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Take a Look Inside Mexico City's Massive, Gorgeous Library

Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City is gigantic. The gorgeous structure, which covers 38,000 square meters (that's over 400,000 square feet), holds more than 470,000 books

Designed by Alberto Kalach, the "megalibrary" features transparent walls, hive-like bookshelves, and mismatched floors. Visitors can take in a massive white whale skeleton covered in graphite rings by artist Gabriel Orozco. Outside, there's a garden boasting lush flowers and greenery. 

The giant library, which took three years to build, is actually five libraries melded into one, with each section dedicated to some of Mexico's greatest thinkers: Ali Chumacero, Carlos Monsiváis, José Luis Martínez, Jaime García Terrés, and Antonio Castro Leal. The concept for each library was developed by a different design team, who were asked to pay homage to the materials the specific space contains. 

It's hard not to feel miniscule when walking through this unusual, massive structure. Visiting Mexico City? You may want to devote several hours—or even a full day, if you can—to browsing its vast collection. 

Mark Hogan, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Mark Hogan, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

LWYang, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

[h/t: LostatEMinor.com, AtlasObscura.com]

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A Chicago Library Needs Help Transcribing 17th-Century Spellbooks
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Interested in dabbling in 17th-century witchcraft in your spare time? The Newberry Library in Chicago could use your help. As Quartz reports, the independent research library is calling on citizens to translate and transcribe three books dealing with spells and witches that date back to the 1600s.

The manuscripts—The Book of Magical Charms, The Commonplace Book, and Cases of Conscience Concerning Witchcraft—have been scanned and uploaded to the library's open transcription portal. Consisting of archaically spelled English and Latin text handwritten on yellowed, water-stained pages, the content is difficult for most modern-day readers to make sense of. But those who can decipher it will be treated to such eye-opening passages as a remedy for nosebleeds, a reflection on the ethics of witch hanging, and one medicinal use for a dead man's tooth.

Pages from the texts are available to view online with text boxes below for readers to contribute their transcriptions and translations. Several portions have already been decoded, like a section on activating a magic seal ("write in virgin parchment the blood of a lamb") and tips for conjuring ("work should be with a crescent moon"). Once transcriptions have been written and reviewed by the library, they will be added to the institution’s digital collection. There anyone will be able to browse through centuries-old advice on dealing with menstrual pain and contacting the dead, even if they can't understand centuries-old English.

[h/t Quartz]

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This Chinese Library's Interior Is Designed to Look Like an Infinite Tunnel of Books
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The Chinese city of Yangzhou is known for its graceful arched bridges and proximity to the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Architects kept these unique local features in mind while designing Zhongshuge Yangzhou, a new bookstore and library that was completed in 2016.

Designed by Shanghai studio XL-Muse Architects, the building has black, mirrored floors and arched ceilings that symbolize Yangzhou’s famous waterways and overpasses. The floor reflects the store’s curving shelves to create the illusion of a never-ending tunnel of books—a true bibliophile’s dream.

Learn more about Yangzhou’s unique library/bookstore below, courtesy of Great Big Story.

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