Fascinating Facts about Libraries

There is no better place for the repository of intelligence. Libraries across the world are in different shapes and sizes, from modest village libraries to mammoth urban libraries. But one thing is common – they are the gateway to infinite knowledge. We bring to you some of the amazing facts about libraries.

 The oldest library is from the seventh century BC

The Library of Ashurbanipal in Ninevah, Assyria,now Iraq, was commissioned by Ashurbanipal, the King of Assyria in 668–c.630 BC. Archaeologists rediscovered the site for the oldest library in the world in the 1850s. They found over 30,000 cuneiform tablets narrating the past and the law of that time. All of this seemed to have been arranged in a methodical manner.

 The world’s biggest library is The Library of Congress

The catalogue of The Library of Congress has over 168 million items making it the biggest library in that sense. This achievement is a ricochet from the catastrophe in 1814 when the British troops burned a 14-year-old collection of 3000 volumes stored in the Capitol building.

 The sinking of the Titanic gave birth to Harvard’s Rare Books Library

When Harry Elkins Widener, Book collector and Harvard graduate, perished in 1912 due to the sinking of the Titanic, his mother, Eleanor Elkins Widener, gifted a library in his memory and honour at Harvard. Established in 1915, Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library holds 3300 rare works that were part of his personal book collection.

 The most overdue book was returned to the library after 122 years

The first edition of Charles Darwin’s ‘Insectivorous Plants’ was issued in 1889 from the Camden School of Arts lending library in Australia. By mistake, the book landed in the book collection of a retired veterinarian before the library stamp was noticed, and the book returned, some 122 years late.

To qualify as a librarian, one had to learn a specific type of handwriting

From the 19th century to the mid-20th century, schools for librarians used to teach ‘Library Hand’ to aspiring librarians. It was an exclusive rounded the style of cursive script thatwas settled to standardize handwriting. It was a necessity in the time when library catalogues were filed by hand on index cards, and legibility was extremely important

 Some libraries offer more than books

Freegal is a service that allows patrons to download songs from over 15 million tracks library. New York Public Library offers visitors to borrow accessories like neckties and briefcases. There are even libraries that offer passport application services.

Now you will be a lot appreciative the next time you visit your favourite library.

Priyadarshini Kaul

Priyadarshini Kaul Mishra has two Master’s Degrees in English Literature and History. She is actively following her passion for the language by being a content creator since many years now. Besides this, Priyadarshini is a true bookworm at heart and tries to be an avid reader despite being a full-time mother now. She is also a professionally certified baker and puts on the oven mitts every now and then.
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