This viral library isn't all it's cracked up to be. But it's still stunning and important.

China just built a new, futuristic library. And while it's not quite as amazing as it seems, it's still an architectural marvel.

Real books are making a comeback. Yes, everyone loves a good ebook — or even better, a good audio book — but nothing beats the look and feel of a real, honest-to-God book in your hands.

Need proof that print books aren't going away anytime soon? Just check out the new (and lavish) Tianjin Binhai Library, located outside of Beijing. It's an incredible sight to behold.


We're used to seeing impeccably architected libraries, but the appeal is often historic. After just a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library is bringing libraries into the 21st century and taking its place among the world's most beautiful.

Well. Sort of.

All photos by Ossip van Duivenbode/MVRDV. Used with permission.

The new library is 36,000 square feet, covering five stories floor to ceiling. But there's a catch.

The main room is touted as being large enough to hold a staggering 1.2 million books. Unfortunately, a miscommunication between the architectural firm and local authorities led the stunning main hall to be approved only for sitting, reading, and gathering ... but not actually storing books.

(The Chinese government has never been the biggest champion of free information.)

Sadly, those bookshelves that line the walls and stretch for thousands of feet, writhing and winding their way around the entire structure, are only for show.

If you look carefully, you'll notice the majority of the books in the library's photos are actually flat decals stuck to the wall. The few real books shown were placed only for promotion and will also be removed soon. The sections of the library that are approved for storage will only hold a couple hundred thousand books.

The giant orb in the center, one of the building's most distinguishing features, has earned the library its nickname, "The Eye of Binhai."

Inside the sphere is an auditorium.

At least that part is real!

Cleverly tucked away behind the stacks are reading rooms, work spaces, and offices.

You could seriously get lost in this library — and a good story or two — for days.

As of October 2017, this library is open to all.

These look like concept renderings, but they're real photos of the actual building as it stands today.

The library's going viral for its unreal architectural beauty, and though it turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment, it's still symbolic of something important.

Worldwide, more and more libraries are shutting down every year. It's sad to think that the places for people to pick up a real book are dwindling — but it's important to remember that libraries are so much more than just the tomes they hold.

They help revitalize communities, promote literacy in under-served neighborhoods, and often offer special programs that aid children, the elderly, disabled people, immigrants, and other groups.

Research is split on whether physical books have any advantage over other forms of reading. But as a community staple, libraries are irreplaceable.

It's awesome to see a new one pop up while so many are closing down, even if it ultimately is a little more surface than substance. People are still excited by the beauty of the building and going in droves to see it in person.

Hopefully the excitement over the Tianjin Binhai Library will inspire more cities around the world to step up their own library game.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.