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10 Interesting Facts About Libraries

10 Interesting Facts About Libraries

Did you know that …
10 Interesting Facts About Libraries

1. The world’s oldest library is the oldest continually running library in the world is at the St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, Egypt. It was built in the middle of the 6th century and houses the second largest collection of religious material in the world (after the Vatican). However it is not accessible to the public, only by monks and invited scholars.<br>The bibliotheque de Paris (Library of Paris) combined with the National Library of France, is the oldest continually running public library service, dating back to 1368 when it was housed at the Louvre. It has moved several times over the past 700 years, into newer and larger accommodation. [Source]

2. The largest library in the world is The Library of Congress, with more than 158 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 36 million books and other print materials, 3.5 million recordings, 13.7 million photographs, 5.5 million maps, 6.7 million pieces of sheet music and 69 million manuscripts. [Source]

3. The smallest library in the world has appeared on the streets of New York City – and it has space for just one reader at a time.

The bright yellow plastic structure houses 40 books and aims to help city-dwellers take a break from the pace of life in the metropolis by chilling out with a good story. The Little Free Library was designed by a pair of innovative architects using recycled materials to protect the books inside from the elements. [Source]

4. The highest library according to Guinness World Records is the library on the 60th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel at Tomorrow Square in Shanghai, China, is situated at 230.9 m (757 ft 6 in) above street level. Membership is available to members of the public and the 103 shelves in the library contains an ever-expanding collection of Chinese and English books. The library measures 57 m² (614 ft²). To walk to the library from the lobby would entail climbing around 1,435 steps. [Source]

5. The first recorded librarian was Zenodotus (Ζηνόδοτος) of Ephesus, holding that post from the end of Ptolemy I’s reign. He was a Greek grammarian, literary critic, and Homeric scholar. A native of Ephesus and a pupil of Philitas of Cos, he was the first librarian of the Library of Alexandria. He lived during the reigns of the first two Ptolemies.  Demetrius of Phalerum put together the central collection for the Library of Alexandria while he was in Greece. He might be considered the originator of the library idea, although this honour should also belong to the first and second kings of the Ptolemaic period. [Source]

6. The first library classification system was set up during the Han Dynasty. In North America, it is believed that personal collections of books were brought over to the continent by French settlers in the 16th century. [Source]

7. The first Bookmobile (mobile library) – The British Workman reported in 1857a perambulating library operating in a circle of eight villages in Cumbria. A Victorian merchant and philanthropist, George Moore, created the project to “diffuse good literature among the rural population.” The Warrington Perambulating Library, set up in 1858, was another early British mobile library. This horse-drawn van was operated by the Warrington Mechanics’ Institute, which aimed to increase the lending of its books to enthusiastic local patrons.[Source]

8. The world´s largest fine for an overdue library book is $345.14 (£203.29), the amount owed at two cents a day for the poetry book Days and Deeds checked out of Kewanee Public Library, Illinois, USA in April 1955 by Emily Canellos-Simms. Although the book was due back 19 April 1955, Emily found it in her mother´s house 47 years later and presented the library with a check for overdue fines.[Source]

9. The most stolen library book is probably the Bible, followed by the Guinness World Records book. [Source]

10. The first floating library service started in 1959 using a range of ships. The first custom-built ship was put into service in 1963. It is built at Oma Yard and is 24 m (80 ft) long. The ship is owned by Vinnes Skyssbåtservice, and is used for tourist cruises in the summer. [Source]

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