Are you looking for a fantastic library to study in? Then look no further than our list of the top 50 Amazing College Libraries. We examined and evaluated hundreds of libraries from around the country and after careful consideration, have come up with our list of the 50 best. These libraries offer amazing on-campus experiences, provide stunning and rare book collections as well as offer fantastic campus views. Did your campus gem make our list? You can see the complete list below:
50. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – Yale University
Location: New Haven Connecticut
This college designed and built in 1963, by Gordon Bunshaft of Owings and Merrill, on Yale University’s Hewitt Quadrangle. Back in 2015, the college was remodeled. This library is used not only by students and faculty from Yale, but also scholars from all over for research because of their extensive collection of rare books and literature that is available. They have room for over 780,000 books, of which 180,000 located in the tower and 600,000 is in the underground stacks of books. The Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed, which could be moved, is on exhibit, and there are the Audubon’s Birds Exhibit as well.
49. George Peabody Library – Johns Hopkins University
Location: Baltimore Maryland
This college, formally known as The Library of Peabody Institute and was an early research center. It is a 19th-century research library of the University, which is located at the Peabody Campus at Mount Vernon Place. It was completed being built in 1878, after being designed by Edmund G. Lind, who worked with Provost of Peabody, Nathaniel H. Morison. It was remodeled between 2002 and 2004, which cost around $1 million. The Peabody Library is known as one of the most beautiful libraries, which features their atrium. It has a black and white marble floor and a latticed skylight that is sixty-one feet above the floor. It has cast Iron balconies and gold scalloped columns. The library is open to the public, including the specialty collections of 300,000 books. These collections consist of the following: Religion, British Art, Architecture, Exploration and Travel
48. Joe and Rika Mansueto Library – University of Chicago
Location: Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois
The Mansueto Library is the newest library of the University of Chicago. The facility opened in 2001 and highlights feature the Grand Reading Room. The dome shaped room allows students to study under a gorgeous dome, featuring plenty of natural light. The library houses around three and a half million books. The Library itself has received several honors including, recognition from the Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Patron of the Year award, as well as the GE Edison Award of Merit.
47. Uris Library – Cornell University
Location: Ithaca, New York
The Uris Library opened in 1891 and held extensive humanities and social sciences holdings and is the main undergraduate library. Designed by William Henry Miller, who was Cornell’s first architecture student, and this is considered his masterpiece and the structure, known as Romanesque Revival. The attached bell tower is a symbol of Cornell University, which is dedicated to research and learning.
A few highlights of the library include 8 Million print books, 71,000 cubic feet of various manuscripts as well as over 1 million ebooks. Another fabulous feature is that the University Archives (Cornell’s Library System Collection) are also available.
46. Bobst Library – New York University
Location: New York, New York
The Bobst Library is the main library at New York University, and it is twelve stories and is a 425,000 square foot building is the flagship of an eight-library, four and a half million volume system. The library has 3.5 Million Volumes available as well as 20,000 Journal and 1,000’s of Electronic Sources. There is over 6,500 online visitors a day visiting Bobst Library.
45. Thomas J. Dodd Research Center – University of Connecticut
Location: Mansfield, Connecticut
The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center was built in 1995 and holds many collections. One of the most famous Includes Rare Books Collection. It is also home to the Human Rights Institute and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.
44. Firestone Library – Princeton University
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Firestone Library may appear to be small to the outsider that does not know that there are three partial underground levels. The library extends beyond the footprint of the main building. It has four smaller floors above the ground, of which only staff and faculty can access the second and fourth floors. The gorgeous English Georgian architecture, of this library, wows onlookers. The book collection has become so significant that the library has had to store many that were related to academic subjects in other libraries and areas located on the campus.
43. Millikan Library – California Institute of Technology
Location: Pasadena, California
The Millikan Library is a nine-story building that is the tallest building and most sensitive building on campus and opened in 1967. It is not only a library but also a testing site. It has thirteen seismometers that are pocket size and has a shaker roof that sends vibrations through the building that allows the scientist to check the frequency of seismic waves when something shakes Southern California.
42. Suzzallo Library – University of Washington
Location: Seattle Washington
The Suzzallo Library was built with learning in mind and was opened in 1963. It is known to have a large amount of special and rare collections contained here that consists of the Main Collection, Children’s Literature Collection, Government Publications Collection, Natural Sciences Collection, and a Periodical Collection. It houses a Rare Collection also that includes a book that was printed before 1801.
41. Geisel Library – University of California at San Diego
Location: La Jolla, California
The University of California: San Diego opened in 1970 and had a unique a playful architectural design, and considered to be a prime example of brutalist architecture. In this library, you can find material and services dealing with Arts, Area Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Marine Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.
The Special Collections best known here are the Mandeville Special Collection and the Dr. Seuss Collection. The Dr. Seuss Collection contains more than just the books; it also includes original drawings, sketches, proofs, notebooks, manuscript drafts, audiotapes, videotapes, photographs, and other memorabilia. This collection has over 8,500 items from Dr. Seuss’s achievements, which was from 1919, during high school, till 1991, when he died.
40. Folger Shakespeare Library – Amherst College
Location: Washington, DC
The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library on Capitol Hill and was built in Tudor Style, opening in 1932. It is privately endowed and run by the Trustees of Amherst College.
Here, you will find the world’s largest collection of William Shakespeare pieces, holding 82 copies of the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio a lot more of his earlier quartos of his different plays. It also has many paintings and sculptures, which are connected to Shakespeare, but not all. It holds more that 2.5 Million books and 50,000 Manuscripts, including some like John Donne, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman, and 250,000 Playbills, and 50,000 works on paper, including prints and photographs.
39. James B. Hunt Jr. Library – North Carolina State University
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
When they built this second library at NC State University, they integrated Architecture and Technology, making it a unique library, that cost around $115 million dollars to construct. An example of this is its large robotic book storage and retrieval system. Known for the BookBot that is a robotic system that involves the book storage and retrieval system used at the library and the robots that are fifty foot tall moves between the rows of book bins. The BookBot can barcode, sort, and store books in the 18,000 containers, among doing other things. Visitors can watch the BookBot from the first floor through a glass wall, which is called Robot Alley. This university library also has collections in engineering, textiles, and hard sciences.
38. Bizzell Memorial Library – University of Oklahoma
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
One in eight of the universities libraries, which was built in 1930 and is not only known for it’s architectural design, which is Collegiate Gothic the Bizzell Memorial Library is also a National Historic Landmark. It has 4.2 million volumes, including some special collections such as Nicholas Rare Books, Bass Business, and Bizzell Bible Special Collections. This university that is nationally known for its association in the case of George McLaurin where the case went to court about racial desegregation and being denied admission to the University of Oklahoma for law.
37. Fisher Fine Arts Library – University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Fisher Fine Arts Library also known as the Furness Library was built to be the primary library of the University of Pennsylvania. The library was specifically created to house the University Archaeological Collection. It was designed by Frank Furness, who lived in Philadelphia. It has part fortress and part Cathedral; it is a red sandstone, brick and terra-cotta Venetian Gothic giant.
36. Beasley School of Law Library – Temple University
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This library was built in 1895 and is one of the nation’s largest Law Libraries. Their collection is extremely active in the 18th and 19th-century Anglo-American monographs and the law-related government. It also is a research and practice center for the Institute for International Law and Public Policy and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.
35. Candler Library – Emory University
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
The Candler Library was designed in 1926 by the well-known architect, Edward Tilton. There was a large reading room that was two stories and divided in half during the 1950’s renovation. At that time, it was separate building of the University and quickly became the center of the academic community, becoming the focus point. Located in the area know as the Quadrangle, at the center of the university. Remodeling the library became part of The LEED program, which was established by the United States Green Building in the cause of environmentally friendly technologies combined with building design. These remodel were completed in 2003 and cost $17 million.
34. Mabel Smith Douglass Library – Rutgers University
Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
The Mabel Smith Douglass Library opened in 1918, and then became home for the undergraduate study library for Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Music Research Library. Its Collections consists of women’s studies, theater arts, dance, visual arts, speech and exercise science from the University.
33. John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library – Brown University
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
The John D Rockefeller, JR. Library was erected between 1962 – 1964. The library opened upon completion in 1964 and were the primary teaching and research library for humanities, social sciences, and fine arts at the University. The library was named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who graduated in 1897. There have been three renovations in the years of 2009, 2012, and 2014, which added two rooms and a lab.
32. Rebecca Crown Library – Dominican University
Location: River Forest, Illinois
At the Rebecca Crown Library, built in 1972, features Main Collection that consist of over 200,000 books. The Crown Library also offers access to the I-Share Collection, which consists of almost 13,000 titles. Because of the large I-Share collection is is considered one of the world’s top research libraries. It also has over 300,000 more types of materials in various formats, roomy reading areas, and a fully equipped learning resource center.
31. Rush Rhees Library – University of Rochester
Location: Rochester, New York
The Rush Rhees Library is the main academic library on campus and is the flagship over the River Campus Libraries, which has about 2.5 million volumes. Named after Benjamin Rush Rhees, construction on the library took three years to complete with a major addition being completed in 1970. An original elevator from the 1930’s is still there. The new addition consists of adding the main computer lab, additional stacks, and office space. It also has some cozy reading areas.
30. Bapst Art Library – Boston College
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
This Bapst Art Library was the original library for Boston College from 1925 till 1984 when the college opened the Thomas P. O’Neill Library. The Library, located on the Chestnut Hill Campus is considered historical landmark and was named after Reverend John Bapst. The college has 51,000 volumes and has quite a few Artwork Exhibits from students throughout the year.
29. Harold B. Lee Library – Brigham Young University
Location: Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University is the largest religious college and the third-largest private university in the United States. The receiving area inside the Harold B. Lee Library is constructed entirely of glass. It has around ninety-eight miles of shelving for more than 6 million items, which contains various collections. The library can seat 4,600 people and has over 10,000 patrons entering it every day.
28. Gleeson Library – University of San Francisco
Location: San Francisco, California
The Gleeson Library was built in 1927. Named in memory of Reverend Richard A. Gleeson, in recognition for his twenty-five years of dedicated service to the University and citizens of San Francisco at the St. Ignatius Church, spiritual counselor, and friend to the poor. The Charles M. and Nancy A Geschke Learning Resource Center and the Reverend William J. Monihan, S.J. Atrium opened in September 1997, which Dr. Geschke, a University of San Francisco trustee, and his wife, took the role of leadership in the funding of the center. Reverend William J. Monihan was a beloved member of the Jesuit Community, who dedicated his life to enhancing the services at the library. The library has books, periodicals, microforms and The Donohue Rare Book Room.
27. Baker-Berry Library – Dartmouth College
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
The Baker-Berry Library is the main Library at Dartmouth College. The library was constructed in 1928 and was originally named Fisher Ames Baker. It was designed by Jens Frederick Larson and funded by a gift from George Fisher Baker, in memory of his Uncle Fisher Ames Baker. John Berry and the Baker family donated $30 million in 1992, for the new part to be completed, which is now called Baker-Berry Library. It was designed by architect Robert Venturi and was opened in 2000 but not finished until 2002. The original library held over 240,000 volumes and now the combined libraries hold over 2 million volumes. The Fresco, The Epic of American Civilization, was painted by Jose’ Clemente Orozco in the lower level of the library, which is why it is now a National Historical Landmark. The Baker’s Tower, often used as an iconic representation of the college, which was designed after the Independence Hall in Philadelphia and stands over 200 feet above the campus.
26. Doheny Library – University of Southern California
Location: Los Angeles, California
This historic library opened in 1932 and has served as an intellectual center and cultural treasure for generations to the students, faculty and staff. Created as a memorial to Edward L. Doheny Jr., a the University of Southern California Trustee and Alumnus, it was the first freestanding library. It is still one of the universities most famous and traditional academic buildings on campus. It contains multiple collections including and an Asian Library that has reference and current periodicals in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages.
25. Henry Madden Library – California State University at Fresno
Location: Fresno, California
The Henry Madden Library is an academic library in Fresno, California. The facility opened in 1911 and is based on elements derived from Native American basket weaving. AC Martin and Partners designed the library, which contains 1.13 million volumes in 370,000 square foot space, which makes it the largest library in the California State University system. It has the largest installation of compact shelving, on one floor, in the United States, which amounts to over twenty miles.
24. Armstrong Browning Library – Baylor University
Location: Waco, Texas
The Armstrong Browning Library was built in 1924 and has an Italian Renaissance Style building structure. It contains the largest collection of English Poets, including Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It also is considered to have the largest Collection of Stained Glass on a college campus.
23. Theodore Hesburgh Library – University of Notre Dame
Location: South Bend, Indiana
The Theodore Hesburgh Library the building of the library system and opened on September 18, 1963. The facility began as the Memorial Library until it was renamed after Father Theodore Hesburgh Library in 1987. The library contains 3.39 million volumes. The side of the library faces the football stadium and has an enormous mural of the Resurrected Jesus, which can be seen from the stadium. It was designed by Millard Sheets and the image of Jesus from the stadium looks like Jesus’s arms are raised in a fashion as a referee signaling a touchdown. Now, since the stadium expansion, Jesus is partially obscured from view of the stadium.
22. Nicholas Murray Butler Library – Columbia University
Location: New York, New York
The Nicholas Murray Butler Library is called the Butler Library, and was constructed between the 1931 – 1934 and opened in 1935 and was designed by James Gamble Rogers in NeoClassical Style. It was originally named South Hall, being renamed the Nicholas Murray Butler Library in 1946, in memory of the president of the university. It features an arcade of columns with inscribed names of great writer, philosophers, and thinkers.
21. Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library – University of Virginia
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
The library opened in 1938 and is a research library that specializes in American History and Literature, including the history of Virginia and southern United States, history of the University of Virginia, and Thomas Jefferson. Albert Small, an alumni of the University, donated a large personal collection of autographed documents and early printings of the Declaration of Independence. Small’s donation made the university the only one to have two examples of the nation’s founding document. In this collection, there is also the only letter written, on July 4, 1776 by a signer of the Declaration Of Independence, Ceasar Rodney. It also has the Tracy W. McGregor Collection of American History.
20. Malcolm A. Love Library and Information Dome – San Diego State University
Location: San Diego, California
The Malco A. Love Library It is commonly referred to as the Love Library. Opening in 1971 and constructed in a circular shape, the Love Library holds an appropriate place at the center of campus. The library is over 500,000 square feet, and seats more than 3,000 people. As of 2011, it circulates more than 488,000 books a year and has more than 2.2 million volumes, 4.6 million microform items, and 140,000 maps.
19. Hannon Library – Southern Oregon University
Location: Ashland, Oregon
This library was built in 2004 and has an increasing number of resources for instructional, research, and general information. The collections include materials in a variety of formats. Library materials are located and identified by using the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), which can be used off and on campus. Students have access to 325,000 volumes of Collections, 298,000 Government Publications, online access to over 10,000 Journals as well as collections in Native American Study and viticulture/enology. There is a membership fee associated with the facility but you have access to 26 million items at thirty-three member academic libraries in Oregon and Washington.
18. Hillman Library – University of Pittsburgh
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This library opened in 1968 and is the largest library of the University, which is also the center of administration. It is the flagship of 6.6 million volume and is the central administration of the university library system. It also has over 200 computer stations, study capacity of 1,500, Collections, themed rooms, and specialized technology stations for students.
17. J. Willard Marriott Library – University of Utah
Location: Salt Lake, Utah
The J. Williard Marriott Library It is the central academic library for the University. The library moved around to different spots from 1850 till 1968, when the current building was opened in 1968, and it was named for J. Willard Marriott, founder of Marriott International, in 1969. It is more than 500,000 square feet and consists of over 3 million volumes and Special Collections. The materials at this library are available to everybody, no matter their status.
16. Parks Library – Iowa State University
Location: Ames, Iowa
The Parks Library was opened in 1925 and has had three renovations in 1961, 1969, and 1983. It was named and dedicated for W. Robert Parks, the 11th president of the University and his wife, Ellen Sorge Parks in 1984. The collections include 2.6 million books and subscribes to more than 98,600 journal titles.
15. Thompson Memorial Library – Vassar College
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
This Library is the central library of the seven libraries on the Vasser College campus and was opened in 1865. The architectural style of this amazing facility grabs the attention of onlookers. The Perpendicular Gothic style is rare when it comes to on-campus libraries. It consists of around 1 million volumes, and 7,500 serial, periodicals, and newspaper titles. It also has an extensive collection of microfilm and microfiche. The Collection of Rare Books has emphasis on women’s history and first editions of English and American Literary and Historic works.
14. Wilson Library – University of North Carolina
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Wilson Library was built in 1929, its design being NeoClassical, was named after the University of North Carolina’s librarian, Louis Round Wilson. It was the university’s main library from 1929 till 1984, and now it is strictly a Special Collections Library. It’s North Carolina Collection is the largest of any state in the United States. The building was designed by Architecture Arthur Cleveland Nash and William Kendall of the famed firm McKim, Mead, and White.
13. Powell Library – University of California, Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, California
The Powell Library on the UCLA campus was built from 1926 till 1929 and one of the original four university buildings. Its Romanesque Revival architecture still holds a special place in the hearts of alumni. The Powell Library, also known as the College Library and is the main college undergraduate library. Not only is it of historical value but it is also popular with the students. It consists of over 9 million books and 70,000 serials.
12. Smathers Library – University of Florida
Location: Gainesville, Florida
The Smathers Library was originally named Library East when it was opened in 1926 and is located in the Northeastern part of the university and in the middle of the Campus Historic District. When it was originally built, it was the largest building on campus, and its architectural design is Collegiate Gothic. The material available to students consists f 5.3 million volumes, 1 million documents, 550,000 maps and images
and over 20,000 computer data sets.
11. Jerome Library – Bowling Green University
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
The Jerome Library was created to support the University’s expanding role in education, and its construction began in 1965. The building was named for William Travers Jerome, in 1982, who was the sixth president of the University. It is nine levels and is a 156,895 square foot building and offers an excellent learning area for the students and faculty. While the library is, a mainstay for campus studying the facility is also open to the public.
10. Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library – Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Harry Elkins Wiener Memorial Library is a branch library of Harvard University. The facility, which opened in 1915 is considered the center of the Harvard Libraries. It is named after Harry Elkins Widener, a book collector, who graduated from Harvard in 1907 and then died on the Titanic in 1912. It was after this his mother had the library constructed. In the heart of the building is the Widener Memorial Rooms, which holds the Collection. In this collection, which was later added, was the perfect Gutenberg Bible, the object, that was the reason for the 1969 burglary, which is thought to have been inspired by the film, Topkapi. It also holds one of the most comprehensive research collections in the humanities and social sciences. Also, it has ten levels and fifty-seven miles of shelves.
9. Klarchek Information Commons – Loyola University of Chicago
Location: Chicago, Illinois
The Klarchek Information university library that was built in 2005 offers a lake-side view and with the joint project of the University Libraries and Information Technology Services. The facility provides space for both conferences and group studies. It offers high-speed internet, including wireless and comfortable areas for studying, serious work, reading, and relaxing.
8. William R. Perkins Library – Duke University
Location: Durham, North Carolina
The William R. Perkins Library is one of nine in the Duke University Library System and opened in 1839. It has a significant Collection of Confederate Imprints, which consists of 270,000 photos that document rural conditions, urban communities, and the domestic side of the Civil War. The Perkins Library is also home to thousands of documents that fall under the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. These documents are often touted as some of the most rare pieces to an on-campus collection.
7. University Libraries – Michigan State University
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
University Library is one of nine library branches of Michigan State University, which opened in 1855. Best known for its Africana Collection, containing over 200,000 items, this collection is one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Another of the most extensive collections this library holds is the Robert Vincent Voice Library, containing over 40,000 house of spoken recordings of over 100,000 people. Two other collections here is the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection, which includes the Cosmic Art Collection.
6. Hargrett Library Rare Book and Manuscript Library – University of Georgia
Location: Athens, Georgia
Thie Hargrett Library opened in 2012 and were a leading repository of Georgian history and culture. The library currently holds over 200,000 volumes in its rare books and Georgian Collection. The University also emphasizes the performing arts and natural history. Some of the dates, of some of the items, are from the 15th Century till now.
5. Walter C. Langsam Library – University of Cincinnati
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
The Walter C. Langsam Library is the largest and the main library out of fourteen libraries in the University of Cincinnati Library System. The UC library system is spread out across campus in eleven different facilities. The University has over 4 million volumes and 70,000 periodicals. One highlight of the library is that it offers a 24/7 Computer Lab named [email protected], which is always available for students.
4. Hale Library – Kansas State University
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
The Hale Library central library on the Campus and at one time was named for Francis David Farrell, the university’s eighth president. Opening in 1927 and has had additions added a couple of times, from stacks to whole new wings and is now the largest building on the campus. In 1984, the Friends of the Library, was founded and has provided funding for a lot of the libraries needs. The library received the Merit Award for Excellence in 1999.
3. Linderman Library – Lehigh University
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
The Historic Linderman Library, which opened in 1878, was added to in 1929 and has seen major renovation since then. The Victorian Rotunda, which was from 1878, and the Grand Reading Room, from 1929, was left in all their magnificence, during the major renovation. The Linderman Library houses a Rare Book Collection of over 40,000 books that includes Darwin’s Origins of Species and James John Audubon’s four volume elephant folio edition of Birds of America. There is also some first editions of English and American literature, from the 17th to 19th centuries. It also has a collection of over 15,000 photo images. Some of the new features of the libraries include four seminar rooms, quiet study space, five group studies, care and is wireless.
2. William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library – The Ohio State University
Location: Columbus, Ohio
The William Oxley Thompson library is the central library at the Ohio State University and was built in 1912; having a significant multi-year renovation took place starting July 2006 and reopened August 2009. The building’s architectural style is Neo-Classical, Beaux-Arts.
It provides a variety of study places, an extensive collection, and research along with faculty and staff to help. Some of the subject libraries are social science and humanities, including reference, special collections, rare books, manuscripts, university archives, journals, general interest periodicals. In Departmental subject libraries in literature, regional foreign language, linguistics, philosophy, religion, theater, anthropology, history, sociology, and political science.
1. Cook Legal Research Library – University of Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Cook Legal Research Library is magnificent and grand, having spires, stained glass windows, and metal works. The metal work was done by Samuel Yellin, being the best of his time. It was originally built in 1931 to hold around 350,000 volumes and then in the 1950’s there were four floors added to the stacks. There is also the Reading Room and Study Group Rooms here, which can seat hundreds of students. This library not only has the World’s best Collections of research material, but also houses Cook’s Library from his Manhattan townhouse.