The most beautiful library in every US state

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Libraries are a timeless treasure.

Even as ereaders make paper books less necessary, people still crave a physical space to surround ourselves with knowledge. When done right, those spaces can be works of art.

To find the most beautiful libraries in each state (and a couple bonus libraries at the end), Business Insider looked at past and current award-winners as judged by the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association awards, and relied on our own judgment for states who have never won.

Make sure to give these a look on your next road trip.

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Alabama: The Birmingham Public Library consists of 19 branches and is one of the largest library systems in the southeastern US.

Alabama: The Birmingham Public Library consists of 19 branches and is one of the largest library systems in the southeastern US.

Alaska: The Homer Public Library won the 2007 Honor Award, AIA Alaska Chapter, for its modern design and use of local materials.

Alaska: The Homer Public Library won the 2007 Honor Award, AIA Alaska Chapter, for its modern design and use of local materials.

Arizona: The Arabian Library in Scottsdale won the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its soft, sloping lines and beautiful wood construction.

Arizona: The Arabian Library in Scottsdale won the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its soft, sloping lines and beautiful wood construction.

Arkansas: The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center in Little Rock earned a 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its glass facade and low carbon footprint.

Arkansas: The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center in Little Rock earned a 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its glass facade and low carbon footprint.

California: The Los Angeles Central Library is the third-largest library in the US, featuring a mix of Mediterranean and Egyptian influences.

California: The Los Angeles Central Library is the third-largest library in the US, featuring a mix of Mediterranean and Egyptian influences.

Colorado: Made of sandstone, the Crested Butte historical library was built in 1883 and was originally used as a two-room schoolhouse.

Colorado: Made of sandstone, the Crested Butte historical library was built in 1883 and was originally used as a two-room schoolhouse.

Connecticut: Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, located in New Haven, features a sunken sculpture garden and translucent marble windows.

Connecticut: Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, located in New Haven, features a sunken sculpture garden and translucent marble windows.

Delaware: The Wilmington Public Library was founded in the late 18th century. The building has been renovated several times since, though the facade retains its regal aesthetic.

Delaware: The Wilmington Public Library was founded in the late 18th century. The building has been renovated several times since, though the facade retains its regal aesthetic.

Florida: The Gulf Gate Library in Sarasota opened less than a year ago but has already been recognized by the AIA Florida chapter for its flexible meeting spaces and warm, inviting design.

Florida: The Gulf Gate Library in Sarasota opened less than a year ago but has already been recognized by the AIA Florida chapter for its flexible meeting spaces and warm, inviting design.

Georgia: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Gallery at the University of Georgia lives inside a handsome brick building in Athens.

Georgia: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Gallery at the University of Georgia lives inside a handsome brick building in Athens.

Hawaii: Hawaii's State Library, located in Honolulu, was originally funded by Andrew Carnegie and is still expectedly tropical.

Hawaii: Hawaii's State Library, located in Honolulu, was originally funded by Andrew Carnegie and is still expectedly tropical.

Idaho: The University of Idaho, located in the town of Moscow, is the largest library in the entire state with nearly 10,000 periodical subscriptions and 1 million books.

Idaho: The University of Idaho, located in the town of Moscow, is the largest library in the entire state with nearly 10,000 periodical subscriptions and 1 million books.

Illinois: The Chicago Public Library's Chinatown branch won the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its sleek design and emphasis on community involvement.

Illinois: The Chicago Public Library's Chinatown branch won the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its sleek design and emphasis on community involvement.

Indiana: The newly renovated Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, features a new entrance while keeping its iconic facade.

Indiana: The newly renovated Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, features a new entrance while keeping its iconic facade.

Iowa: The Cedar Rapids Public Library was a recipient of the 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its futuristic exterior design.

Iowa: The Cedar Rapids Public Library was a recipient of the 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its futuristic exterior design.

Kansas: The Lawrence Public Library in the town of Lawrence uses a combination of glass, wood, and concrete that won it a 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Kansas: The Lawrence Public Library in the town of Lawrence uses a combination of glass, wood, and concrete that won it a 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Kentucky: The Louisville Free Public Library won an Honor Award as part of the AIA's 2016 Kentucky Design Awards for its overlapping wooden facade.

Kentucky: The Louisville Free Public Library won an Honor Award as part of the AIA's 2016 Kentucky Design Awards for its overlapping wooden facade.

Louisiana: The Rosa Keller Library in New Orleans was named one of the best new pieces of architecture in 2012 by New Orleans Magazine.

Louisiana: The Rosa Keller Library in New Orleans was named one of the best new pieces of architecture in 2012 by New Orleans Magazine.

Maine: The Portland Public Library was once a cold and uninviting building, but a new facade installed in 2012 earned it a AIA Maine Honor Award and an AIA New England Design Award.

Maine: The Portland Public Library was once a cold and uninviting building, but a new facade installed in 2012 earned it a AIA Maine Honor Award and an AIA New England Design Award.

Maryland: The multi-floored George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University was built in the mid-18th century and is still open to the public.

Maryland: The multi-floored George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University was built in the mid-18th century and is still open to the public.

Massachusetts: Overhauled in 2014, the Sawyer Library at Williams College, in Williamstown, was recently named one of AIA and ALA's best new libraries.

Massachusetts: Overhauled in 2014, the Sawyer Library at Williams College, in Williamstown, was recently named one of AIA and ALA's best new libraries.

Michigan: At the University of Michigan Law School, the William W. Cook Legal Library won the AIA Michigan 2011 Design Excellence Awards for its recent restoration and renovation.

Michigan: At the University of Michigan Law School, the William W. Cook Legal Library won the AIA Michigan 2011 Design Excellence Awards for its recent restoration and renovation.

Minnesota: The Minneapolis Central Library won the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Award. It contains no interior load-bearing walls, making for a stunning layout.

Minnesota: The Minneapolis Central Library won the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Award. It contains no interior load-bearing walls, making for a stunning layout.

Mississippi: The James H. White Library at Mississippi Valley State University, in Itta Bena, won a 2014 AIA Mississippi Merit Award for its renovation into an open, inviting structure.

Mississippi: The James H. White Library at Mississippi Valley State University, in Itta Bena, won a 2014 AIA Mississippi Merit Award for its renovation into an open, inviting structure.

Missouri: The Kansas City Public Library features a towering row of famous books on its facade, including "Catch-22" and Plato's "Republic."

Missouri: The Kansas City Public Library features a towering row of famous books on its facade, including "Catch-22" and Plato's "Republic."

Montana: The Billings Public Library won the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Buildings Award for its glass design and sprawling 66,000 square feet of reading space.

Montana: The Billings Public Library won the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Buildings Award for its glass design and sprawling 66,000 square feet of reading space.

Nebraska: The State Library, located in downtown Lincoln, is the oldest library in the state. It was approved in 1855, when Nebraska was still a territory.

Nebraska: The State Library, located in downtown Lincoln, is the oldest library in the state. It was approved in 1855, when Nebraska was still a territory.

Nevada: The Prim Library at Sierra Nevada College, in the town of Incline Village, delivers a rustic feel in the heart of the forest.

Nevada: The Prim Library at Sierra Nevada College, in the town of Incline Village, delivers a rustic feel in the heart of the forest.

New Hampshire: The main library at Philips Exeter Academy has been recognized by the AIA time and again for its lofty, circular-designed mezzanines.

New Hampshire: The main library at Philips Exeter Academy has been recognized by the AIA time and again for its lofty, circular-designed mezzanines.

New Jersey: At Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, the library was modeled after a 4th-century Roman church and is spread across three levels.

New Jersey: At Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, the library was modeled after a 4th-century Roman church and is spread across three levels.

New Mexico: In the town of Artesia, the Artesia Public Library blends a traditional low-slung design with sleeker glass elements.

New Mexico: In the town of Artesia, the Artesia Public Library blends a traditional low-slung design with sleeker glass elements.

New York: The New York Public Library's main branch, built between 1897-1911, is a soaring and magnificent piece of the city's history.

New York: The New York Public Library's main branch, built between 1897-1911, is a soaring and magnificent piece of the city's history.

North Carolina: In 2013, the James B. Hunt library, which is located in Raleigh, received the AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its wide-open reading spaces and silvery exterior.

North Carolina: In 2013, the James B. Hunt library, which is located in Raleigh, received the AIA/ALA Library Building Award for its wide-open reading spaces and silvery exterior.

North Dakota: The North Dakota State Library, in Bismarck, is a handsome, column-adorned building that has been in operation since 1907.

North Dakota: The North Dakota State Library, in Bismarck, is a handsome, column-adorned building that has been in operation since 1907.

Ohio: Located in Columbus, the palatial William Oxley Thompson Library won the 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Ohio: Located in Columbus, the palatial William Oxley Thompson Library won the 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Oklahoma: In Oklahoma City the Northwest Library was designed to let in plenty of daylight while staying durable, since it features rooms for storm safety.

Oklahoma: In Oklahoma City the Northwest Library was designed to let in plenty of daylight while staying durable, since it features rooms for storm safety.

Oregon: For his work on the Beaverton City Library — a vaulted and rustic structure — architect Thomas Hacker won the 2013 Region Firm Award from the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region.

Oregon: For his work on the Beaverton City Library — a vaulted and rustic structure — architect Thomas Hacker won the 2013 Region Firm Award from the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region.

Pennsylvania: The Free Library of Philadelphia opened in 1894 and has retained its sense of elegance and enormity for more than century.

Pennsylvania: The Free Library of Philadelphia opened in 1894 and has retained its sense of elegance and enormity for more than century.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island School of Design's Fleet Library relies on a unique mixture of old and new to create a welcoming place to study or read.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island School of Design's Fleet Library relies on a unique mixture of old and new to create a welcoming place to study or read.

South Carolina: In St. Helena Island, the St. Helena Branch Library creates a cozy environment with lattice-enclosed reading spaces inside, and relaxing open spaces outside.

South Carolina: In St. Helena Island, the St. Helena Branch Library creates a cozy environment with lattice-enclosed reading spaces inside, and relaxing open spaces outside.

South Dakota: The University of South Dakota library features light-filled floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the Vermillion campus.

South Dakota: The University of South Dakota library features light-filled floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the Vermillion campus.

Tennessee: The Bellevue Library in Nashville won the 2015 AIA Tennessee Merit Award for its flexible design that caters to large groups or intimate gatherings.

Tennessee: The Bellevue Library in Nashville won the 2015 AIA Tennessee Merit Award for its flexible design that caters to large groups or intimate gatherings.

Texas: Formerly a Walmart, the McAllen Public Library gives kids ample room to roam around and find secret hiding spots to read. It won a 2013 AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture.

Texas: Formerly a Walmart, the McAllen Public Library gives kids ample room to roam around and find secret hiding spots to read. It won a 2013 AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture.

Utah: Built in 2003, Salt Lake City's Main Library could pass as a sunlit shopping mall, were it not for the many shelves of books.

Utah: Built in 2003, Salt Lake City's Main Library could pass as a sunlit shopping mall, were it not for the many shelves of books.

Vermont: Northfield's Brown Public Library stays faithful to the New England vibe with its red-brick facade and white columns.

Vermont: Northfield's Brown Public Library stays faithful to the New England vibe with its red-brick facade and white columns.

Virginia: The Slover Public Library in Norfolk earned a 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Virginia: The Slover Public Library in Norfolk earned a 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Washington: The Renton Public Library in the city of Renton boasts an industrial and natural feel, which earned it a 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

Washington: The Renton Public Library in the city of Renton boasts an industrial and natural feel, which earned it a 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

West Virginia: High on a lush hill, the West Virginia University Library peers over the Morgantown campus.

West Virginia: High on a lush hill, the West Virginia University Library peers over the Morgantown campus.

Wisconsin: Located in Madison, the Wisconsin Historical Society library features an enormous reading room with cross-hatched glass ceilings.

Wisconsin: Located in Madison, the Wisconsin Historical Society library features an enormous reading room with cross-hatched glass ceilings.

Wyoming: The Sublette County library, with its evocative country aesthetic, was awarded the 2009 Western Mountain Region Distinguished Building Award.

Wyoming: The Sublette County library, with its evocative country aesthetic, was awarded the 2009 Western Mountain Region Distinguished Building Award.

BONUS: The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is the oldest federal cultural institution in the US and contains 130 million collection items across 2.1 million square feet of space.

BONUS: The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is the oldest federal cultural institution in the US and contains 130 million collection items across 2.1 million square feet of space.

BONUS: Puerto Rico, the largest US territory, is home to Biblioteca Carnegie. The neo-classical library was built in 1914 and officially named in 1917 after a sizable donation from American business leader Andrew Carnegie.

BONUS: Puerto Rico, the largest US territory, is home to Biblioteca Carnegie. The neo-classical library was built in 1914 and officially named in 1917 after a sizable donation from American business leader Andrew Carnegie.
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