Barcelona was established as a literary capital with the best public library in the world

Barcelona was established as a literary capital with the best public library in the world


The Catalan capital tops the list of 25 cities with the highest number of public libraries per 100,000 inhabitants, compiled by the World Forum for City Culture.

David Lombrana
04/08/2024 05.30 h.

“Because there is so much dust in your books library general-You can measure culture People.” If we take the reference suggested by the author and the American Nobel Prize John Steinbeckprobably, Barcelona It would be one of the cities around the world that would give the most credit when measuring the degree of its culture, because it not only holds the title UNESCO City of Artsbut it also has the best library in the world, according to International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), is part of the list of the 25 cities with the highest number of public libraries per 100,000 population. This is reflected in the data you published Global Cities Culture Forumthe world's leading network Cities Creative people Which places culture as one of its pillars, and which considers that the Catalan capital “has made an important contribution to world culture,” and with 2.44 public libraries per 100,000 inhabitants, it ranks 24th in this classification.

Barcelona has 2.44 public libraries per 100,000 inhabitants

The list is mainly topped by European countries. Warsaw ranks first with approximately 12 public libraries per 100,000 inhabitants, closely followed by Seoul with 11.5, and Schengen (5.4) the only non-European region in Top 10. Brussels and Paris, with 10 and 8 libraries respectively, occupy third and fourth places, and stand out very well above the rest of the cities, which share more similar numbers: Stockholm (5.9), Vienna (5.9), Helsinki (5.7), Milan (5.9), 5.4. ) and Edinburgh (5.3).

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40 libraries in Barcelona recovering from the pandemic

With 40 libraries thatBarcelona Cultural Data ObservatoryPublished by Barcelona City Council Barcelona cultureBarcelona is far from being part of this Top 10. It shares very similar records with Tokyo (2.84), Buenos Aires (2.8) or Los Angeles (2.5), as well as Melbourne (2.4), New York (2.4) or Austin (2.3).

However, the use of public libraries in Barcelona is on the rise: the same observatory indicates that, as a whole, they received 4,782,702 visits in 2022, compared to 3,960,455 in 2021 and 2,497,769 in 2020. Although not growing at the same rate, The number of loans has also risen, exceeding three million in 2022. However, these are record numbers that were much higher in 2019, before the Covid-19 crisis: 6,729,140 visits and 3,436,920 loans.

The best library in the world is in Barcelona

the library Gabriel Gracia Márquez Last year, it was considered the best public library in the world at the World Library and Information Congress organized by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and held in Rotterdam. The library specializing in Latin American literature is the third largest facility in Barcelona's public network. It is a six-storey building with a wooden and glass structure, with an area of ​​​​about 4,000 square metres, and bears the name of one of the most famous authors of the twentieth century. It is estimated that more than 30 million copies of his works have been sold a hundred years of isolationwhich has been translated into 49 languages.

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A bust of Gabriel García Márquez in one of the library's reading rooms | ACN

Among the best libraries ranked in the Catalan capital according to time outThere is the library Joan MiroIt is a space built in the shape of a boat that simulates his daily movement between knowledge. It was the first building in the city designed as a library and the first to contain an automated catalog. The facility opened in 1990, but due to the current climate, the surrounding water has recently been withdrawn.

Although it was born as a workers' cooperative, 11 years later, in 2001, another prestigious library was opened, the Library of Alexandria. Barceloneta Library – La Fraternitat. Promoted to ensure equal opportunities and free access to information, training, entertainment and culture for citizens, it is distinguished by its mission of regional service, rootedness in the neighborhood and thematic specialization in areas such as catering and hospitality.

More information: García Márquez Library in Barcelona, ​​the best library in the world

Another popular cultural space in the county town is Sant Pau Santa Creu Library, the library in the Raval neighborhood, which today occupies the building that was part of the old Hospital de la Santa Creu, moved from the beginning of the last century to the current Hospital de Sant Pau. The Santa Creu Children's Library and the Saint Pau Youth Library were established separately in 1940 and 1941, respectively, in different areas of the Santa Creu Hospital Complex. In 1970, the Sant Pau Library moved to the building it now occupies, and five years later the Santa Creu Library joined it. Since 1997, it has been one library that includes several areas to serve audiences of different ages.

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Exterior view of Copenhagen Library | iStock

Although these are some of the most popular bookstores in Barcelona, ​​there are true temples around the world capable of losing any reader. One could be Stuttgart Public Library, being one of the largest in the world, was opened in 2011, and surprisingly was designed by a Korean architect. Specifically, moving to South Korea, where we must remember that its capital is the second city in the world with the largest number of public libraries per 100,000 inhabitants, highlights Sejong National Library Because of its design, as with other infrastructures spread around the planet, e.g Alexandria Library (Egypt) Oh there Copenhagen Library (Denmark).

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