A visit to a library is an excursion filled with possibility and inspiration. Who knows what treasures you’ll find while browsing the shelves?!
Thanks to Instagram, we can enjoy a sneak-peek into remarkable libraries and archives all over the world. We’ve rounded up 45 of the best library and archive Instagram accounts, so your scroll is filled with images that fire up your imagination.
A few things to note:
A caveat: This list is not comprehensive, although we did try to represent as much of the globe as possible. Many libraries focus their content on their local communities — which is as it should be; we love a library as a community hub — but that means their content might not be relevant to you. So we chose accounts that post frequently and share images that cover broad interests.
Click through! We didn’t include the captions here, but please do click through to read the informative and surprising details that go along with these images. All of these institutions are doing a great job of not only sharing visuals but also putting them in context. We love context!
What did we miss? If we’ve missed something great, please share in the comments!
These institutions regularly share timely and timeless historical documents, vintage images, rare books, and other wonderful bookish delights with detailed captions.
These libraries are home to collections of rare books, maps, and other ephemera that grew from private libraries of the past and are now open to the public. Many are research libraries with only a small part of their vast collections available for viewing, so Instagram is a great way to look inside.
A research library, art museum, and botanical garden established by Henry E. Huntington (railroad magnate and book collector), located in San Marino, California.
Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin as a library; holds a massive collection of manuscripts and printed materials from the 17th to 19th centuries.
The central research library of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Home to the world’s most extensive Shakespeare collection, located in Washington, DC.
At the University of Manchester, it’s home to one of the world’s richest collections of books, manuscripts, maps, and artworks.
Located in New York City, it was once the private library of J.P. Morgan and is now a museum, research library, music venue, and architectural landmark. (Our write-up here.)
The research library at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
The Rosenbach in Philadelphia, PA, offers exhibitions, programs, and tours showcasing rare books, manuscripts, and art. The heart of their collection is Bram Stoker’s original handwritten notes for Dracula.
This is America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts, located in NYC.
One of the oldest independent membership libraries in the US, founded in 1807 by the Anthology Club of Boston, MA.
The research libraries at the University of Oxford, UK.
Research and lending library at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.
The humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin.
The collection of rare books, manuscripts, and university archives at Brown University in Providence, RI.
The rare book library and literary archive of the Yale University Library in New Haven, CT.
Unlike libraries, archives are not lending institutions but instead collect and provide access to unpublished materials to preserve institutional and cultural memory. They’re often also tasked with preserving rare materials.
This group is responsible for preserving and protecting records at the US National Archives, so they’re safely available to the public.
The preservation team at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives collects, preserves, and makes available the history of the Smithsonian Institution.
Photos and explanations of the daily activities of the Conservation & Collection Care section at The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, UK.
A collaborative book and paper lab that serves the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
Pop culture, medical ephemera, historical issues, and even a cat — these libraries are home to curated books and other objects related to specific topics.
The Wiener Holocaust Library is the world’s oldest Holocaust archive and Britain’s largest collection on the Nazi era.
The historical and rare book library within the Yale School of Medicine; the collection has been building for more than 800 years.
Located at Bowling Green State University, this library is a treasure trove of zines, comics, toys, romance, mysteries, and more.
Also at Bowling Green, the BGSU Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives are a deep collection of music, books, and recordings across genres and history.
Founded in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas, the American Antiquarian Society is a society and research library for materials printed in the US up to 1876.
Delightful photos of Little Free Libraries from all over the place.
A retro peek in to Disney’s past.
We couldn’t resist these cats who love to read — or at least lie on top of books.
Lucy is a rogue cat that loves books and hangs out at North Central College’s Oesterle Library.
Can be found at the New Castle Public Library in New Castle, PA.
His forever home is at the Mystic & Noank Library in Mystic, CT.
Top image courtesy of Will van Wingerden/Unsplash.
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