Biblioteca Santiago Severín

Discover a vast collection of books and take a guided tour to learn about the history of this resplendent neoclassical building.

The Biblioteca Santiago Severín is a historic library located in the heart of Valparaíso’s El Almendral district. Find thousands of books from around the world, from children’s books to magazines and works of literature. Delve into the library’s history on a guided tour and attend cultural events including live music performances and poetry readings. 

Start your visit by walking around the outside of the building. Gaze in awe at the whitewashed façade, which blends neoclassical and Renaissance architectural styles. Notice the Greek-style pilasters, intricately carved capitals and portico windows. Established in 1873, much of the building dates back to the 1910s. It became a national monument in 1998. After a 2010 earthquake caused damage, some areas were restored.

Step inside to see a palace-like structure featuring regal salons, elegant balconies and grand staircases. The best way to see the interior is to take a tour with a well-informed guide. Discover the history of the library’s founders and how it has changed through the years. Walk through various halls, where you can see library members searching for and reading books. 

Time your visit to coincide with one of the library’s regular cultural events. These include book launches, movie screenings and music performances. One prior example is the Festival Internacional de Animación Chilemonos, a family-friendly event aimed at promoting the development of animation in Latin America. 

The library is open from Monday to Friday and admission is free. Guided tours are in Spanish only. Ask for more information at the library’s reception area.

The Biblioteca Santiago Severín is close to several other attractions in Valparaíso’s El Almendral district. A 5-minute walk away is the lively palm-shaded Plaza Victoria, the Gothic-style Iglesia Catedral de Valparaíso and the Museo de Historia Natural. Getting to the library is easy via public buses, taxis and shared taxis. You can also catch the metro to Bellavista station and walk about 1,600 feet (500 meters). 

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