was always a shy, imaginative child, books had already become my best friends and most constant of companions by then. So, it should be no surprise that my young heart fell irrevocably in love with the Beast the moment he gifted Belle his colossal castle library.

In the more than 20 years since my first viewing of this film, my dream has not wavered once. I still crave that library for myself, and I’m still searching for the perfect house┬áthat has just the right layout–and more than enough space–to integrate a huge home library.

To honor National Library Week (a holiday of the utmost importance in my book!), I’d like to share a series of other dream-making libraries. Like Belle’s, some of them do live within castles, others reside in government quarters, and still others are closed to the public. I’ve scoured Gale’s historical archives via Gale Artemis: Primary Sources in order to find the most luxurious and the most special libraries, and now I’d like to share them with you. Enjoy!

Let’s start with a posh library standing right next to a posh hotel. Now that’s how you travel in style!

library and hotel

Rare, antique books and cool, twisty staircases. I need to go here!

antique library

A fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and my own set of cherubs? Sold!

library cherubs

Is my own royal library an option?

library royal

Wait… If I could somehow get elected president, then they’d have to build me my own library.


As it turns out, the British Raj had some of the most beautiful libraries history has to offer.

library india

Then again, nothing beats a cute and cushy home library…

library study

And, last but certainly not least, let’s not forget how much the librarian offers to those of us with Belle syndrome. C’mon, I know I’m not alone in this!

Library Profession



Melissa for Caricature (2)About the Author

Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.







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