The City Library is among the most popular libraries worldwide in new rankings based on Google review scores, Wikipedia page views and TikTok and Instagram posts.

Salt Lake City’s main library is mentioned in the same company as the Library of Congress, the Vatican Library and the New York Public Library in the rankings by Preply, a language learning platform.

Seven of the top 15 ranked libraries are in the United States, with the Library of Congress topping the list. The City Library in the heart of Salt Lake City ranked 15th worldwide.

Quinn McQueen, director of marketing and communications at The City Library, said the ranking was welcome recognition “but I’m also not super surprised just considering how ingrained we are in our community and what an architectural marvel we have right there in the city.”

The City Library is pictured in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 8, 2024. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The City Library at 210 E. 400 South celebrated its 20th birthday in 2023, in tandem with the library system’s 125th anniversary. The internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie and associates partnered with VCBO Architecture of Salt Lake City to design the iconic building, which opened to the public in February 2003.

The City Library is “a place for connection,” whether it is hosting community events and performances, working with preschoolers or providing meeting spaces, McQueen said.

“It’s pretty cool to look at this list and see that our somewhat small local library is rated up there right alongside Yale and Library of Congress, New York Public Library and Trinity College in Dublin. These are some big names, and it’s neat to see us rounding out the top 15. That’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Here’s the list:

1. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

2. New York Public Library, New York City.

3. Boston Public Library.

4. Bodleian Library, Oxford, United Kingdom,

5. Yale University Beinecke Library, New Haven, Connecticut.

6. Vatican Library, Vatican City.

7. Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria.

8. Seattle Central Library, Washington.

9. Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland.

10. Tianjin Binhai Library, Tianjin, China.

11. George Peabody Library, Baltimore.

12. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City.

13. State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

14. Reading Room at the British Museum, London.

15. The City Library, Salt Lake City.

16. Central Public Library, Vancouver, Canada.

17. Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

18. UNAM Central Library, Coyoacán, Mexico.

19. Royal Library of Denmark, Copenhagen.

20. National Library of Finland, Helsinki.

The City Library is a highly utilized resource, McQueen said. For example, patrons checked out over 2.7 million items in 2023.

Malia Hansen and Scout Callens look at books at the City Library in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 8, 2024. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

McQueen said the system’s main library has had other accolades over the past two decades.

The City Library is regularly highlighted as a “must see” when visiting Salt Lake City, she said, “a visit that is made even easier now that we offer two hours of free parking.”

“We most recently were listed as a Five Star Library by Library Journal in 2021, and won Library Journal’s Library of the Year award in 2006,” McQueen said.

The Salt Lake City Public Library system’s new executive director, Noah Baskett, began his duties on Jan. 8, following a nationwide search.

Baskett grew up in Salt Lake City and was educated in Washington state, where he has led community-based and nonprofit organizations and networks. He attended the University of Puget Sound and earned a master’s degree in transformational leadership from Seattle University.

In a recent interview conducted by library staff, Baskett was asked what library patrons have to look forward to in the near future.

“We are a world-renowned library system partly because of our impressive spaces. The Main Library is a treasure in the heart of Salt Lake City, and our branches are hubs within the city’s neighborhoods. We must invest in the library system’s perpetual future to prepare for a presence that matches the city’s growth,” he said.

Baskett said he was drawn to the position because he believes “libraries are in a unique position to help bring connection within a community.”

He noted that Americans are in the midst of a public health crisis of loneliness and isolation, according to the U.S. surgeon general.

“The Library is in such a perfect position to make a difference by offering meaningful opportunities for connection for people from every conceivable background and walk of life throughout the city. Having spent my formative years here, it feels good to be back in my hometown with a real chance to make a difference in this rapidly growing community. Our library system is in a position to see and connect the remarkable people in Salt Lake’s neighborhoods.”

Butterflies reading books are part of a hanging sculpture at the City Library in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 8, 2024. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News