Libraries I Love: Barcelona edition!

I spent last week in Barcelona, Spain for a library conference! The conference was fantastic and my presentation went well. I was also able to do a number of tourist-y things throughout the city, including visiting a few libraries! So here are the top 10 reasons to visit the National Library of Catalonia, or Biblioteca de Catalunya:

  1. It is located just off La Rambla, a popular walking district in the city with lots of shops, food, and fun times.
    I personally gave in to the gelato stands… So delicious…


  2. With roughly 3 million items, the National Library of Catalonia is the place for Catalan linguistic and historical research.
  3. The library hosts a number of temporary and travelling exhibits, so there is always something new to see and learn about!
  4. The library is housed in a former hospital building and the inside is truly gorgeous:
    I would study here every day!
    I would study here every day!


  5. The library still owns its original card catalog (which stopped being updated in the 1990s when the catalog became digital), complete with handwritten cards dating back to 1914!
  6. The library owns one of the oldest documents written in Catalan: the Homilies d’ Organyà, a collection of six sermons written in 1204.
  7. The library’s courtyard has its own orange trees! Maybe this is more common in Spain, but I found it to be pretty charming…

    Complete with a fountain!
    Complete with a fountain!
  8. The National Library contains the Frederic Marès Book Museum, a privately-donated collection that illustrates the history of the book from medieval times through today. Definitely a must-see for bibliophiles.
  9. Along with four other libraries in Catalonia, the National Library has partnered with Google to digitize and add books in Spanish and Catalan to the Google Books Library Project. Definitely a great access initiative that will open up Catalonia to the rest of the world!
  10. A local public library is housed in the same building; so if you’re in the mood for something lighter or less academic, it’s just a stroll across the courtyard!
    There is also a lovely children's department (not pictured)!
    There is also a lovely children’s department (not pictured)!


To visit the National Library of Catalonia:

Hospital, 56
08001 Barcelona, Spain
+34-93-270-23-00 (ext. 3155)

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9AM-8PM; Saturday, 9AM-2PM; Sunday, closed


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