A History of Reading

This fascinating little article offers a brief history of reading, from its origins in Mesopotamia to the idea of works being written specifically to be read aloud (Hey, Herodotus!) to the printing press. But most importantly, there is a whole section in the article dedicated to historical libraries. Ranging from Assyria to Alexandria and discussing the advent of cataloging, this section also showcases how lending libraries greatly revolutionized reading for the common people. And lastly, a very interesting section on reading as rebellion which highlights not only how powerful the written word is but how authority figures have used that power to oppress marginalized groups.

Book of Lost Books Discovered in Danish Archive: The First Search Engine?

The illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus, Hernando Colon, collected somewhere between fifteen and twenty thousand books over the course of his life in the 16th century and employed a group of scholars to create an index of all the works, Libro de los Epitomes. 14 of the 16 indexes survived in Seville, however, 2 remained missing. Until now, when 1 of the books was found at the University of Copenhagen.


New Online Exhibit: Discover UK’s Historic Books

As all in the library world are aware, figuring out how to navigate Covid while operating such a public space is hard! In the United Kingdom, the Unlocking the Archive project has assembled a new exhibit Discover Historic Books. This exhibition has put together a collection of ancient texts for website visitors to explore, with “hotpoints to explain the text and all the nuts and bolts of the physical books.” The books included are “groundbreaking books” from the Renaissance and the aim is to introduce them to a further audience!

National Library of Israel to Digitize Over 2000 Rare Islamic Manuscripts

The digitization project will convert manuscripts from a time span of the ninth through the twentieth century. The library holds works covering all major Islamic disciplines and literary traditions.

Intro to your new Volunteer!

Hello all! My name is Tara Peace and I am the newest volunteer for the Library History Round Table blog. I came across the Round Table following a call for submissions in which I submitted an essay I wrote concerning social justice and neutrality in libraries. I am very much looking forward to contributing to the blog by way of bringing y’all interviews and more information regarding social justice within libraries throughout history!

I am going into my second year of the SLIS program at the University of Alabama and hope to embark on a career in an academic library as a liaison librarian. I obtained a bachelor’s in history from James Madison University in 2008, with minors in Spanish and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 2017, I completed my master’s in history from California State University, East Bay, minoring in Latin. My thesis focused on the papacy as patrons of the arts, with an emphasis on how the vices of the church contributed greatly to patronage. I also did significant research on William Randolph Hearst and the women in his life as well as prohibition in San Francisco.

During my time as an undergraduate and graduate student of history, I discovered how much I loved being in the library and doing research. And further, how much I appreciated the librarians that helped me not only at my university library but also at the archives I visited in order to conduct my research. This appreciation ultimately led me to pursue a degree in library science and I am ecstatic to embrace a career that I can combine my love of history with my desire to do good in the world!

I am incredibly excited to share with you my limited knowledge of library history as well as grow and learn more about this fascinating topic with you! Cheers!