Spanish Library Wins International Award For Best New Public Library Of 2023

Image inside the Gabriel García Márquez library in Barcelona.

Image inside the Gabriel García Márquez library in Barcelona. Credit: Gabriel García Márquez library on YouTube.

A library located in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona ​​has been awarded the international prize for the Best New Public Library of 2023. 

The Gabriel García Márquez Library was chosen as the recipient of this award by the World Library and Information Congress during an event held in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

It was decided on Monday, August 21, by the World Library and Information Congress, at an event organised by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

According to the Barcelona City Council, the candidacy of the Barcelona centre was competing for this distinction with the Shanghai Library East in China, the City of Parramatta Library in Australia, and the Public Library Janez Vajkard Valvasor Krókov in Slovenia.

The library opened in May 2022

Inaugurated in May 2022, the new Gabriel García Márquez replaced the previous one. As a result, its size was multiplied by ten. This quickly turned the facility into a cultural emblem of the Barcelona district of La Verneda.

Its great interaction with the neighbourhood is precisely one of the main features that the international jury valued most positively when awarding the distinction.

In addition, the IFLA also highlighted its commitment to the environment, the sophisticated design of architecture, and the flexibility of its spaces.

A radio studio is located inside the building, which will soon become a community radio station. Radio Macondo is named in memory of the fictional town in which some novels of the Colombian writer – Gabriel García Márquez, after whom the library is named – were set.

Comprising six floors, the library has an area of more than 4,000 m². It has a Nordic design, featuring a spectacular structure made from glass and wood. This design was the brainchild of the architects Elena Orte and Guillermo Sevillano, from SUMA Arquitectura.

Specialising in Latin American literature, the Gabriel García Márquez facility picked up prize money of $5,000 dollars (approx €4,593.40) after becoming the world’s best national public library in 2023.

According to a YouTube video produced by the library, and hosted by Neus Castellano, the director of the Gabriel García Márquez, around 1,000 local residents use the facility daily. This fact surely dispels some people’s theories that physical reading is a thing of the past.

Watch the YouTube video to learn more about this incredible library:

Márquez, the writer who invented magical realism, lived in the Catalan city for a long period of his life between 1967 and 1975. A bust of the famous novelist takes pride of place in the library.

Previous winners of this prestigious award include the Oodi Helsinki Central Library in Finland, Norway’s Deichman Bjorvika, and the Missoula Public Library in Montana, America.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at