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Five UK libraries you must visit

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The UK has many world ranked universities and is home to 26 of the top 200 globally. With innovative teaching methods, students learn from industry leaders and degrees are designed to encourage independent thinking. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge research. Every university has their own library which is like an every student’s office. It is a space where students get to access resources, absorb new knowledge and gather thoughts. Libraries have silent areas, group study rooms, comfy sofas, computer and printing services, etc. UK is home to some of the most impressive libraries in the world. Here are some of our favourite libraries across the UK.

The British Library, London

The British Library is the largest library in the world and the national library of the UK. It is home to over 150 million items, from print to digital to sound archives, maps, newspapers, prints and patents. It has an astoundingly huge collection of everything and anything you could possibly ever need, including the Magna Carta, Leonardo Da Vinci notebook and Beatles manuscripts. The British Library was originally part of the British Museum but separated in 1973. They regularly hosts events celebrating the best of British literary culture.

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

The main research library of Oxford University is the Bodleian Library. It is a legal deposit library which means that it can request a copy of any and every book published in the UK. It is one of the oldest libraries in Europe which is a part of the Bodleian Libraries group and is home to over 12 million printed items consisting of collections from Thomas Bodley and John Radcliffe. You can take tours of the library or become a member to get access to their collections. The library is celebrated for its late gothic architecture as much as its impressive collections. You may recognise the elaborately carved ceiling from scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Library of Birmingham

The outside of this library is made up of colored blocks which gives the exterior a square look that lights up the city skyline. Inside however, it’s a circular treasure trove of fairy lights and archives and is one of the largest public libraries in the UK. It has access to the national film archive through BFI mediatheque. Across ten levels, there are also garden terraces, children spaces and an outdoor amphitheatre. There is Shakespeare memorial room which has been completely recreated from the original Victorian library.

(Pictured above is Library of Birmingham)

Liverpool Central Library

The original interior of Liverpool’s Central Library began to fall apart due to lack of conservation and age. However, a huge renovation project saw Liverpool Central Library get a £50 million revamp in 2013 and make it one of Liverpool’s cultural highlights today. There are archives of Liverpool’s history from the 13th century to the present day, as well as 150,000 rare books. There’s a whole space dedicated to children’s books and their discovery of reading, including computers that are free to use and occasional storytelling events. The spiral staircase and huge skylight that sit inside are what library dreams are made of.

John Rylands Research Institute and Library, University of Manchester

This late-Victorian library opened in 1900 and became part of The University of Manchester in 1972. It is often referred to as the ‘cathedral of knowledge’. It is one of the most stunning examples of the style. Though from the outside it could be easily mistaken for a church or even a cathedral, it actually holds hundreds of thousands of books, including an impressive collection of early printed works such as the Gutenberg Bible and a Caxton Canterbury Tales. This library offers limitless research potential for students that boosts one of the top five university special collections in the world. You can make use of the rich collections or simply explore the site.