Single domain antibodies from camelids, or nanobodies, are a unique class of antibody fragments with several advantageous characteristics: small monomeric size, high stability and solubility and easy tailoring for multiple applications. Nanobodies are gaining increasing acceptance as diagnostic tools and promising therapeutic agents in cancer and other diseases. While most nanobodies are obtained from immunized animals of the camelid family, a few synthetic nanobody libraries constructed in recent years have shown the capability of generating high quality nanobodies in terms of affinity and stability. Since this synthetic approach has important advantages over the use of animals, the recent advances are indeed encouraging. Here we review over a dozen synthetic nanobody libraries reported so far and discuss the different approaches followed in their construction and validation, with an emphasis on framework and hypervariable loop design as critical issues defining their potential as high-class nanobody sources.