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The Top Five Children’s Libraries From Around the World

By Abigail Wheetley. Jul 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections

Libraries are not just for adults, and they are a wonderfully international experience. Go anywhere in the world and you’ll find a place to gain access, have fun, and get an education. These are five of our favorite children's libraries from around the world.

1. My Tree House

In Singapore, we find the world’s first “green library” for children. While reading, education, and a safe place for eager minds is at the forefront of any library design, this one also incorporates a pledge to their future with the addition of sustainable material for the entire structure. Features such as LED lighting, and recycled bookshelves are topped by the centerpiece: a treehouse made entirely from recycled bottles donated by supporters. Even the collection itself is greenfifteen thousand of the books are geared towards ideas and information about the environment.

Library3.jpg2. Biblo Tøyen

In Oslo there is a new library that is breaking all the rules, and it’s all for children. Biblo Tøyen has created a space for kids only and it’s completely formatted for their needs. There’s not a Dewey Decimal to be found, but rather simple categories like “Short but good” and “About Robots”. There’s an actual drone that flies around the library, scanning and locating books, and the checkout desk is replaced with a simple imbedded chip system. The place isn’t only books, but also brags of all sorts of additional activities like music and drama and lego building. This wonderful escape is a product of the need for school age children to have a place to go once they’ve aged out of the traditional after school programs.


3. Niños Conarte

A delightful clash of culture and architecture has created a children’s library that is a reflection of geography, heritage, and function. The city of Monterrey, Mexico is full of mountains and industry, and with that vision the children’s library, reflecting peaks and valleys, structure and open spaces, was born. Monterrey, the third largest metro-area in Mexico, is best known for its beautiful mountains and strong industrial backbone. The bookshelves are also the playground and the space is for children of all ages. library2.jpg

4. Safe Haven Library

Burmese orphans at the Safe Haven Orphanage have access to books, games, and educational materials. A project headed by a professor and an architect brought Norwegian architecture students to the needs of young orphaned children. The focus was on matching the structure to the environment, which meant concrete to keep the inside cool,and bamboo for ventilation.


5. Biblioburro

Sometimes when the library mountain is too far, the mountain takes a donkey. This library is brought to the readers via a “Biblioburro” and is managed by Luis Soriano who teaches primary school in Colombia. His mission is to bring books to children in the most rural of places, and with his donkeys Alfa and Beto, he has been making that happen for two decades.


The love of books is universal, and though the access may come differently, or the environment may seem unconventional, the embrace of information is important to children the world over. We celebrate those who take the time to meet these little patrons, wherever they live and whatever their needs.  A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I


My Tree House – Green Library for Kids Information. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2016, here
Welcome to Biblo Tøyen: Norway's First Youth-Only Library for kids ages 10 to 15. Adults not allowed! (2016). Retrieved May 31, 2016, here.
Anagrama. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2016 here. Safe Haven Library / TYIN Tegnestue. (2009). Retrieved June 01, 2016, here

Rascher, M. (2011, August 25). Biblioburro: Library on a Donkey. Open Culture.
Arias, D. (n.d.). Luis Soriano (center) and one of his burros [Photograph found in Colombia]. Retrieved June 1, 2016, here. (Originally photographed 2006, October 16)

Abigail Wheetley
Abigail Wheetley is a freelance writer and librarian living in the midwest. She has her MFA from Southern Illinois University and her MLS from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Cake, Flywheel, and the Journal of Academic Librarianship. She has three children, three cats, and a muse who is also a graphic artist.


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