We love the Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez in Barcelona. Designed by SUMA Arquitectura, the library—named after Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel García Márquez—is a geometric wonder. Inspired by Ildefonso Cerdá’s design of the city’s Exiample district, the five-story, octagon-shaped building resembles a stack of open books with folded pages. The library also serves as a central community hub, offering workshops on creativity, languages, and digital literacy. And it was recently named the best new library of the year.
On August 21, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) selected Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez as the Best New Public Library of the Year 2023 at the 88th IFLA World Library and Information Conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The library was selected for “its exceptional features and the contribution it has made to the local community…. [It] embodies the spirit of interaction with its surroundings and local culture.”
IFLA bestows the prize annually in collaboration with Danish software company Systematic, with the winning library receiving $5,000 USD along with the award. This year, the competition featured 16 libraries from 11 countries. The finalists included Parramatta Library at PHIVE in Australia, Shanghai Library East in China, and Public Library Janez Vajkard Valvasor Krško in Slovenia.
“I’m always in awe of the high quality, impressive solutions, and innovative features of the new libraries which are entered each year for the Public Library of the Year award,” said Jakob Guillois Lærkes, director of Gladsaxe Libraries in Denmark and chair of the award jury. “The Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez is a great example of how a library can serve as a crucial link between people and communities. The entire building process, including the selection of materials, has been characterized by rigorous sustainable choices and bold and ambitious solutions. The Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez stands as a true role model for future library buildings in years to come.”
Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez management said the library shares the honor with a host of shareholders and community members.
“This recognition is not only for Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez; it’s for the entire team of Barcelona libraries, the library team, the architects and municipality of Barcelona,” said Neus Castellano, managing director of Barcelona Libraries City Network, and Ferran Burguillos, director of Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez. “It’s a gift for the citizens. The democratic and social rights and values are key to our library. This recognition is an award for the Barcelona people.”
If you’d like to learn more about libraries from around the world, look no further than the American Library Association’s (ALA) International Relations Office. The office’s mission is to increase ALA’s presence in the global library community and promote a greater understanding of international librarianship and international library issues, among other things. The office does a lot of cool stuff, like the Sister Library program, which helps U.S. libraries set up partnerships with libraries abroad. Check it out!
Feature photo by Jesús Granada, courtesy of SUMA Arquitectura.