When did libraries begin?


Libraries began thousands of years ago as archives in which records, maps and other important documents were kept.

The word “library” comes from the Latin word “liber” which means “book.”  There have been libraries almost as long as there have been books.

The first real libraries we know of existed thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

The “books’ in these early librarians did not look at all like ours.  They were written by hand on tablets of clay and on long rolls of papyrus (a paper-like material) and were kept in temples and palaces.

The first public libraries were built in ancient Greece more that 2,000 years ago, but they were only open to scholars.  They were the only people who could read books.

During medieval times books written by hand on parchment paper were so precious that they were often  chained to the shelves.

As libraries developed over the centuries, they grew from small collections available to only a few scholars to large public libraries open to everyone. – Dick Rogers

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