After a long and noisy day in the city, finding and visiting a library is an experience that every visitor should have. The calm and relaxing atmosphere of a library cannot be compared to anything. Luckily, in Madrid, there is a great variety of them.
In libraries, people cannot only enjoy reading but also other activities like cafeteria, wine tasting, reading club, art exhibition, among others. Even though technology keeps on advancing and is part of daily life, reading from books is still one of the richest and most relaxing activities. Let’s take a look at the most peculiar libraries you can find in Madrid.
In the huge variety of available libraries, there are four which are the most outstanding and popular:
- “Tipos infames”: is located in San Joaquín, 3. It is characterized by its mixture of books and wines. Every day, it has an assembled audience either for a book’s presentation or for a wine tasting, cultural exhibition, workshop, etc. It specializes in independent literary narrative which turned this library in one of the biggest literary meeting places of the city.
- “La Central”: this library is located in Postigo de San Martin, 8. Its most distinguishing characteristic is connected to its building: it is a beautiful house-palace of three floors which contains a cafeteria and restaurant called “El Bistró”. Its wooden stairs and decorated yard give this mansion an old library distinctive touch. Its philosophy is to keep reading as a means of attaining essential culture. It also has local and international bibliography. Finally, it includes an event schedule and courses destined to encourage reading.
- “Arrebato Libros”: is a traditional library with a strong focus on buying and selling books. It is located in La Palma, 21. It has literary latest updates and headings of its own publishing house. It is inclined towards poetry and it organizes the festival called “POETAS” which will be carried out on October 12.
- “Cervantes y Compañía”: is a nice library, in Pez, 27, Metro Noviciado. It has a wide variety of books and it has a peculiar characteristic: its basement is designed in such a way that it can host literary birthdays, writers’ presentations, courses, and workshops. It is a cultural place within the same library but it cannot be seen from the outside. It has a kind of “hidden function” only known for those who come inside the library.
Libraries for children
The great number of libraries in Madrid enables the possibility of a variety of options in the sense that each person can find one which matches his/her own interests. For those parents with children who want to share a cultural moment in family, there are four libraries. First, “Tres Rosas Amarillas” is full of “pop up” and foldout books, Chinese shadows, and cardboard theaters. It is meant mainly for little children. Secondly, “Ciento volando” specializes in children and young people since it has storytellers and workshops specially designed for this audience on the ground floor. While children enjoy reading, adults can have a coffee on the upper floor and they can also enjoy a book; all kinds of publics are welcome. Third, “La Mar de Letras” is an entertaining space designed to encourage children’s creativity with storytellers and workshops. Finally, “El Dragón Lector” is a passionate library with children’s literature, activities like songs, storytelling, and poetry in both, Spanish and English. A characteristic which distinguishes it from other libraries is that writers and illustrators are given a prize which is called “Premio Editorial”, “Dragón Ilustrado” and “Pequeño Dragón”.
Nowadays, social movements are very important and affect every aspect of society. That is why it isn’t strange that there are libraries with a strong social presence focused on a particular social issue. Within this category, the most popular are:
- “Librería de Mujeres: located in San Cristóbal, 17. As its name suggests, it is a place dedicated especially to spread women’s literature together with its feminist reasoning and ideology. In addition, conferences are also organized with feminist activists and thinkers, theater, workshops, poetry recitations, among others. Crafts made by women can be bought.
- “Traficantes de Sueños”: is located in Duque de Alba, 13. Besides working as a library, is a space for screening, presentations and different workshops related to social movements. It specializes in the essay and politico-cultural narrative.
- Tuuulibrería: is about a library which focuses on solidarity and it works under the motto “Tu decides el valor de los libros” (You decide on the book’s prize). It was created with the idea of preventing book’s destruction and encouraging reading in the lower sectors of society which not always have access to first hand books. This library encourages all people to donate books they don’t read anymore.
Madrid is a city which receives people from all over the world. For that reason, it has libraries which have texts in different languages. “Pasajes” is an international library of great reputation. In the year 2016, it was awarded by Financial Times and Sello de Calidad de Librerías as one of the best 5 multilingual libraries of the world. It has more than 70.000 books which are ideal for those who love languages. “Desperate Literature” is a trilingual library which mixes Anglo-Saxon, Francophone, and Latin American literature. Its owners also have libraries in Santorini and Brooklyn. This place proposes an intercultural exchange: texts are published in a bilingual magazine and events and literary awards are celebrated.
Definitely, the literary offer in Madrid is very extensive. For book fans or visitors who want to relax after a day of tourism, literature is available along the city.