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Education

These stunningly beautiful libraries are practically their own tourist attractions

Come for the books, stay for the views.

best libraries in the world, reading, library

Couldn't you just spend hours in here?

In movies, libraries are often beautiful, magical treasure troves.

National Treasure starring Nicholas cage took the concept quite literally. The fantastical Harry Potter movie series and comedies like Legally Blonde and The Breakfast Club, all find a way to showcase the highly creative space to be found in a library.

But what's a library in real life? Run-of-the-mill book storage, you say? Is anyone actually visiting these places anymore, anyway?

To be sure, if you haven't been in a bit, you could be missing out.


Libraries are magical archives of humanity. And some of them are just downright beautiful.

Here are nine of the most beautiful libraries in the world:

1. The New York Public Library

This one's a star: It's been featured in "Sex and the City," "Ghostbusters," "The Day After Tomorrow," "13 Going on 30," "Spiderman," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Breakfast at Tiffany's" ... and for good reason! When you walk into The New York Public Library, you can't help but say to yourself, "This looks like a movie set!" But instead, it's your very own, open-to-the-public-anytime-you're-in-town library.

New York, public, government, community

A photograph of the NYC Public Library Research Room taken in 2006.

Photo by Diliff, edited by Vassil, from Wikipedia Commons

2. Mexico City's Biblioteca Vasconcelos

This is really the library to end all libraries. But it's also the Seabiscuit of libraries. It started its life a little bit injured. After its construction in 2006, lauded by then-president Vicente Fox as one of the most advanced constructions of the modern century, it was found to have a lot of problems.

Fortunately, it was closed down and designers put its marble blocks back in the right place and reopened it 22 months later in 2008. And now this M.C.-Escher-painting-come-to-life is available for any and all to visit.

Image via Audra Hubbell/Instagram, used with permission.


3. The library at El Escorial in Spain

This library is located in the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, aka the King of Spain's Super Catholic Castle. It has some very seriously religious books in it, including Arab and Hebrew manuscripts (in libraries, all religions live peacefully, side by side, in book form) and some light reading, like Beatus de Liébana's centuries-old "Commentary on the Apocalypse." Sit back and relax!

libraries, geography, history, books, art

A picture taken of the Biblioteca de El Escorial in Madrid, Spain.

This image was originally posted to Flickr by MAMM Miguel Angel https://flickr.com/photos/160707757@N08/30371566607

4. The Stockholm Public Library

Located in Sweden, this library opened in 1928 and was that country's first library to have open shelves. Libraries before it required visitors to ask for a librarian's assistance, but with this one, some of the power was handed to the people. It was clearly designed with that function in mind, but — wow — the form is also so beautiful!

Europe, Sweden, Norwegian, library

Creative landings exposed from above in on of Sweden's public libraries.

Photo taken by Arild Vågen, from Wikimedia Commons.

5. The Library of Congress

Located in Washington, D.C., this library houses the books of America, an archive of Twitter, a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, a Stradivarius, the first book known to be printed in America (in 1640!), and millions of newspapers, maps, sheet music, comic books from history — just for starters.

The things you find at the Library of Congress and other libraries — they archive more than just books! — seem like they should be in that weird cavern in the movie "National Treasure." But they're right there in D.C. in a library, not a secret underground stash. No need for Nic Cage!

Plus, this library has a pretty sweet reading room, too.

history, Washington landmarks, library, government

This is the Library Of Congress main reading room.

This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division. Wikimedia Commons.

Oh, and its great Great Hall isn't bad either.

Library of Congress, Great Hall, Thomas Jefferson Building, politics

The first and second floors of the Great Hall, Library of Congress, in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division. Wikimedia Commons

6. The Admont Abbey Library

Located in Austria, this library looks a whole lot like a Disney dream come true. It's the largest monastic library in the world, with a length of 70 meters — about as long as four semi trucks. Its ceilings depict the stages of human knowledge, ending appropriately to its location with divine revelation. It also has excellent natural light.

German, Disney, feelings, art frescos

Painted frescos adorn the ceiling offering Disney vibes in Austria.

© Jorge Royan / https://www.royan.com.ar / CC BY-SA 3.0. Image from Wikimedia Commons

7. Abbey Library of St. Gallen

Located in Switzerland, it is the country's oldest library and has volumes that date back to the eighth century. In addition to its contents, the delightfully fairytalelike-named Peter Thumb designed the library in a Rococo style that earned this library the status of a World Heritage Site.

historical, 1700's, Switzerland, architecture

The oldest library in Switzerland can be found in the Abbey of St. Gallen.

Image via Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen/Wikimedia Commons.

8. Delft University of Technology Library

Located in the Netherlands, this modern piece of library goodness designed by local architecture firm Mecanoo in 1997 has what I can only describe as "Star Trek-ian" flair.

Star Trek, modern architecture, Netherlands, Apple Inc.

Futuristic vibes abound in University library.

Photo by M8scho from Wikimedia Commons.

Look at those blue walls! And the cone skylight (below) looks like a teleporter. It seems like it would feel like being in the world's most friendly iPhone spaceship.

technology, environment, grass ceiling, college

A grass ceiling covers the Delft University of Technology Library.

Photo by João Victor Costa from Wikimedia Commons.

And yes — that's a grass ceiling. Beam me up!

9. Remains of the library of Celsus at Ephesus

Located in Turkey, this library was completed in 135 A.D. That's a long time ago but not even close to as long ago as the first library, which is said to have been built around 2600 B.C. in Mesopotamia.

historical landmark, travel, architecture, education

Turkey holds a library that was completed in 135 A.D.

Image (cropped) by Benh LIEU SONG from Wikimedia Commons.

Libraries are beautiful archives of human wonderfulness, literally and figuratively.

Sometimes the movies know exactly what they're doing when they share story in the houses that hold them.

There's something there (in my heart for libraries) that wasn't there before!

animation, Disney, heroines, movies, children

A GIF created from the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast.

media.giphy.com

This article originally appeared on 07.22.16

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A student accidentally created a rechargeable battery that could last 400 years

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There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.

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12 real stories that show why ruthless immigration laws are the wrong move.

Immigration policies that rip families apart are a travesty.


If there's ever been a particularly bad time to be an undocumented immigrant, it's right now.

President Donald Trump, who launched himself into the 2016 presidential race with his support for a multibillion-dollar border wall, has been cracking down on immigration as promised. In addition to tightening border security, he's pledged to remove 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants "immediately." And he appears to be keeping his word.

Deportation is nothing new, but Trump's plans are unprecedented. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

It's a scary climate we're facing, but unfortunately, it's not just Trump and it's not just America. All over the world, people are more concerned with their countries' borders than seemingly ever before.Nations all over Europe, for example, are tightening up immigration rules and/or ramping up deportations themselves.

Amidst all the noise and rhetoric — every "radical Islamic terrorist" attack that gets waved about by politicians with something that eerily resembles pride, every horrific crime committed by white Americans that's met with deafening silence, every press conference faux pas — there are real people and real families being ripped apart in the name of patriotism.

Their stories are terrifying and heart-wrenching, but they're massively important.

1. A DREAMer gave a powerful speech about deportation. Moments later, she was arrested.

Daniela Vargas, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 7 years old, spoke at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, about the importance of the DREAM Act, which aims to help immigrant children who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years and graduated high school receive permanent legal status.

After the event, Vargas and a friend were pulled over and arrested by immigration agents.

2. A Sri Lankan student studying in North Wales was saved from deportation only by a last ditch effort hours before her flight.

Shiromini Satkunarajah, an electrical engineering student at Bangor University, was nearly sent back to Sri Lanka earlier this year. Despite having lived in the U.K. since she was 12 and being only three months shy of graduation, Satkunarajah was only allowed to stay after receiving an outpouring of community support.

3. A woman living in Great Britain was sent back to Singapore without being allowed to say goodbye to her husband and two children.

Irene Clennell had lived in the U.K. since 1988 but was abruptly sent back to Singapore after having her indefinite leave to remain revoked. Clennell is married and has two children with her husband but was not afforded the chance to see them one last time.

4. A mom living in Phoenix was sent back to Mexico. Her children would later face Trump as he addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' children were reportedly in attendance as Trump addressed Congress. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was sent back to Mexico in January this year for having a criminal record. Her crime? Working under the table to provide for her young children.

5. A beloved restaurant manager in a deep-red town in Illinois was arrested, and now the community is reeling.

Most of the people in West Frankfort, Illinois, voted for Trump. They never thought anything would happen to Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, the friendly restaurant manager who seemed have done at least one kind deed for everyone in the community. Now, he's been detained by ICE and is currently waiting to find out if he'll be sent back to Mexico.

6. A Kuwaiti man and father of two living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the other hand, was miraculously spared from deportation because it would cause his family too much hardship.

Yousef Ajin has lived in the United States for 18 years with his wife, with whom he has four children. He reportedly met with immigration officers frequently, but on Jan. 30, 2017, he was suddenly detained.

In February, a judge granted a deportation waiver in order to spare Ajin's family from hardship. Many other immigrants aren't so lucky.

7. One man was caught trying to cross the border and returned to Tijuana. He appears to have jumped to his death shortly after.

The man, Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, had reportedly worked in the U.S. before to provide for his family back home before being deported multiple times. Caught trying to enter the country once again, he seemingly decided jumping from a bridge was his only option.

8. A single mother in California was sent back to Mexico, leaving her two young children in peril.

Photo by Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images.

On Feb. 7, María Robles-Rodríguez was nabbed by U.S. Border Patrol and sent back to Mexico, leaving her twin 18-year-old daughters to fend for themselves.

9. Gay men being deported from Britain to Afghanistan are being told to pretend they're straight.

The British government's advice to gay men being sent home to Afghanistan, where they can be freely persecuted for their sexual orientation? Just don't act gay and everything will be fine!

Seriously.

10. Jose Escobar was detained after a routine meeting with immigration officers. He's a husband and father of three.

Escobar, who has lived in the United States for 16 years, had a deportation scare a few years back but was told he'd be safe if he checked in with immigration agents every year. Only this year, an agent reportedly told his wife, "We're just doing what President Trump wants us to do with the new rules."

Escobar will likely soon be deported.

11. A Mexican man living in Idaho was deported. His wife and the mother of his children could be next.

Tomas Copado ran his own auto body shop in Idaho Falls until he was sent back to Mexico earlier this year. His wife, for the sake of their children, recently had her own deportation deferred.

For now.

12. Some undocumented immigrants may be deported to Mexico even if they're not from there.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

According to several reports, the Department of Homeland Security plans to send anyone who crosses illegally over the southern border of the U.S. back to Mexico, even though they may be citizens of another country.

Needless to say, this is horrendous and possibly in violation of international law.

Statue of LibertyPhoto by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Every modern nation needs smart, empathetic paths to citizenship. Any immigration policy that tramples on human rights and rips families apart is a travesty.

It's time to bust the narrative that foreigners primarily come to our country — or any country — to do harm. They come mostly to find opportunity, to escape persecution, or to be with family.

If we can't come to see them as human beings rather than inanimate outsiders, finding the money to pay for a giant wall will be the very least of our problems.


This article originally appeared on 03.02.17

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