This is a magnificently illustrated exploration of some of the world's finest, most innovative, and spectacular libraries. "Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future." So said the iconic Ray Bradbury, and indeed history as we know it begins with the invention of the library. Libraries is a visual exploration of how cultures around the world have responded to the impulse to protect and interact with the written word; for the story of the human experience is told not only in the books on a library's shelves, but also in its architecture. Lavishly illustrated with stunning photography, readers are invited into the most ornate libraries, lauded universities and innovative design works on earth; the mannerist and the ultra-modern, the opulent and the austere. As libraries and their architecture continue to evolve at breakneck speed, Libraries captures the particular atmosphere of hushed reverence evoked by these cornerstones of society.