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The 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World

[Editor's note: In celebration of the holidays, we're counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #3, was originally published April 16.] We’re suckers for beautiful libraries here at Flavorpill, as you might have noticed from our lists of beautiful college libraries and beautiful private libraries from all over the world. But public libraries are probably even more important to the culture at large than either of these — they’re places where anyone can enter and partake of knowledge they offer, where anyone can engage with history, literature and culture. And while we know it’s the books that are important, everyone likes to read in a beautiful space, so we decided to take a look at the most beautiful public libraries in the world. We excluded some very beautiful libraries that may be open to the public as museums or tourist attractions but with limited function as actual libraries, like the Vatican library (which to use, you must prove your qualifications and research needs) and the library of Dutch Parliament, but we think there are enough public libraries proper to make up for their loss. Click through to see our choices for the twenty five most beautiful public libraries in the world, and let us know if we’ve missed your favorite in the comments.

Vennesla Library and Culture House, designed by Helen & Hard, Vennesla, Norway [via]

Central Public Library, Vancouver, Canada [via]

Kanazawa Umimirai Library, Kanazawa City, Japan [via]

Bristol Central Library, Bristol, UK [via and via]

The Royal Danish Library (the Black Diamond), designed by Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen, Copenhagen, Denmark [via]

The Peckham Library, designed by William Alsop and Jan Störmer, South London [via]

Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart, Germany [via]

Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN, Seattle [via]

Sendai Mediatheque, designed by Toyo Ito, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan [via]

Angelica Library, Rome, Italy [via]

National Library, Belarus [via]

Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt [via]

Rijksmuseum Research Library, Amsterdam [via]

National Library, Site Richelieu, Paris, France [via]

New York Public Library, New York City [via]

Villanueva Public Library, Villanueva, Colombia [via]

Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [via and via]

The Media Library and Cultural Centre, designed by Barbotin + Gresham Architects, Lisses, France [via]

Connemara Public Library Chennai, Chennai, India [via]

The Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California [via]

José Vasconcelos Library in México City, Mexico [via]

Stockholm Public Library [via]

Amsterdam Public Library [via and via]

Old Market Library, Min Buri, Bangkok [via]

Taipei Public Library, Beitou Branch [via and via]