Libraries are great; great libraries

As mentioned, I had my first library by the time I was a young teen, and have had three or four in my life. Books, as much as I love ’em, are a pain to move.

But there is not a major city on this planet that doesn’t have at least one library, and even the smallest hamlet probably has one; schools generally have one. I have heard of the Great Library at Alexandra, founded by Ptolemy and of course in those ancient times there were no books as we know them today, there were scrolls, and this library was reputed to hold thousands of them. Older yet are cuneiform tablets, probably the oldest form of writing, on clay tablets. But even some cursory research revealed there was the Library of Aristotle in Athens Greece(384-321 B.C.), and the Nippur Temple Library in Iraq circa 2500 B.C.

In fact, I have recently had the pleasure of reading a translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian epic, of course originally written on clay tablets in cuneiform. In fact, the translation I read had gaps in it, acknowledged by the translators from the damage done to the clay tablets over time.

So we have been collecting knowledge, originally on clay tablets, then scrolls, then in book form for millennia, as the easiest way to access this knowledge. Brilliant.

We continue to have great libraries allover the world. I have two ebook libraries, and one of the great benefits of an ebook library is that its so easy to carry around! But, I hope, at least in my lifetime, we don’t see the end of actual book libraries.

This is not only for their main purpose, the housing of books and public access to them, but also for the atmosphere of learning they engender. Seeing young people quietly sitting and reading, whether it be a library book or a school book, gives me hope for the future.

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