Category Archives: Libraries

overdue library books

How Overdue are your Library books?


overdue library books university professor at the Queen’s University of Belfast has escaped a fine of more than £8,500 after finding that he had still in his possession a book that he borrowed from a library 47 years ago.

Emeritus Prof John Foster from the university’s Institute of Irish studies recently found in his possession a book by Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough, after returning to Vancouver to clean out the locker he used when he had worked at the University of British Columbia a span of years. Upon discovery of the book in his locker the open it up to find the due date stamp reading 11th of October 1966, whereupon presumably his pants darkened in a most unprofessorally like manner.

The university said that it was more than happy simply to be getting the book back so it would not be charging the Prof to fork out the £8,577.50 overdue fine.

While this is seemingly an extraordinarily long time for a book to be overdue, this doesn’t come close to the record unsurprisingly in the convict colony of Australia. A School of arts library lent out a first edition Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin in 1889, only to have it returned mildly late in 2011, a full 122 years late. Again, in a show of literary lovers companionship the late fee was indeed waved.


Ten Beautiful Libraries

Lets take a look at some of the most beautiful libraries in existence.


Abbey Library of St. Gallen – Switzerland


The Abbey library of St. Gall is a UNESCO listed world heritage site, and is the oldest in Switzerland. The abbey has existed since 719, and the library houses manuscripts that are up 1600 years old that are on display to the public. In addition to it some 160,000 total volumes, including 2,100 manuscripts from the 8th to the 15th century as well as the Manuscript B of the  Nibelungenlied, they currently have an Egyptian mummy on display.


Library of Paris – France

Library of ParisThe Library of Paris or the Bibliothèque nationale de France is said to be the oldest library in existence and at times was known as the largest library collection in the world. It can trace its roots back to the Royal Library that was housed in the Louvre and founded by Charles V in 1368. The Libraries collection was moved around a few times until it found its current home


Biblioteca Joanina – Portugal

Biblioteca Joanina

This baroque library was built during the 18th century in Coimbra, Portugal. It houses some 250 thousand works and is a national monument of Portugal.

Admont Abbey Library – Austria

Admont Abbey Library, Austria

The library of the Admont Abbey is the biggest monastic library in the world, as well as being one of the scenic both inside (above) and out (below).

Admont abbey

 Strahov Theological Hall – Czech RepublicStrahov Theological Hall - Original Baroque Cabinets, Prague

The Theological Hall in the Strahov Monastery in Prague was completed in 1679, and has survived largely intact despite Prague being bombed multiple times during its lifetime and occupation by various forces.

Trinity College Library – Ireland

Trinity College Library

The Trinity College Library is housed at the Trinity College funnily enough in Dublin. It is the permanent home of the Book of Kells and is also known as a copyright library which means that all works published in the Republic of Ireland are housed in the Library.

Escorial Biblioteca – Spain


Housed in an 18th century palace in San Lorenzo, Spain, the Library might be small by other stands housing only 40,000 odd volumes, but it make up for it the pure beauty of its 50 metre long and ten metre high hall with marble floors and hand carved wooden shelves.


The State Library of South Australia – Australia

The State Library of South Australia - Mortlock Wing

The State Library of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia is the largest public research library in Australia. The famous Morlock Wing pictured above was opened in December 1884 after 18 years of construction.

Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum Library – Japan

The Library at the Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum

Shiba Ryotaro was one of the most important cultural figures in post war Japan,  after his death in 1996 his house in Osaka was turned into a museum in his honour. The pictured bookcase above is 11 metres high and is home to over 20,000 books.


Rijksmuseum Library – Netherlands

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Outside

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands (above) as well as being beautiful, houses a great number of greatly historical items including the stern of the HMS Royal Charles, but the real gem of the museum is of course its Library, the Rijksmuseum Research Library (below), which is  the largest public art history research library in the Netherlands.Rijksmuseum Library in Amsterdam - beautiful libraries