Central Library named among U.S. most beautiful libraries

St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library was named among the most beautiful libraries in the United States by Fodor’s Travel.

The designation appeared in the June 11, 2022 article, “11 Most Beautiful Libraries in the United States, opens a new window,” written by Molly O'Brien for fodors.com, opens a new window.

Central Library, the flagship location of the St. Louis Public Library’s 16-location system, boasts some of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts and Neo-Classical Architecture in the United States. Designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1912, the structure which occupies a full city block is a historic treasure. 

Exquisite replicas of features from the Pantheon, Vatican, and Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library bring the Italian Renaissance to life in the heart of downtown St. Louis. An extensive $70 million award-winning renovation of Central Library led by George Nikolajevich with Cannon Design was completed in 2012 and showcases a masterful blend of classical and modern architectural styles while preserving Central Library’s unparalleled beauty for generations to come.

"St. Louis' great Central Library continues to inspire 110 years after it opened its doors and 10 years after its restoration and renewal," said Waller McGuire, St. Louis Public Library CEO. "Fodor's recognition of our magnificent, classical building offering state-of-the-art library services to all is wonderful to read, and the Library is grateful to St. Louis for making it possible. We invite St. Louisans to be a tourist in their own town and come visit one of the treasures of their city."

Visitors are encouraged to stroll through Central Library, taking in the architectural grandeur, or join us for an architectural tour of this remarkable beauty, led by highly knowledgeable docent volunteers. Free, docent-led tours are available for individuals and groups on Mondays at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and on Saturdays at 11 a.m, noon, and 1 p.m. Private tours are available by appointment. For more information or to arrange a tour, call 314-338-7792 or email web@slpl.org, opens a new window.