Libraries in the Ancient World

Not until the Roman period did genuinely public libraries allow people to come and read as they wished. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Libraries were a feature of larger cities across the ancient world with famous examples being those at Alexandria, Athens, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Nineveh. Rarely ever lending libraries, they were typically designed for visiting[…]

Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu

These ancient manuscripts cover every aspect of human endeavor. Introduction Timbuktu, Mali, is the legendary city founded as a commercial center in West Africa nine hundred years ago. Today it is synonymous with the phrase “utterly remote,” but this was not always so. For more than six hundred years, Timbuktu was a significant religious, cultural,[…]

“I Cannot Live Without Books”: Thomas Jefferson’s Library

Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) collected books across a vast spectrum of topics and languages. Introduction Throughout his life, books were vital to Thomas Jefferson’s education and well being. His books provided Jefferson with a broader knowledge of the contemporary and ancient worlds than many of his contemporaries had obtained through personal experience. Jefferson’s[…]

Seven Unexpected Things That Libraries Offer Besides Books

With advancements in technology, libraries are offering much more than something to read. A library researcher offers a sampling of some unexpected items that library patrons can check out these days. Local libraries are often thought of as places to check out books or engage in some silent reading. But libraries offer so much more than just[…]

The Double World: One Man’s Search for Meaning in the Seattle Public Library

Reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history.  Stapp postulated another physical, not spiritual, world. I knew Orrill Stapp before I met him. The thin man with the wire-rimmed glasses, battered briefcase, and scuffed shoes. The black woman with the long tweed coat, red lipstick, and bulging shoulder bags. The elderly man who looked like John Bolton, only with[…]