Read the room: Five great libraries to explore

Radcliffe Camera, The Bodleian Library

From one of the largest libraries in the world to a unique collection of women's writing, we highlight five reading rooms that will keep bookworms happy for hours.

Discover more about Beatrix Potter and the Lake District at the Armitt, or see the desk Jane Austen wrote at in the British Library.

Whether you're looking for a place to work, visiting an exhibition or have kids in the family who are celebrating World Book Day, these five libraries are treasure troves of literature and history that will satiate the most enquiring of minds.

And if you have a National Art Pass, you'll get great benefits at lots of these venues.

Discover five libraries to visit with an Art Pass

Chawton House, Library

Chawton House

Set in the home and working estate of Jane Austen's brother Edward, Chawton House Library is a registered charity with a unique collection of books focusing on women's writing in English from 1600 to 1830. The library holds early editions and rare works by women, including Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Reading Room, British Library

British Library

Established as an independent institution in 1973, the British Library is one of the largest libraries in the world, with over 150 million items in its collection. In addition to newly published books, the library is home to several manuscripts of historic significance, from Beowulf to Magna Carta. Highlights include Shakespeare's first folio, the world’s earliest maps and Michelangelo’s anatomical illustrations. There's also an exciting exhibitions programme, which draws upon the library's own collections and loans from elsewhere.

A student’s perspective from the Duke Humfrey’s Library, The Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

Combining 28 different divisions, the Bodleian is the largest university library system in the UK. It is also a major visitor attraction, with the Bodleian Old Library drawing over 300,000 visitors a year. The Bodleian holds 13 million items, including manuscripts, archives, rare books, printed ephemera, maps, music and digitised collections, and hosts a programme of temporary exhibitions.

Armitt Library and Museum Centre interior

The Armitt: Museum, Gallery, Library

Reflecting the social history and development of the Lake District, the Armitt Museum and Library houses books, records, photographs and artworks related to the area and spanning hundreds of years, exploring the impact of the environment on writers from Wordsworth to Beatrix Potter, and vice versa.

Reading Rooms, National Library of Scotland

National Library of Scotland

Housing millions of books, manuscripts, music and maps covering virtually every subject, the collections at the National Library of Scotland span the centuries from early times to the digital age. They chart the global and historical influence of Scots at home and abroad, while also recording and reflecting the ideas and cultures of the world. There's a regular programme of free exhibitions and displays throughout the year and a comprehensive events programme.

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