The Most Impressive Library in Every State
All of these libraries boast unique architectural achievements and grand collections.
Libraries are places of wonder, discovery, and education that are free for all to explore. Some libraries have a specialty, some are housed in beautiful buildings, and yet others tote amazing collections of novels, papers, and histories of our world.
All the best stories start in libraries. You never know what you’ll find—maybe a mystery between the ear-marked pages of a well-loved book or an adventure within the sprawling book-lined corridors. Either way, your local library houses a whole world of possibilities!
Each and every state in the United States has one library that outshines the others. These buildings break the mold and provide an amazing space for all to enter. What library from your state made the list?
Alabama: The Ralph Brown Draughon Library
The Ralph Brown Draughon Library at Auburn University is named after the university’s honorable former president, Ralph Brown Draughon, who led the school from 1947 to 1965.
Alaska: The Juneau Memorial Library
The Juneau Memorial Library hosted the July 4, 1959 Statehood Ceremony where the 49-star flag was first flown in Alaska and still flies today. Here are the most popular tourist attractions in every state.
Arizona: The Arabian Public Library
The Arabian Public Library in Scottsdale won the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its innovative desert artistry.
Arkansas: Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library
The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library has been awarded for its ecological design and low carbon footprint.
California: UC Berkeley Library system
By number of volumes, the UC Berkeley Library system has the fourth-largest university collection in America. Speaking of, here is the coolest hidden gem in each of the 50 states.
Colorado: The Denver Public Library
The Denver Public Library was partially designed by the renowned, postmodern architect Michael Graves.
Connecticut: The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University recently underwent a 16-month renovation, which added modern amenities but fully preserved the original, six-story glass stack tower.
Delaware: The Wilmington Public Library
The Wilmington Public Library is a historic landmark that has been standing since the 18th century. Here’s the most iconic book set in every state!
Florida: Gulf Gate Library
The grand opening of new Gulf Gate Library in Sarasota, Florida took place in January 2015.
Georgia: The Russell Library for Political Science
The Russell Library for Political Science at the University of Georgia is distinguished as a charter member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.
Hawaii: Hawaii State Library
Hawaii State Library, known for its beautiful Greco-Roman style architecture, is the flagship library of the only statewide library system in the nation.
Idaho: The Carnegie Library
The Carnegie Library was founded by a group of women called the Women’s Columbian Club. It became Boise’s first public library upon opening in 1905.
Illinois: The Chicago Public Library
The Chicago Public Library is one of 80 branches within Chicago’s public library system.
Indiana: The Theodore Hesburgh Library
The Theodore Hesburgh Library at Notre Dame features a mural commonly referred to as “Touchdown Jesus” for it’s location directly behind Notre Dame’s football stadium’s north end zone.
Iowa: The Iowa State Law Library
The Iowa State Law Library is located in the Capitol building in Des Moines. Check out the best free tourist attraction in each US state.
Kansas: The Lawrence Public Library
The Lawrence Public Library won a 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its sleek design.
Kentucky: The Main Library of the Louisville Library System
The Main Library of the Louisville Library System was constructed in 1906 thanks to the generosity of steel magnate and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
Louisiana: The Shreve Memorial Library
The Shreve Memorial Library is located in a former courthouse and U.S. post office.
Maine: Bangor Public Library
A new copper dome was added to the Bangor Public Library in October of 2013.
Maryland: The George Peabody Library
The George Peabody Library in Mt. Vernon serves The Johns Hopkins University and is considered one of the most stunning libraries in the world.
Massachusetts: The Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is also known as the “Library for the Commonwealth” and is the third-largest public library in the United States.
Michigan: The University of Michigan Law Library
The University of Michigan Law Library controversially collaborated with Google for a book digitalization program.
Minnesota: The Minneapolis Central Library
The Minneapolis Central Library won the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.
Mississippi: The Jackson District Library
The Jackson District Library has roots tracing back to 1863, when the Young Men’s Association was formed. When the library opened in 1865, it only had 239 donated books.
Missouri: St. Louis Public Library
The AIA gave the St. Louis Public Library a National Honor Award for its breathtaking restoration in 2014. These are the most misspelled words in each state.
Montana: The Hearst Free Library
The Hearst Free Library has preserved its stunning turn of the century interior design, full of dark mahogany and velvet upholstery.
Nebraska: The Don L. Love Memorial Library
The Don L. Love Memorial Library at the University of Nebraska houses the social science and humanities portion of the university’s 3.5 million volumes.
Nevada: The Prim Library
The Prim Library at Sierra Nevada College has a rustic, cozy, and cabin-like ambiance.
New Hampshire: The Phillips Exeter Academy Library
The Phillips Exeter Academy Library has been repeatedly awarded for its modern design.
New Jersey: The Firestone Library
The Firestone Library at Princeton University has more books per enrolled student than any other university in America.
New Mexico: The Farmington Public Library
In Farmington, New Mexico, the Farmington Public Library hosts a Four Corners Storytelling Festival every year. It got its name because it’s close to the corners of four different states: New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
New York: The New York City Public Library
The New York City Public Library has the second-largest literary collection in the United States, surpassed only by the Library of Congress.
North Carolina: The Wilson Library
The Wilson Library at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill finished its original construction in 1929.
North Dakota: The North Dakota State Library
The North Dakota State Library has moved a number of times since it first opened in 1907, but today it resides in the capital city of Bismark.
Ohio: The William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library
The William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at Ohio State University won the 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.
Oklahoma: The Bizzell Memorial Library
The Bizzell Memorial Library at Oklahoma University is a gorgeous brick, columned building with an imposing clock tower. These are the best free tourist attractions in every state.
Oregon: The Millar Library
The Millar Library at Portland State University doubled in size in 1991.
Pennsylvania: The Free Library of Philadelphia
The Free Library of Philadelphia has one of the greatest rare books departments. It has objects including the raven that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s poem.
Rhode Island: The Providence Athenaeum
The Providence Athenaeum at Brown University was founded in 1753, making it the fourth-oldest library in America.
South Carolina: The Thomas Cooper Library
The Thomas Cooper Library at University of South Carolina overlooks a large pond, allowing its reflection to brightly glow by night.
South Dakota: The Hilton M. Briggs Library
The Hilton M. Briggs Library at University of South Dakota features stunning, floor-to-ceiling windows so that students may read and study by natural light.
Tennessee: Nashville Public Library
The Nashville Public Library has been hosting its popular Children’s Story Hour every week since the event started in 1905!
Texas: The Texas State Library
The Texas State Library—originally called the National Library of the Republic of Texas— existed before Texas was officially annexed to the United States in 1848!
Utah: The Salt Lake City Public Library
The Salt Lake City Public Library is a futuristic development that won Library Journal’s ‘Library of the Year Award’ in 2006.
Vermont: St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and Public Library
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and Public Library is also the location of one of the United State’s oldest, unaltered art galleries.
Virginia: The Slover Public Library
The Slover Public Library won the 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.
Washington: Western Washington University’s Library
Western Washington University’s Library is located in the picturesque, quaint and forested town of Bellingham.
West Virginia: West Virginia University’s Downtown Library
West Virginia University’s Downtown Library is one of eight branches in the WVU library system.
Wisconsin: Milwaukee Public Library
In 1878, a national competition was held to pick a design for the building of the Milwaukee Public Library. Seventy-four entries were received, including an entry from Frank Lloyd Wright, who sadly was not selected.
Wyoming: Huff Memorial Library
Huff Memorial Library perfectly compliments the surroundings of Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains. Next, check out the best-kept secret in every state.