The library is a truly impressive invention, but some people question whether we need them now that we have the internet. They wonder why we need dusty shelves stacked with books when we can download an ebook in a few seconds. The simple answer is that libraries have become so much more than a place to store books and access them for free.
Libraries at Nebraska colleges and universities and around the world are digitizing and storing vast amounts of historical and cultural data. Photographs, documents, paintings and manuscripts from mankind's greatest contributors are being digitally archived for anyone in the world to see for free.
Students at school libraries are learning how to use the internet to conduct research for the first time. University libraries are home to large computer labs for students to do their work in. Librarians are skilled in helping students navigate to reliable sources of information quickly.
Libraries today are arguably even more valuable to society then they were before the dawn of the Internet. We've collected some of the most prestigious (and beautiful) ones below.
Yale's Rare Book & Manuscript Library is something to behold
Just as a book should never be judged by the cover, neither should a library. This unassuming structure, designed by Gordon Bunshaft, has a relatively subdued look to its exterior. The granite and marble siding gently filters in light from the outside as not to damage the rare documents within. Once you make you way inside, well, there's just nothing else to say.
A picture is worth a thousand words
But, in this case, that is still not enough to describe the feeling of being in the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. The main floor of this historic building, known as the Long Room, was built in the early 1700's and later renovated in 1850s to add an additional floor. The library houses nearly 5 million pieces of work, including the Book of Kells.
Harper Memorial Library Commons
The University of Chicago Library is more of a system of libraries than a single structure. Almost 10 million volumes are stored in six separate locations across the university's campus.
One of the original libraries, Harper library is not technically a library anymore having all its volumes transferred to the Regenstein Library in the 70's, but is still a beautiful structure that is now used as a reading room and library common area.
Stunning inner beauty
The George Peabody library was previously the Library of the Peabody Institute and was established as a public free library in 1857. In 1878 the library was moved to this historic building designed by architect Edmund Lind. The interior boasts 5 stories of balconies and books and is today one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.