Staff Author: Zoë Crabtree, Marketing & Communications Team
Originally from central California, Zoë came to Western Mass to study gender, theatre, and German at Mount Holyoke College. Studying abroad her junior year added the Netherlands to her list of foreign destinations: Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Norway, Belgium, and Canada. Zoë escaped from the North East’s cold winters for two years to get her MA in Performance Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, but is happy to be back in the land of bike trails, farmers markets, and mountains. She is passionate about storytelling, LGBTQ+ communities, and cooking with her partner and their cats Milo & Freya.
We’ve combed through our program destinations and picked our favorite study abroad destinations for book lovers. Read through to be introduced to your new favorite reading spot.
1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid | Buenos Aires, Argentina
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a bookstore in central Buenos Aires, but it wasn’t always. Opened in 1919, the building lived its first life as Teatro Grand Splendid, a performing arts venue. In 1929, it transformed itself into a cinema and became the first in Buenos Aires to show films with sound.
In 2000, it was bought by Grupo Ilhsa, a company that owns 40 book stores, and transformed again – this time into an opulent book-lovers paradise.
Spend all day wandering the stacks that occupy the floor where the theatre’s seats used to stand. Or curl up in a reading nook tucked into one of the theatre’s old box seats.
When you get hungry, buy a coffee in the cafe that now operates on what was once the stage.
It’ll certainly be a highlight of your time in Argentina.
2. Strahov Library | Prague, Czech Republic
The Strahov Library at Strahov Monastery is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture built in the 17th century. It contains over 200,000 volumes, including over 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 first prints stored in a special depository.
The library isn’t generally open to the public, but it’s regularly on the list of La Vida Local activities that Leah (CISabroad Prague Site Director) organizes for her students in Prague. The photos above are from spring 2019, when CISers in Prague went on a private tour of the library.
Spring 2019 CISers took a tour of Strahov Library, a magnificent example of Baroque architecture built in the 17th century. Our charming guide filled us in on the history of the monestary as well as all the amazing details and artifacts the library houses. #CISabroad #cisabroadprague #studyabroad #studyabroadlife #cespprague #universityofeconomicsprague #ecesprague #charlesuniversity #strahovlibrary #baroque #praguearchitecture #ohiouniversity #ouohyeah #seatonhall #universityofsouthcarolina #nicholscollege #westernkentuckyuniversity #emmanuelcollege
3. Trinity College Library | Dublin, Ireland
The Trinity College Library, in addition to being GORGEOUS, is the only Irish library that has a copy of everything published in the country right there available to the public. That’s because it’s a “copyright library,” which means that publishers in Ireland must deposit a copy of all their publications there, free of charge.
The Long Room (pictured above) houses over 200,000 of Trinity College Dublin’s oldest books.
The library also houses the renowned Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript containing the four gospels of the New Testament in Latin.
Go live your Harry Potter dreams beneath its vaulted ceiling.