360-Degree Panoramic Photos Celebrate the Majestic Beauty of Grand Libraries

360 panorama library

George Peabody Library, Baltimore

Who doesn't love a gorgeous library? Photographer Thomas R. Schiff proves you don't have to leave the United States to find stunning library interiors. His set of 360-degree panoramas highlight the majesty of these spaces and are now on display in The Library Exhibition. 

By expanding out the architecture, Schiff reminds us of the grandeur libraries possess. They are spaces that were originally reserved for the elite, only opening to the public thanks to Benjamin Franklin in 1790. “I became fascinated by how the history of the United States is reflected in our civic buildings,” Schiff writes in his book, “how the great old libraries on the East Coast, of two centuries ago, evolved into dynamic, contemporary public spaces like the Seattle Public Library, or the Salt Lake City library.”

Unfurling over long spans, the architecture itself reads like a book, telling the story of the era in which it was built. Displaying them as the great cultural spaces of our country, each library “acts as momentum to the potential of our civilization”.

Schiff has long been fascinated by these literary spaces and in anticipation of his monograph, The Library Book (which is set for publication on April 1), the photographer's work is now on exhibition until April 20, 2017 at the Aperture Gallery in New York.

panoramas of american libraries

Historical Society of Pennsylvannia Library, Philadelphia

thomas r schiff library photos

State Library of Iowa Law Library, Des Moines

360 degree photo thomas schiff

Lincoln Public Library, Illinois

360 panorama library

Boston Athenaeum

panoramas of american libraries

Herb Caen Magazines and Newspapers Center, San Francisco Public Library

Aperture Foundation: Website | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to use images by the Aperture Foundation.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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