Library history

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The world can not progress properly without a sign of accumulation of knowledge. This can be demonstrated in a multitude of ways, of course, but the most obvious accumulation at an amazingly rapid pace was that of the book. The book is treasured for its "portability, ease of reference and ability to concentrate a large amount of data..." (Lyons 2011) Its evolution increased literacy and understanding, overtook the industrial revolution by utilizing it's developments to improve and make itself available. "Metal presses, steam presses, and paper manufactured from vegetable matter instead of old cloth" made the book an affordable way to be entertained, receive information, and to receive monetary benefit for those who wrote them. It should then come as no surprise that the evolution of the book has also caused frequent evolution of libraries. "Archival and library collections enable us to understand our monuments and artifacts and to interpret their meaning and the context in which they came to be" (Murray 2012). Without books continued evolution, many in our society would be left behind and not understand these valuable pieces of our human history. Even during the recent recession, people flocked to libraries in order to find an affordable way to remain entertained and informed.

Many "scholars accept that the earliest writing evolved from accountancy..", which means the rudimentary idea of writing was to document and store records, just as a library would.(Suarez & Woudhuysen 2014) Some systems are more Logographic and others are more phonographic. Some use the same symbols but have drastically different semantic and syntactic usage. I especially enjoyed the chapter about Jewish writ where they note that "God’s scriptural gift to his chosen people was given in Hebrew, a divine language. However, that the Jews lost the language before the Bible was finalized is evident in the Book of Daniel, which was composed in Aramaic" (2014) Each culture had its own spiritual and decisive language that accompanied rules and some sort of ordained power. Although there is a rich tradition of treating text as holy and beautiful and powerful, many "line of descent traces the printed book in the West back through the medieval codex to the scrolls of ancient Greece and Rome, it is important to remember that these latter civilizations arose after, and alongside, a number of other ancient cultures that also had writing" (2014) The historical and ancient use of a book and scroll developed side by side for ages. Many believe that codices were everywhere once the had been invented. This was not the case. Apparently, the speed and appropriation of the codex was much slower in places such as China, Mesopotamia and other cultures.

Journals That Publish on Library History


Noted Scholars

  • Dain, Phyllis
  • Jenkins, Christine
  • Harris, Michael
  • Lear, Bernadette
  • Pawley, Christine
  • Preer, Jean
  • Robbins, Louise
  • Wiegand, Wayne

Books for Library History

  • Casson, L. (2001). Libraries in the ancient world. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Lyons, M. (2011). Books: A living history. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.
  • Murray, S. (2009). The library: An illustrated history. New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub.
  • Suarez, M. F., & Woudhuysen, H. R. (n.d.). The book: A global history. Oxford: OUP Oxford.