*Bod Alert* As an English student I cannot deny my love for libraries; as nerdy as it sounds, libraries can be magical places- not only do they have the power to enrich our minds, but also to enrich our eyes. Many of the libraries in London are set in historically beautiful buildings that are so aesthetically pleasing I actually go a little weak at the knees. Like Belle from The Beauty and The Beast, for me, books possess a certain charm and have the power to bring people together – not that I go searching for my Beast amongst rows and rows of bookshelves!
The outer façades of London libraries provide the perfect Instagram backdrop and more often than not you wouldn’t even know such buildings are home to books and other academic materials. Likewise, the interior of said libraries are just as overwhelming and can be mistaken for resembling a museum or art gallery for the sheer artistry of their designs- again providing more insta-worthy backdrops. So without further ado, below is a list of the most insta-worthy libraries London has to offer:
1. Senate House Library.
Undeniably this library is one of the most insta-worthy libraries in London, if not THE most insta-worthy. Its reputation for being one of the UK’s largest academic libraries for arts, humanities and social sciences is reflected in its exterior. Rising above other neighbouring buildings, at the centre an arresting tower like façade stands erect and other sections of multiple levels extend from this centre like arms that reach out to you, inviting you to enter inside its white, pristine walls. In the heart of this stunning library, two different levels of bookshelves can be seen running along the perimeter of the reading room, facing inwards to the middle of the room, which is dominated by plush mahogany brown and golden sofas that wouldn’t look out of place in a five-star hotel, and which provide the perfect spot for curling up with a book!
2. Maughan Library.
Situated in King’s College London, there is no way I could exclude Maughan Library from this list of the most insta-worthy libraries in London. The beauty of this library is due to its Victorian architecture and its main selling feature has to be the dodecagonal Reading Room which features three open storeys of books, above which rests a glass-domed atrium. The effect of such a ceiling is that sunlight is able to filter through and bask all of the books in a golden glow, gifting them a magical aura. This dome shaped room is also similar to the one found in Shrek 2 where Donkey extracts a potion to transform Shrek into human form, so as soon as you enter such a room, you are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books and feel as if you have entered the realm of a fantasy world. Unfortunately, this library is only open to members but it is enough to peruse the nineteenth-century neo-gothic building from the outside!
3. National Art Library.
The fact this library is located within the painfully beautiful and castle like redbrick Victorian and Albert Museum, instantly guarantees that it will be stunning. The beautiful and historic reading room stretches out before you as soon as you enter, and they overlook the John Madejski Garden where lush green grass and a circular pond can be found. Such scenery outside provides the ideal setting for insta-worthy photos, but also a scenic sight to sit back and reflect upon in between reading breaks. Other noteworthy features of this grand library include dark wood desks ideal for working at, floor to ceiling windows which allow natural light to filter through, and an ornate mezzanine balcony. You really do have to pinch yourself to believe it’s a library!
4. The London Library.
This insta-worthy library operates an open-to-all-membership policy meaning there really is no excuse not to have a nose at its striking interior and impressive book collection spanning over 17 miles of book shelves! The narrow, book-lined corridors resemble something of a maze and literally allow you to dive into, and get lost in, books (my idea of heaven). The floors are also composed of metal grilles underfoot which means that you can look down upon seven storeys of space below (and feel your insides go a bit funny in the process!).
5. The British Library.
Don’t be fooled by the outside of this library for the interior compensates above and beyond. In the middle of the building is a six-storey glass tower whose transparent walls act as a frame for the overwhelming collection of 65,000 printed volumes, pamphlets, maps, and manuscripts inside. This tower will definitely make your Instagram photos stand out from everybody else’s!
6. Peckham Library.
Peckham Library has to be mentioned as the last on the list of insta-worthy libraries in London. It is a stark contrast to the above libraries which are all of a somewhat dated and historical design. The Peckham Library is the epitome of modern architecture, its unusual shape, which can best be described as an inverted ‘L’, as well as its striking block primary colours such as blue, yellow and red, guarantee you can’t walk past it without stopping to take a photo! Far from being conventional, this library with its copper, steel mesh and coloured glass exterior is the perfect candidate to finish this article of London’s most insta-worthy libraries!
So there you have it, a list of the most insta-worthy libraries in London. Can you think of any more libraries in London? If so, add them to the comments section below.
Featured Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-book-stack-books-bookshelves-590493/
My name is Nicole Brownfield and I am 20 years old. I am studying English Literature and going into my 3rd and final year of Queen Mary University, London in September. I am currently the Editor-In-chief of my University magazine 'CUB' and my dream is to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. I love living in London and am obsessed with sourcing out food and drink places, as well as exploring the parts of London I have never been to before. My boyfriend and I have recently turned pescatarian and this symbolises my goal to constantly keep bettering myself and to stay healthy and disciplined. Every day I try and achieve something as I want to look back and be proud of the life I have lived, and to make my family proud too.