3 legendary libraries in Lausanne

Realsousgare, the king of satire
Realsousgare, the king of satire
May 21, 2021

When, like me, you are studying and find it impossible to concentrate at home, libraries are indispensable. Having visited the great libraries of the world, like the one in Amsterdam (you really should go there), I can say that the Lausanne libraries are of the same quality.

The cantonal university library

Number one and doubtless one of the oldest is the Riponne library. Located in the middle of the Palais de Rumine, this small library has the advantage of being in the town centre and close to cafés for lunch-time breaks and also handy for the discothèques if you are working until the library closes.

LT/Sébastien Closuit

©LT/Sébastien Closuit

The building contains an absolutely unique collection of DVDs and CDs as well as a large number of local publications on Switzerland and the Canton of Vaud. If you are a frequent visitor to the library you recognise the library’s regulars, for example the elderly man who cuts out articles from the newspapers or the person with the red cap who spends the entire day on his computer.

The cantonal university library as it is known, also has a unique feature – it is a close neighbour of the zoology and geology museums. Therefore when I find my attention wandering and work is impossible, I take a short trip around the stuffed animals or the crystals to take my mind off things. Slightly creepy but quite entertaining.

LT/ Laurent Kaczor

©LT/ Laurent Kaczor

La Banane (BCU Unithèque)

The second library is doubtless one of the most iconic and emblematic for the various student bodies of Lausanne. This is the BCU Unithèque, aka the “Banana”. It is a huge flat, elongated building with the vintage charm of the 1980s. The first visit to the Banana can be intimidating as it is easy to get lost in the vast, interminable corridors, the hundreds of chairs and tables, thousands of books on literature, history, art and the sciences etc. There is also a stunning view of the Alps and the lake from the library’s balconies – something which certainly doesn’t assist concentration.

Université de Lausanne

©Université de Lausanne

Université de Lausanne

©Université de Lausanne

The Rolex Learning Center

Finally we come to the Rolex Learning Center. Named as a reminder of prestige and luxury, this library is designed to be one of the most way-out structures in Lausanne. The building itself is very experimental, shaped like a sort of elongated, horizontal band which rises and falls.

The library therefore mirrors Lausanne, in a way: no part of it is flat; it is either rising or falling. One of my dreams is to take my bike inside the building and ride around its interior. The big plus of the RLC are the cushions spread everywhere – a sort of invitation to take advantage of the silence and treat yourself to a snooze.

Three atmospheres and three legends – in my opinion the libraries of Lausanne are under-valued; they are locations open to absolutely everyone, even if you have nothing to read or revise.

Places mentioned in the article
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