Neilson Hays Library

Rare elegance

Photo of , , Bangkok

What we say: 3 stars

This charming library was built in 1921 to honour the memory of Bangkok resident Jennie Neilson Hays.

Ms. Hays, a Protestant missionary first sent to Phetburi in 1881, was part of a small group of women who in the 19th century comprised the Bangkok Ladies' Library Association. As books were very hard to come by the women created the Association in order to trade books in the style of a Western library.

Ms. Hays served as President of the Library Association from 1902 to 1920, when she died suddenly of cholera. After she passed away her husband had the Neilson Hays Library commissioned in her honour. The neo-classical building first opened its doors to the public in 1922 and in 1986 was named a Historic Landmark by the Association of Siamese Architects.

Today, the library is a throwback to another era right in the heart of Silom. With an art gallery and a lovely café out front, there are reasons to visit beyond checking out books. Inside the library, beautiful wood floors and bookcases create an air of Ivy-League academia otherwise absent in the centre of Bangkok.

On Saturday mornings at 10:30, readings for children are held inside.

At the wishes of Mr. Hays, the library is exclusively staffed by women in order to keep up the tradition of the Bangkok Ladies' Library Association.

More details
195 Surawong Rd
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 9:30-17:00
How to get there: The library is about a 15-minute walk from either the Chong Nonsi BTS station or the Sala Daeng BTS/MRT station.
Last updated: 24th December, 2013

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