Suz Massen, Chief of Public Services at the Frick Art Reference Library was gracious enough to come in and speak to my Intro to Reference class at Pratt Institute this week and I was surprised and excited to find out that the Frick Library is freely available to the public! This got me wondering what other great libraries are out there which I thought were closed and private that actually allow the general public access without having to apply as a researcher. Here are five amazing libraries you might not realize you have access to:
1.) The Library of Congress
The Main Reading Room in the Library of Congress includes a collection of over 66, 000 volumes, their Computer Catalogue Center, and access to over 800 databases, around 600 of which can only be used on-site at the library. In order to gain access to this beautiful and information-rich environment, you need only get a Reader Identification Card issued by the Library. Cards are free with a valid driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or passport to all those who are 16 years of age and older.
2.) The Strahov Library
The Strahov Library located in the Strahov Monastery in Prague, Czech Republic contains 18,000 religious texts, including many editions of the Bible in numerous languages. Dating back to 1149, this Premonstratensian abbey has an exquisitly decorated library in The Theological Hall which was built in 1679. While the library doens’t lend its exceptionally rare books, you can read them in the public reading room. Admission is 80 CZK, or about $4.00
3.) The Frick Art Reference Library
Originally housed in the bowling alley in the basement of the Frick residence, this elegant library is open free to the public with a valid ID showing that they are over 18 years of age. The Frick Library has a book collection consists of more than 228,000 titles and 3,300 periodicals, a 90,000 volume auction catalog collection, a Photoarchive of more than one million photographic reproductions of works of art from the fourth to the mid-twentieth century, and more than 2,000 subscription databases and e-journals.
4.) The Library of Alexandria
New Library of Alexandria, the New Bibliotheca Alexandrina located in Alexandria, Egypthas has millions of books in its collections, an Internet Archive, six specialized libraries, Four Museums, a planetarium, and more! The Main Library has the largest reading room of the world. Admission to the library is EGP 10, or about $1.65.
5.) The Austrian National Library
The Austrian National Library holds about 8 million objects, among them about 3.5 million books, periodicals, and newspapers and is the largest library in Austria The library is located in the magnificent Hofburg Palace in Vienna. I was fortunate enough to visit this library while attending iPres2010 in Vienna and it was absolutely breathtaking. The Library is open free to anyone over 15 with a valid photo ID a library card, if you don’t have a library card you can purchase a day pass for EUR 3.00 or about $4.
Please list others in the comments!!!