As few geeks will need telling, Minecraft is the virtual world’s answer to Lego, allowing users to build online (and often cooperatively) just about anything they can imagine. And as you might guess, with over 33 million users as of early September 2013, quite a few libraries have been built in the course of community construction. Now some enterprising librarians have gone one step further by using Minecraft to actually build virtual analogs of their own real libraries, delighting their readers.

Minecraft already offers books and bookshelves as part of its standard … ahem … off-the-shelf toolkit, and written books actually can contain text. And from these basic … um … building blocks, we get this – a recreation of the already fine-looking Mattituck-Laurel Library in Mattituck, NY, complete with functioning bookshelves:

As detailed in the original Schools Library Journal article, the Minecraft library offers links and pointers to books in the real library, as well as other games, puzzles, and pastimes that have been hugely successful in drawing in younger readers. And it doesn’t need much of a stretch of the imagination to conceive of public library patrons navigating a library like this, and checking out ebooks from the virtual shelves.

There is a fabulous gallery of the ten best real – and imagined – libraries recreated in Minecraft here, from the New York Public Library to the Hogwarts library. In fact, the UK’s Brutalist Birmingham Central Library has now been enshrinedin Minecraft and will probably last a lot longer there than the real thing – now scheduled for demolition. And the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, has even built an official Minecraft replica of its Perry Library and Learning Commons – though not a working one, this time. And for a massive recreation of the New York Public Library, see here:

I can think of far worse paradigms than the library as a spatial metaphor and navigational aid for the universal virtual library that the Internet is now supposed to be. And with ereader software from iBooks to Kindle using the bookshelf metaphor to display collections, why not go one step further and link those bookshelves together into whole libraries?

Next articleMoofi offers several refurbished Android tablets at rock-bottom prices
Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Vodafone Smart Grand 6. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail