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Arts & culture

Guide to Barcelona’s Public Libraries

Written by Mario

Chances are you’ve been to a library at some point in your life, right? In Barcelona there are nearly 40 public libraries and most districts have at least three. If you’re a Barcelona resident you can get a free library card and benefit from all that they offer!

Discover Barcelona’s libraries

As you may expect, each library has a plethora of books. Although many are in Spanish or Catalan, most have sections with English, French, German, and even Chinese books. They also have great language learning sections. Most libraries have an area for CDs, DVDs, and some even have video games. For the DVDs there are many international options, so you’ll easily be able to change the language or choose subtitles. You’re allowed 15 books at a time, 6 DVDs, and 9 CDs. Be aware that inter-library loans cost 1,5€, this cost also applies if you return items at a different library. Many of the public libraries are also equipped with technical services, and have either one or more computer labs, complete with a scanner and printer. Printing costs 0.10€/page for B&W and 0.20€/page for color. You can reserve a computer in hour blocks and have 2 sessions per day and 20 sessions per month. Throughout the libraries, you also have access to Wi-Fi. In order to use this, you must have a library card as it’s necessary to log in.

The libraries of Barcelona are known for being especially beautiful, with older emblematic libraries such as the National Library of Catalonia, which was once the Santa Creu hospital before being converted in the early 20th century, and the Vila de Gracia Library, known for being more modern and fit for studying. The Jaume Fuster Library, also located in Gracia and named for the accomplished author and member of the Catalan Language Writers’ Association, has thousands of documents, along with various events and workshops throughout the year. The more central and populated districts of Barcelona, such as Sant Martí and Eixample, have the highest number of public libraries. Sant Marti houses the Poblenou-Manuel Arranz library and the Eixample has a number of libraries widely spread out from one another, including the beautiful Biblioteca Sagrada Familia. There are also extensive libraries worth checking out in the various universities around the city, including the Water Deposit Library at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Most of the libraries in Barcelona offer specific activities, workshops, and events. Although most are in Catalan or Spanish there are some that are in English, like English book clubs. What’s also nice is that some libraries have an exhibit area that showcases art from local children or mini exhibitions. Every library has a completely different schedule, with most libraries closing on Sunday and Monday, and weekdays from 2pm to 4pm. However, most days of the week there is at least one library that’s open the whole day. Also, in August most libraries are either closed or have shorter opening hours.

About the author

Mario

Mario is a multi-talented Swiss raised in NY, currently living in Barcelona. He is pursuing a career as a maker and tech educator, which merges his love of technology and education.

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