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10 Most Valuable Libraries in the World


A library is a building that houses tons of books and reference materials, typically dating back to Ye Olde Pre-Internet Times. There are all kinds of libraries around the world, big or small, with simple designs or complex and unique ones. And then there are the most interesting and charming libraries of them all. Those are the ones everyone would love to visit at least once in their lifetime. In this post, we’ll take you through the list of the 10 most valuable libraries in the world.

There are dozens of libraries with architectural masterpieces that are fascinating to behold. Some others house all kinds of books around the world. In most cases, the rarest books could be found in these libraries. Each one is home to a unique collection of the world’s knowledge and history. You’ll definitely love spending a day in any of these libraries!

Books will never go extinct, so, libraries will continue to exist while also incorporating digital books onto their shelves. The world is home to a wide variety of libraries, big and small, with straightforward or intricate architecture.

Ride with us as we take you through the list of the most expensive libraries in the world. This list is compiled based on the cost of construction of these libraries, the books collection, and the amount it will cost you to access these libraries.


Library of Congress: 10 most valuable libraries in the world

The Library of Congress (LOC) is the oldest federal cultural institution in the U.S. It’s also the largest library in the world for shelf space and number of volumes. The LOC holds 150 million items including books, manuscripts, and a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. It adds about 10,000 items each day and its bookshelves have a total length of 838 miles.

LOC also houses one of only four perfect vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible in the world. Gutenberg Bible is one of the most expensive books ever sold in the world. The LOC even archives tweets. By January 2013, it had reportedly catalogued 170 billion of them

The library is open to the public for on-site research and as a tourist attraction. However, only members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and other specified government officials can check out books. The library is formally known as the “library of last resort” in the U.S., charged with making certain items available to other national libraries if all other means have been exhausted.

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most valuable libraries in the world

The Vatican Library under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome is one of the oldest and largest libraries in the world. Although it wasn’t legally founded until 1475, it has existed since the fourth century. The library currently holds more than 1.6 million books, 75,000 manuscripts, and over 8,500 incunabula. It is home to several important medieval writings as well as the first complete copy of the Bible.

The largest collection of historical writings is found at the Vatican Library. It has existed in some form since the early days of the Catholic Church. The 52 miles of shelving in the Secret Archives hold the complete records of the Church’s activities since 1198.


 Oxford's Renowned Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library is one of the most valuable libraries in the world. Established in 1602 as Oxford University’s library, Bodleian is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. The library houses more than 11 million items, including many of historical importance: four copies of the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, and Shakespeare’s First Folio. Radcliffe Camera was built in 1737-1749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.

The earliest circular library in England, Radcliffe has outlasted its 15 minutes of fame by appearing in multiple films, including Young Sherlock Holmes, The Saint, The Red Violin, and The Golden Compass.


Boston Public Library

Established in 1848, Boston Public Library was the first publicly supported library in the United States. With its present collection of 24 million items, it is also the second-largest library in the US. The library has different branches with the most important one being the Central Library situated in Copley Square in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.

Its collections include medieval manuscripts, early Shakespeare, colonial Boston records, and a major Daniel Defoe collection. It is home to the libraries of several notable figures in American history, including John Adams, William Lloyd Garrison, and Nathaniel Bowditch.

Boston Public Library is one of the most valuable libraries in the world with great importance to history.


Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt is one of the most valuable libraries in the world

The Library of Alexandria was built in the 3rd century BC by the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt. It was sadly destroyed in a fire over 2,000 years ago and was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The modern Alexandrian library is a monument to the accomplishments of its ancient forerunner and a significant repository for Arabic and French writings.

The Library was rebuilt in 2002 at a cost of $220 million, and it currently serves as a library as well as a cultural center, planetarium, lab for restoring manuscripts, art gallery and exhibition space, museum, and conference center.

The Library of Alexandria was the largest and most complete library in the ancient world. Currently, the library possesses more than 500,000 books, but it has space for over eight million.


 Yale's Beinecke Library: 10 most valuable libraries in the world

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is one of the biggest rare book libraries in the world, housed within a Modernist cube on the Yale campus. . About 100,000 books are housed in the library’s central glass stack tower. It also houses one of the 48 extant copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

The Yale library is evidence that you shouldn’t always go by the cover of the book. The structure is a huge, unsightly slab of concrete. though inside? one of the greatest collections of its sort in the world, a beautiful collection of rare books.

To prevent bookworms, every new text that the library receives is frozen at -33F for three days. Then the books are enclosed in glass, which, in case of a fire, are flooded with Halon 1301 and fire suppressant gases.


Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart

The Stuttgart municipal library was designed by Korean architect Young Yi and is located in the city’s Mailänder Platz. Its openness to people of all nations is symbolized by inscriptions in English, Korean, German, Arabic, and Turkish on the outer walls. The word “Library” in silver letters is in English on the west wall, in German on the north, in Korean on the East, and in Arabic on the south.
The building is a grey cube on the outside but glows blue in the evening, displaying the architectural masterpiece. It is one of the most valuable libraries in the world.


Saint Catherine's Monastery: 10 most valuable libraries in the world

Catherine’s Monastery was built in the 6th century in South Sinai and is one of the oldest and still running Christian monasteries in the world. The library holds valuable codices and manuscripts written in the old times in such languages as Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Hebrew, Georgian, and Aramaic. It also holds as well icons, mosaics, and priceless liturgical objects.

The building itself is a piece of history. It supposedly houses the Burning Bush—the divine topiary spotted by Moses. It also stores the second largest collection of early manuscripts and codices anywhere.

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Bibliothèque Nationale de France | library, Paris, France | Britannica

Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris was one of the largest libraries in the world until it got expanded and became even larger, and has books covering all fields of knowledge.
the library was completed in 1996 and replaced the old building. It boasts a collection of 15 million books and other items and 1,150,000 visits in 2021. The design is quite interesting, with four towers in the shape of open books built around a courtyard.


Top 10 Most Valuable Libraries in the World

The Trinity College College Library is the largest library in Ireland and has a gigantic collection of around 6 million books, including the renowned Book of Kells. The library serves both Trinity College and the University of Dublin. The Old Library, which Thomas Burgh designed, is unquestionably the most admired of the library’s several structures.

Built between 1712 and 1732, it has a 65-meter-long main chamber known as the Long Room, which holds more than 200,000 of the Library’s oldest works. The Long Room originally featured a flat ceiling, rare volumes on the lower level, and an open gallery, but because the Library was permitted to get a free copy of any book produced in Great Britain and Ireland, it was forced to convert the space. The Trinity Library is one of the most valuable and largest libraries in the world.


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