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The Best Library In Every State

You’ll definitely want to get lost in the stacks.

09/11/2017 16:29 EDT | Updated 09/14/2017 11:59 EDT

No disrespect to your e-reader or anything, but nothing beats curling up with an actual book. There’s just something about the smell of dusty pages, the crack of a new spine and a bookshelf filled with old favorites. Not to mention how a real book will never run out of batteries. Even better? Get yourself a library card and the cost of a new read is totally free. Here, the best library in every state where you’ll definitely want to get lost in the stacks

Related: 9 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

MOBILE PUBLIC LIBRARY

ALABAMA: BEN MAY MAIN LIBRARY

This stately white edifice opened in Mobile in 1928 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

FRIENDS OF HOMER LIBRARY

ALASKA: THE HOMER PUBLIC LIBRARY

A sleek and modern design using local materials allows for plenty of natural light.

SCOTTSDALE LIBRARY

ARIZONA: SCOTTSDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY

Inspired by the surrounding landscape, sloping terra-cotta stone walls reflect the canyons of northern Arizona.

ARKANSAS BUSINESS

ARKANSAS: THE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON CHILDREN’S LIBRARY

This Little Rock learning center features books, a teaching kitchen, a vegetable garden and a greenhouse for young minds.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO

CALIFORNIA: GEISEL LIBRARY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO

This quirky San Diego library is named after one of the city’s most famous residents — Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.

Related: The 10 Best University Libraries in the U.S., Ranked

MICHAEL SAUERS/FLICKR

COLORADO: CRESTED BUTTE LIBRARY

Surrounded by craggy mountaintops, this sandstone beauty was originally built in 1883 as a schoolhouse.

YALE UNIVERSITY

CONNECTICUT: THE BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY AT YALE UNIVERSITY

Translucent marble windows and a six-story glass tower make this one impressive library indeed. Oh, and there’s a sunken sculpture garden.

MTCURADO/GETTY IMAGES

DELAWARE: THE WILMINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

Check out that ornate molding on this historical landmark.

FRIENDS OF GULF GATE LIBRARY

FLORIDA: THE GULF GATE LIBRARY

Not just a place for books, this library is a welcoming community space with reading gardens, a storytime room for kids, conference rooms and a technology lab.

Related: 27 Things Only People from Florida Will Undertand

VISIT ATHENS

GEORGIA: THE HARGRETT RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT GALLERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

This impressive brick structure houses maps, photographs, books and manuscripts — some dating all the way back to the 15th century.

HAWAII STATE LIBRARY

HAWAII: HAWAII STATE LIBRARY

Did you know that the Hawaii State Public Library System is the only statewide public library system in the country?

Related: The Best Beach in Every Single U.S. State

LEONE KEEBLE

IDAHO: COEUR D’ALENE PUBLIC LIBRARY, IDAHO

Even the name sounds beautiful. Add in the stunning lake vistas and we’re in reading paradise.

CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY/JON MILLER

ILLINOIS: CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY, CHINATOWN BRANCH

This sleek and modern design is inspired by its surroundings and based on Feng Shui principles. The glass exterior is meant to evoke a gleaming lantern at night.

Related: Chicago’s 15 Best Rooftop Bars and Restaurants

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

INDIANA: HESBURGH LIBRARY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

The iconic mural on the library’s facade is nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus,” thanks to its location right behind the school’s football stadium end zone.

JASON MRACHINA/ FLICKR

IOWA: IOWA STATE LAW LIBRARY

This gorgeous spiral staircase can be found in the capitol building in Des Moines.

KRISKNOW/FLICKR

KANSAS: LAWRENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY

This modern glass, wood and concrete structure won the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award (basically the Oscars of library design).

LOUISVILLE.COM

KENTUCKY: LOUISVILLE FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Southwest Regional Library branch of the Louisville Library System features a striking wooden facade, 35-foot-tall light towers and plenty of space to curl up with a good book.

STEVEN S./YELP

LOUISIANA: EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

This high-tech library is all about smart, environmentally friendly design like the sloped roof that catches rainwater to feed surrounding plants and a recycled-paper waterfall spanning three floors.

Related: The 6 Cutest Main Streets in America

PORTLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY

MAINE: PORTLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY

A large, glass facade gives this library plenty of natural light.

BUYENLARGE/GETTY IMAGES

MARYLAND: THE GEORGE PEABODY LIBRARY

Oh hello, cast-iron railings and ginormous skylight. Is it any wonder this library is considered one of the most beautiful in the country?

GREGOBAGEL/GETTY IMAGES

MASSACHUSETTS: BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

The second largest library in the U.S. (after the Library of Congress), this giant beauty holds an impressive 23 million items. And the Rome-inspired courtyard isn’t half bad, either.

JULIE FALK/FLICKR

MICHIGAN: THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LAW LIBRARY

The 50-foot vaulted ceiling, gleaming chandeliers and stained-glass windows give this Gothic structure a very Hogwarts-esque look, don’t you think?

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA LIBRARIES

MINNESOTA: MINNEAPOLIS CENTRAL LIBRARY

Clear walkways, glass elevators and a lack of interior load-bearing walls make this library open and airy.

MISSISSIPPI LIBRARY COMMISSION

MISSISSIPPI: MISSISSIPPI LIBRARY COMMISSION HEADQUARTERS

This building made from natural materials is perfectly located for getting stuck inside a good fairy-tale — beautiful woods surround the entire library.

Related: The 17 Prettiest and Most Photogenic Places in the South

PENELOPE A./YELP

MISSOURI: KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY

A larger-than-life bookshelf on this building’s exterior features books like Catch-22, Charlotte’s Web and Silent Spring.

BILLINGS LIBRARY

MONTANA: BILLINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY

This sustainable building is all about light and transparency.

NEBRASKA STATE LIBRARY

NEBRASKA: NEBRASKA STATE LIBRARY

This Lincoln landmark is the oldest library in the state and boasts a painted mural, high-domed ceilings and secret doors...oooo, mysterious.

SIERRA NEVADA COLLEGE

NEVADA: PRIM LIBRARY AT SIERRA NEVADA COLLEGE

This cabin in the woods is giving us major cozy vibes.

GUNNAR KLACK/FLICKR

NEW HAMPSHIRE: THE PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY LIBRARY

Just look at those circles.

FARMINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY/FACEBOOK

NEW JERSEY: THE FIRESTONE LIBRARY

With more than 70 miles of bookshelves, Firestone Library at Princeton University is one of the largest open-stack libraries in the world and has more books per enrolled student than that of any other university in the U.S.

FARMINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY/FACEBOOK

NEW MEXICO: THE FARMINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

The design of this curved reading center was inspired by Navajo Nation architecture.

ROBERTCICCHETTI/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

The marble, the high ceilings, the lions guarding the outside — the main branch of the city’s libraries is a must-see for any visitor to the Big Apple.

Related: 28 Things You Must Do When You Visit NYC

RON W./YELP

NORTH CAROLINA: JAMES B. HUNT LIBRARY

Located in Raleigh, this sleek and modern learning center boasts 220,000 square feet of space for books and reading.

UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP/GETTY IMAGES

NORTH DAKOTA: NORTH DAKOTA STATE LIBRARY

Why have two stately columns when you can have eight?

SARA C./YELP

OHIO: WILLIAM OXLEY THOMPSON LIBRARY

The exterior may look traditional, but a recent three-year renovation transformed the interior into an ultra-sleek and high-tech facility.

COLLEGIATE IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

OKLAHOMA: THE BIZZELL MEMORIAL LIBRARY

This Oklahoma University study haven features red brick, oversize windows and a handsome clock tower.

CITY OF ASHLAND

OREGON: ASHLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY

Complete with mountain views, natch.

FISHER FINE ARTS LIBRARY/FACEBOOK

PENNSYLVANIA: FISHER FINE ARTS LIBRARY

Recognize the red brick interior? The library was featured in the 1993 Oscar-winning movie “Philadelphia.”

RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN

RHODE ISLAND: FLEET LIBRARY AT RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN

Would you expect anything less from a school of such good taste?

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

SOUTH CAROLINA: THE THOMAS COOPER LIBRARY

Who wouldn’t want to hit the books by this serene water fountain?

HOT SPRINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY

SOUTH DAKOTA: HOT SPRINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY

This wood cabin is filled with books and surrounded by beauty.

NASHVILLE LIBRARY

TENNESSEE: NASHVILLE BELLEVUE LIBRARY

Got enough books on your reading list? Enjoy one of the beautiful walking paths or public art displays at this library instead.

KIRPHOTOS/FLICKR

TEXAS: MCALLEN PUBLIC LIBRARY

Can you believe this library used to be a Walmart?

ARCHIVE PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES

UTAH: SALT LAKE CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY

Five stories of glass, a rooftop garden and 360-degree views of the city? Not too shabby.

ST. JOHNSBURY ATHENAEUM

VERMONT: ST. JOHNSBURY ATHENAEUM AND PUBLIC LIBRARY

Home to one of the country’s oldest art galleries (and a whole lot of wood).

NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY

VIRGINIA: SLOVER PUBLIC LIBRARY

This striking Norfolk building is all sleek lines and modern design.

ARCHIVE PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON: SEATTLE CENTRAL LIBRARY

This city landmark’s unique design includes 11 stories of glass and steel and a “book spiral” — four floors of book stacks connected by ramps so that visitors can browse the library’s collection without using the stairs.

COLLEGIATE IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

WEST VIRGINIA: WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

This Morgantown campus library almost makes us wish that we were students again. Almost.  

Related: The 19 Best College Towns in America

MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

WISCONSIN: MILWAUKEE PUBLIC LIBRARY

Back in 1878, a national competition was held to choose the design for the Milwaukee Public Library and out of the 74 entries received (including one from Frank Lloyd Wright), this was the one selected.

VISIT PINDALE
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