By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – An often overlooked attraction among expatriates and even Cariocas, is that Rio de Janeiro offers excellent libraries spread across the city. Whether one feels like working in a new environment or simply enjoying a book at a silent venue, some the best reading rooms with free internet access can be found in Rio’s Centro and Zona Sul (South Zone).
Situated in Centro, close to Praça Tiradentes, the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (Portuguese Royal Cabinet of Reading) was created in 1887 and is the oldest institution created by the Portuguese after Brazil’s independence (1822).
Built in the Portuguese gothic style, the magnificent library impresses for its sumptuous architecture and its wide collection of 350,000 volumes – including masterpieces from the sixteenth century.
The Cabinet’s reading room is open from Monday to Friday, from 9AM to 6PM. Even though the internet is only available for researchers from Real Gabinete’s studies center, the library’s architecture is worth the visit, making one feel like in an epic movie.
Also worth checking out in Centro is the library from Maison de France, the cultural center of the French Consulate in Rio. A few minutes away from Theatro Municipal, Maison de France’s library offers a collection of 23,000 titles, including books, journals, magazines, DVDs and CDs.
Maison de France’s library works every Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11AM to 6PM, Wednesdays from 11AM to 7PM, and Saturdays from 9AM to 1PM. All the users have free internet access. What’s more, the library eventually promotes diverse cultural activities, like book clubs, debates and poetry recitals.
In Flamengo, the Oi Futuro Cultural Center is a great option for those who prefer to stay in Zona Sul. Oi Futuro’s futurist atmosphere is also present at its library, specialized in books about technology. Besides its high tech library with free wi-fi, the Center also includes a nice bistro and an eventful cultural agenda, with various theater plays and exhibitions. Oi Futuro Flamengo opens from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 11AM to 5PM.
Being close to the nature and spending time at a library, all at once, is perfectly possible at the Parque Lage’s Visual Arts School, in Jardim Botânico. Offering free internet access and a privileged location, Parque Lage’s library works from Monday to Thursday, from 10AM to 8PM, and Fridays, from 10AM to 3PM.
A great alternative for those who look for an outdoor silent environment is the Gávea Plage Café, also located inside the School. During the weekends, however, the Café can get really busy, mainly during lunch time.
Only a few meters away from Cinelândia metrô station, in Centro, is the German cultural center Goethe Institut. Its comfortable library includes a great multimedia collection, including films, music, apps and games.
In addition, one can also find cultural activities and a nice Café at the venue. Goethe Institut works from Tuesday to Saturday. Check the venue to see time details.