It contains photographs of twenty-three libraries including the National Library of Austria in Vienna, The Mazarine Library in Paris, Trinity College Library in Dublin, and The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Although I have visited many of the cities mentioned in this book, for some insane reason I have only been to one of the libraries - The Library of Congress. (You can read about that adventure here.)
Here is what James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, wrote in his forward to this volume:
As you move through the pages of The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World, I urge you to keep in mind not only the beauty of these libraries but also the civilizing and educational power of books and libraries. The countries and cultures that built these magnificent structures have evolved, but the body of knowledge resting on their shelves is a large part of the human memory that will have future uses that we cannot yet foresee. This reminds me of yet another inscription that greets me before entering my office at the Library of Congress: litera scripta manet. The written word endures.
I will share with you some of the photographs in the book and perhaps one day we shall meet among their many treasures.
The Great Hall of the Library of Congress
The Benedictine Abbey Library of Admont
Wren Library, Trinity College