Libraries have been around a long time and are quite simple in concept: books are stored there, people can come and look at them, and some books may be borrowed, for a while.

Biblioteca di Belle Art Milano.

Bliblioteca do Palacio Nacional da ajuda Lisboa

Peabody Library Baltimore

Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. All of the above from Curious Expeditions. Many of the photos by Candida Hofer.

The simple idea resulted in some grand buildings, palaces to books and mansions for reading. That’s when books were as precious as jewels. That’s no longer the case, but we still build grand buildings for books.

Above is the new library in Alexandria Egypt by Norwegian Architects Snohetta. But if a city today, even a large one, wants a library, it generally ends up being a kind of community centre that happens to have books, rather than a haven for readers.

If you want a quiet, beautiful reading experience, and you don’t live near one of the grand libraries above, maybe you have a nice spot at home with a good chair and books nearby.

This above I found at a site called househunt, and they found it at sweethomestyle. Photo from here. But you don’t need a wall of books, necessarily.

Here is a great reading place with just a good chair and a small pile of books and some natural light. From here. This space is in a small apartment complex in Tokyo by designer Hiroshi Nakamura.

Does it matter where you read? I think it does. But it doesn’t have to be a grand place, just the right place. This from Andre Kertesz, his series On Reading. See more here.