They are usually old, dusty places with little design appeal.
But a cutting-edge architectural firm from Denmark is fast redefining how we see the humble library - as their latest project has proven, this week.
The Tianjin Binhai Public Library, located in northeastern China, was recently unveiled by MVRDV to widespread interest after a three-year process.
Their work, which is helping to build a cultural complex in the city of Tianjin, has resulted in a five storey creation which is deliberately designed to look like a human eyeball.
Spanning an enormous 362,744 square feet of space, the terraced shelves are built into the walls where they create both stairs and seating areas.
Impressively, it boasts a staggering 1.2million books, making it a bibliophile's paradise.
Cutting-edge: The Tianjin Binhai Public Library is deliberately designed by Dutch firm MVRDV to look like a 3D eyeball
Smart design: Spanning an enormous 362,744 square feet, the terraced shelves create both stairs and seating areas
Read all about it: Hidden behind the books are a variety of reading rooms, offices and lounges set along the interior walls
Too cool: Designed by trendy Dutch firm MVRDV, the stunning five-storey building is part of a wider cultural complex
Truly stunning: The dramatic structure boasts a staggering 1.2million books within its curved walls
Fast: Epic 33,700-square-metre building was completed just three years after the designer company's first sketch
Insight: One of the library's reading rooms is visible from this angle, while two guests can be seen taking a selfie
Incredible: The staggered bookshelves create a multi-layered interior which add both light and shade to the design
Vision: The cofounders of design company MVRDV have described the library as an 'urban living room' because it's so cosy
Looking good: From a distance, the building's atrium can be see forming the 'pupil' of the eyeball