Monday 20 February 2012

Libraries old and new ...

It is Library Lover’s Month reminding us that books became one of the most efficient and enduring information technologies every invented – libraries paved the way for scholars to travel the known world ...

... the Royal Library of Alexandria was the first, largest and most significant library in Western civilisation functioning as a major centre of scholarship in Greek and Roman times.

Above: Aristotle’s School, a painting from the 1880s by Gustav Adolph Spangenberg
Ptolemy 1 ensured its construction in the 3rd century BC, and those early Rulers kept it in order fostering the development of its museum, while carefully maintaining the distinction of its population’s three largest ethnicities: Greek, Jewish and Egyptian.

Julius Caesar in 48 BC ‘accidentally’ burned down the library in his Siege of Alexandria – before he turned his conquering eyes towards northern Europe.

Strabo, a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher, recorded that scholars were then able to use an off-shoot of the Great Library in the western Greek quarter of Alexandria.   Strabo personifies travel and learning two thousand years ago ...

This Latin inscription regarding
Tiberius Claudius Balbius of Rome
(died c AD79) mentions the
BYBLIOTHECE” (line eight).
His life was characterized by extensive travels – he was born in northern Turkey – journeyed to Egypt, down the Nile as far as present day Ethiopia, eastwards into Asia Minor, exploring the Mediterranean coasts, and as far south as Mauritania, in northern Africa.

Sadly his first major work has been lost – “Historical Sketches” – but his 17 volume “Geographica” presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era ... copies of which remain to this day, can be studied and have been used extensively in the intervening years.

In 365 AD Crete experienced a huge earthquake causing a massive tsunami – the effects of which we now have a greater understanding – then swept across the southern and eastern Mediterranean causing widespread devastation particularly to Libya, Alexandria and the Nile Delta.  The great Library has been underwater ever since ...

Inside Bibliotheca Alexandrina
... however a phoenix has arisen ... the Bibliotheca Alexandrina ... a commemoration of the Great Library and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier centre of study and erudition represented.  The old library was tri-lingual, so will the new Bibliotheca be – containing works in Arabic, French and English.

This new library at Alexandria has shelf space for eight million books as well as all the mod cons – a conference centre, specialised libraries for maps, multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, young people and for children; there are four museums, four art galleries for temporary exhibitions, fifteen permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a manuscript restoration laboratory.

A room full of scrolls
The first known library of its kind entrusted to gather a serious collection of books from beyond its country’s borders, the Great Library at Alexandria over two thousand years ago was charged with collecting all the world’s knowledge.

This was done with a royal mandate involving trips to the book fairs of Rhodes and Athens, and included a policy to take the scrolls and books off every ship that came into port.  The original texts were kept, copies were made and sent back to their owners.

Alexandria, on the island of Pharos within the Nile Delta, soon found itself the international hub for trades, as well as the leading producer of papyrus and, soon enough, books.

Poseidon at the
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The Library was built in the style of Aristotle’s Lyceum, adjacent to and in service of the Musaeum (a Greek Temple or “House of Muses”, hence the term “museum”).

The layout is not known, but comprised a Peripatos walk – after Aristotle’s method of teaching philosophy as he strolled around – gardens, dining area, reading room, lecture halls and meeting rooms – the influence of that early model can be seen in the layout of university campuses.

The Great Library had an acquisitions department probably nearer the harbour, a cataloguing department; there was a hall containing shelves for the collections of papyrus scrolls, known as bibliotheki.  Legend has it that carved into the walls above the shelves was an inscription that read: The place of the cure of the soul.

The collections of books has always changed with the times including clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, parchment quartos, books, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, magazines, comics et al ...

Book Scanner at the Internet Archives
... today that continues with the ‘Internet Archive’ – whose stated mission of “universal access to all knowledge” really is not any different to that conferred up the Great Library over 2,000 years ago.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina contains this mirror collection of the original Californian ‘Internet Archive’ including collections of digitized materials: websites, music, moving images and nearly three million public domain books.

There is a new library being built in Birmingham, England ... which has as its slogan “Rewriting the Book”  ...  and they are selecting 26 ‘local’ people who have been influenced in their use and continuing use of the library to improve and enhance their knowledge.

An artist's impression of the new library
Eighteen people have been chosen so far ... the ‘Faces’ including a salsa-dancing linguist, a new media entrepreneur, a veteran of community work ...

... you can visit the Birmingham Library website and see the diverse range of peoples and ideas, including YouTube clips,  – who offer hope through their endeavours and ...

... perhaps reflect that the British Empire might have waned – but in the meantime we have garnered a magnificent diaspora of life who have made and are making effective use of libraries, and who now are giving their input on the design for the new library due to open in 2013.

From a cultural centre attached to the Bibliotheca
Alexandrina - CULTNAT
"He Who Loses His Past is Lost"
You will find Ellise Miles there – an avid reader – who will only be 13 when the Library opens its doors in 2013 ... what a great place to find herself in – influencing our resources for future generations.

It is difficult to imagine how some of the great turning points in western history could have been achieved without the book: the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment all relied on the printed word for their spread and permanent influence.

For two and a half millennia, humanity used the book, in its manuscript or printed form, to record, to administer, to worship and to educate.

Bronze sculpture, Bill Woodrow’s
Sitting on History’ at the
British Library. 
Sitting on History, with its ball and
chain, refers to the book as the
captor of information
which we cannot escape.
Yes, there are many other libraries or centres of learning, which we need to encourage others to benefit from the care and information on hand within these centres – a great example is Iain McColl – one of ‘the Faces’, who was homeless and living in a hostel ... he now has a home of his own and is continuing his studies in the construction industry – see his story here.

So in this month for Library Lovers as we celebrate our future perhaps we should remember in our hearts as we write our books, or sit with them those words from long ago:

Within books we will find the place to cure our soul.

Julie Flanders librarian – What Else is Possible 

A cultural centre associated  (CULTNAT)with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina;
El-Sennary House Festival article: - Ahram Online Folk 

The Library at Birmingham - with short biographies on  'the Faces' - Helping to Rewrite the Book

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories 


MorningAJ said...

Wow - I got here first!

I love that sculpture in the British Library. I've sat on it many times.

Bob Scotney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Scotney said...

All those councils threatening to close libraries should read this.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anne - Well done .. yes the sculptures at the British Library are stunning .. aren't they. Good to see you - I'll be over ...

@ Bob - many thanks for this comment .. appreciate the thought.

Thanks Anne and Bob .. I wonder if the next commenter will begin with a 'C'?! Cheers and have a good week ahead .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. I spend much more time in my library since I knit there once a week. My Mum's a qualified librarian and so is my oldest brother. I would love to have a book housed at the Bodlian library. I so hope libraries remain. I'd hate to see them go.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

A fascinating look at libraries, Hilary! I practically grew up in a library in my small town...

Old Kitty said...

I've worked in libraries all my working life and will fight to the death for their existence - seriously! At the moment it's going through some (in my opinion only!!) negative changes not just from outside but from within - I've witnessed far too many books withdrawn without due care and attention in place of all things electronic. Depressing!

Take care

Joanne said...

Wow, wow there's so much in this post, but a few things struck me. First is that image of all those scrolls, and to think we've gone from libraries filled with scrolls, to eLending, where I don't even leave my home but download the book on my eReader when it's available! The distance we've travelled with the shape of books is fascinating. But I guess at the heart of the matter is that it doesn't matter really what shape the book takes; in the end, it purely comes down to the story.

Susan Scheid said...

A wonderful time-capsule of history of, and paeon to, the library. I miss access to the New York City libraries. There is nothing like it here, and nothing nearby enough to use, in any event. But I have such wonderful memories of library experiences, and you bring it all back with this wonderful post. May libraries--not to mention real, live books--always be with us!

Rubye Jack said...

I've always liked living near universities so I can have access to their libraries. There is nothing to speak of around here, but they are good at ordering books for you if you don't mind paying $2 a piece. For me, this adds up quickly.

It is sad that people in general have lost interest in keeping libraries alive here.

jabblog said...

I spent much of my childhood in libraries - wonderful.

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for a great post about some of my favorite places on earth!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Madeleine - I only found about libraries at big school when I went aged 9 ... but I used the reading library and reference library a great deal then. I'd love to find out some more about them .. and how they work exactly ...

A book at the Bodlian Library - now there's an ambition in life!

@ Elizabeth - I seem to remember you writing somewhere that you'd done that as a kid .. no wonder you love books.

@ Old Kitty - it is all being rushed through - I wonder if private type libraries will spring up ... or specialist community ones. Thank goodness someone is looking out for libraries ..

@ Joanne - I was lucky to find the scrolls - they're actually under Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament!

So much change isn't there - but you're right at the heart of it: is the story and the information contained therein ..

@ Susan - I can imagine .. I love going to London and the British Library .. and one day will have more time to look around.

It looks like the larger libraries will be around and reinvent themselves .. but we need to live in those centres to use to their full potential.

@ Rubye - I can imagine you wanting to be near the learning centres .. at least you can order - but as you say two dollars a time does add up.

I think the smaller ones are going to really struggle unless there's some local benefactor ...

@ Janice - glad it brought back memories for you.

@ Betty - great news .. that you have such wonderful memories ..

Thanks everyone - looks like we're all agreed - keep the libraries open .. and let's be inventive with the smaller ones bringing books to life for the whole community.

Cheers Madeleine, Elizabeth, Old Kitty, Joanne, Susan, Rubye, Janice and Betty - up the library!! Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Love your post. And I love libraries. Where would we be without our wonderful libraries?


Karen Lange said...

There's just something about a library that is so, well, wonderful! Enjoyed this post, Hilary. Thanks so much! :)

Julie Flanders said...

I love this post, what a fascinating history. And thanks for including me! Oh, I love the inscription "The place of the cure of the soul." How true is that? Very interesting too about the Birmingham Library, I am going to check that website out. Sounds wonderful!

Have a great week coming up! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa .. I honestly don't know where we'd be without libraries .. glad you enjoyed it.

@ Karen .. delighted to read you enjoyed the story about libraries ..

@ Julie .. good to see you - and I hope you enjoy the Birmingham website .. it is an interesting read.

Thanks for alerting me .. that February is library lover's month ..

Cheers Teresa, Karen and Julie .. good to see you - Hilary

Mike Goad said...

The internet archive has already been a useful "library" for me. Using it, I was able to recover some old blog posts -- still more to go -- and find American civil war related books (compilations of diaries, letters)that were not on line elsewhere.

Patsy said...

I love libraries. One of my ambitions is to have my books available to borrow in libraries.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mike - yes I know you use the archive extensively .. and know your way round ... it's wonderful that you can find American Civil War information .. always pleased to have your help in this direction.

@ Patsy - wouldn't that be great to have your books in libraries - wonderful ambition .. you'll do it!

Thanks Mike and Patsy - lovely to see you .. cheers Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a terrific, informative post. Three cheers for libraries!

Theresa Milstein said...

I love libraries. That room full of scrolls is amazing!

Excellent quote:

Within books we will find the place to cure our soul.

Lisa said...

Hello Hillary. My college life was the library but sadly I had not step into one in forever. Enjoyed your post.

Unknown said...

I have so many good memories with my son in libraries. We used to go every week. It's sad how we don't read as much as we used to and how we're reading more digital now. Maybe digital books will be more popular with the younger generation.

Mason Canyon said...

Hilary, this is a wonderful post. I've loved libraries as long I can I remember. Our local little library hosts a summer reading program each year and is one of the reasons I love reading so much.

Thoughts in Progress

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - many thanks .. as you say three cheers for libraries even with a coffee cup in hand!

@ Theresa - I expect you visit libraries with your children .. and enjoy the reading and research there .. the room full of scrolls amazes me too ..

@ Oceangirl - have you not been in a library since College days .. perhaps there are other ways to learn now - you're of that era. Glad you enjoyed it though ..

@ Clarissa - those memories must be precious with your son. We're in both mode now aren't we .. I wonder if we will read books, but research digitally ...

... can our eyes cope with all the digital reading we do? I wonder ..

@ Mason - many thanks .. your local library sounds just great - I'm sure they do those sorts of things here .. I must find out and become more interactive with them.

Thanks so much Susan, Theresa, OceanGirl, Clarissa and Mason .. lovely seeing - glad you enjoyed the post - cheers Hilary

Birdie said...

I love my library. I would rather spend time at the library than at the mall with a gift card. (Seriously, I hate the mall.) Great post.
Long live the Library!

Marja said...

Very interesting i would love to see and read these scrolls or a translation of it. It must be exciting to get insight in a time so long ago.
Wonder how Strabo has travelled around on a horse or on a camel
In Holland we call a library bibliotheek I think library might come from the French word libre which means book and biblio is book in Greek and the second part is collection.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Birdie - oh on that point I agree - anywhere but shopping. As you say Long Live the Library.

@ Marja - thank goodness others transcribe for us .. but there's always fascinating information tucked away and sometimes extremely valuable ideas.

I think they mostly walked in those days .. but to be perfectly honest - I don't know .. something to look out for.

It appears that bibliotheque came from the Greek word for Reading Room .. it's interesting how words travelled too .. thanks for these thoughts.

Good to see you both .. have good weeks and happy birthday Birdie! Cheers Hilary

The Blonde Duck said...

I just went to the library yesterday!

Retired Knitter said...


In this electronic age, when so many people have abandon the act of holding a book in their hand and turning the pages, it is nice to remember through this post the value of books and libraries ... and to never totally give them up for the latest and greatest gizzmo.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I hope Ellise is able to visit the library well into her 90s. That is so wonderful, mentioning her in conjunction with the birth of a new library. I've always felt so at home in them. We were never close enough that I could visit when I wanted to. I do remember my mouth dropping open the first time I stepped into the library at Simon Fraser University. I had no idea there were that many books. Yes! Long Live the Library.

Sara said...

I absolutely loved this post. Libraries are my favorite place. I must confess, I hope the internet doesn't ever replace the real buildings. There's something so special about stepping inside a library, smelling the the books, touching the different types of paper and seeing the covers. I love the vast choices to be made...all available with a library card.

Oh, Hilary, you also gave me my own historical tour of the Great Library of Alexandria. I had forgotten the history and was very pleased to have you remind me of it in your own unique way. And then to read about the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina:~) That's so cool.

As always, thank you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Blonde Duck - well done .. I should go more often .. and perhaps I will get more involved in due course.

@ Elaine - thank you - it's wonderful that so many of us appreciate the book still and realise what libraries can offer us. A book is so much easier on the mind, and eyes ...

@ Joylene - yes it would be great to follow Ellise's story - even for the next 20 - 30 years. People born near libraries certainly seem to benefit from them ... so many bloggers certainly reflect so.

I never went to University .. so the experience of a library is an unknown to me .. last year I did get shown round Rhodes' Library in Oxford - which was pretty amazing ... not very large though and specialising in Africa as you'd expect.

Long Live Libraries - though there I agree ...

@ Sara - big libraries will keep on .. it's the smaller ones I worry about .. I hope a different style of library will evolve - so communities can benefit from this wonderful resource.

I didn't know the history - so was glad to be able to write about some of it .. and the fact that the new library has arisen like a Phoenix - it sounds amazing - I'd love to visit the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

... though when the Birmingham Library is up and running in 2013 - I think I might pay it a visit!

Great to see you Blonde Duck, Elaine, Joylene and Sara - thanks so much for your comments - cheers Hilary

Southpaw said...

Awesome and informative - and gets the imagination going too. I keep thinking of the library filled with scrolls (and clay tablets too).

Friko said...

You forgot one very important event: the invention of the first printing press, which made the mass distribution of books possible.

nutschell said...

What a great post. I love that I've learned so much about libraries in the span of a few minutes. :)

Scarlett Clay said...

8 million books? That's incredible, what a library! and yay for Mr. Mcoll, that's amazing! We love books around here so I loved reading this wonderful information...have to mention that this week we've just been learning about world's first great library but our text names Ashurbanipal's endeavor in ancient Sumeria as the first.maybe?...poor old Ashurbanipal would be quite put out to think the world has forgotten his library!! :)Thanks, Hilary!!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
You must have a love of research and learning. All you post are full of facts and information. This one is just as excellent as past post. I didn't know it was Julius Caesar who burned down the library. I just assumed it somehow caught fire. I think my elementary teacher who told us the tale should have included the tidbit.

Thanks for visiting. Take care.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Fascinating stuff. Wow, would I like to go to Alexandria and see that new library. It sounds fantastic!

Juliet said...

What an encouraging post - to be reminded of the rich history of the book, and also ways in which libraries and books are still being preserved. As a writer, I have a vested interest of course, but I'm also a book lover, a user of libraries since childhood, and an avid reader.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly - well you would love the various scripts used .. let alone the gryph styles .. it does take some thought to 'see' that early library.

@ Friko - I know .. but it was libraries rather than books per se - and as it is I've omitted gigantic hunks of interesting aspects ... ?!

@ Nutschell - thought you'd enjoy the post .. cheers

@ Scarlett - libraries are incredible aren't they with their storage spaces etc for the physical items .. beautiful to see the early ones.

Re the 'Faces' - Mr McColl, Elise and the jazz - salsa dancing - linguist, who has Jamaican origins, fascinated me .. and the others with their creative ideas: their short biographies are so good to read through.

Re the oldest library .. yes you're right Ashurbanipal is the oldest systemised library at Nineveh in Assyria ... as I mention above - there is so much information .. so I just concentrated on Alexandria as I had another goal in mind ..

My next post will be about libraries too .. but another take .. so I'll do a note on Ashur .. it's about how much I can squash into +/- 1,000 words - and this post went well over the limit!

So Ashur is not forgotten (now!) - thanks Scarlett!!

@ Nancy - I do .. this post started off wanting to write about another library and combining it with another subject ... posting on Friday I hope.

There were four sieges of Alexandria - it was so strategically placed .. but Caesar's accidental burning of the library and the tsunami were relevant to the loss of the great Library, which I was trying to concentrate on.

@ Amy - if you go to Alexandria let me know and I'll be over with you!

@ Juliet - thanks so much .. it's the libraries and librarians that preserve the written word .. as you say we bloggers all have a vested interest.

Thanks so much Holly, Friko, Nutschell, Scarlett, Nancy, Amy and Juliet - great comments adding to the conversation .. libraries and books are so important to us all ....

Enjoy your writing and reading this week ..cheers Hilary

Karen Jones Gowen said...

A library is one of my favorite places. When we moved out West I was saddened to see all brand new libraries. Back in the Midwestern U.S., there were so many large, historic libraries, even in small towns. These are my favorite hangouts. The new ones are just functional.

Hilary, you'll be glad to know that I changed my comment form to pop up for you and others who prefer that. I think the method I'll use for now is alternating comments from embedded to pop up and back again occasionally, so that everyone can have an opportunity to make comments. Blogger is so funny sometimes!

Have a great day!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen ... interesting information about your different libraries - I guess the same applies here - the older ones have more character and have many more interesting features to them ... and function isn't everything is it.

I did - I've been over to comment and keep popping in and out - it really is a pain .. but I'm in touch with what's going on in Giraffe Land where Celery Trees grow ...

Great to see you and thanks - you have a good'ay too .. cheers Hilary

quilthexle said...

I don't know what I would do without our local library - thanks for reminding me! and maybe I'll be able to visit the new Birmingham library when it's open. We visited the library of Seattle, Washington State some years ago - and it was awesome!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Thanks for the history of the library. I once considered becoming a librarian.

Libraries have played an important role in my life. As a young person, I could never have afforded the number of books required to feed my reading hunger.

Have a great week!

Susan :)

TALON said...

That's really neat about the Birmingham Library, Hilary.

I love libraries. They're special places and no matter what library I visit wherever I've lived, there's a sense of shared history and knowledge.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Frauke ... education and professional education is high on the agenda in Germany isn't it. So imagine going to the library most children will start there.

It's a great thought that we can visit the big State or City libraries around the world .. and like you I hope to visit the Birmingham library when it's up and running.

@ Susan - Librarians seem to be in the right place to enjoy their work .. If we read as children we do devour books .. and I remember reading all the time ..

Does our feeding hunger change - I don't think so!

@ Talon - glad you enjoyed the build up for the new Birmingham Libary ..

I agree about the shared history and knowledge .. and each library holds its store of memories from the local town - essential to our understanding of who the town is today ...

Thanks Frauke, Susan, Talon - lovely to see you and to have your comments .. local libraries and Seattle ... and the thoughts for the new City library in Birmingham.

Cheers - it's meant to be warm here today ... 17 deg C ... not by the coast though. Still spring is springing ... Hilary

Shelley Sly said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as Library Lovers' Month. Sounds like my kind of celebration. I practically live at my local library. Thanks for all the neat facts!

MTeacress said...

You always teach me something new Hilary. I had no idea libraries had been around for so long, nor did I realize the connection between muse and museum - even though that one was right in front of my nose. HaHa!

Have a great weekend!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Shelley - Julie mentioned it and I thought I must respond! Glad you enjoyed the facts and story ..

@ Michelle - delighted to see you - and glad you found a few things out!

Cheers to you both .. and have a good weekend too - Hilary

Kittie Howard said...

What a fantastic post! Really enjoyed the history. I've been to Alexandria and know where the library will be. Oh, how I'd love to visit and lose myself in the new and the old.

Empty Nest Insider said...

"Rewriting the book," is such a wonderful theme for a new library! Thanks for all of your insightful research on libraries. It really makes me want to revisit our local library again to catch up on some reading in a warm and inviting setting. Julie

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Ah yes, and I really appreciate your excellent and informative library article. I am a library lover and let us hope that this foundation of knowledge is not threatened by our latest British government.
I also wish to thank you for your very kind and thoughtful comment on my latest posting.
Take care and my, aren't we having some mild weather.
With respect and gratitude, Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Kittie - how wonderful to have been to Alexandria - I agree though a trip to the new library would be just great.

@ Julie - yes the Birmingham Library's slogan I thought was rather good. Enjoy your revival visit to your library .. sounds like a good few hours ahead for you sometime.

@ Gary - I can imagine you'd be loving libraries - the big libraries will survive and I guess the little ones will within local communities - perhaps the schools.

We can and should learn from your predicament - my thoughts are with you and your son. Well - I don't know .. it is warmer, but the cold wind is pretty chilling down here!

Cheers Kittie, Julie and Gary - lovely to have your comments .. have wonderful weekends - Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Oh, you have just written about one of my all-time favourite place - the library in Alexandria! I've been there a couple time - most recently last month - and it's stunning. Literally took my breath away. The books are in back-lit cases and they're shining like jewels... gorgeous.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli - I was hoping you'd come calling .. and wondered if you'd been there .. it does look just wonderful - so I can believe it took your breath away. Now I want to go even more ...

Your description of the books shining like jewels .. that's what many books are - jewels into life itself ..

Great to see you .. and for adding to the atmosphere at the new library for us ... Hilary

Paula RC said...

Another wonderful posting Hilary. I have some badges from the 70's & 80's which read 'use your library or lose it'as well as many other slogans, snake & a book, 'Slither into a book', A steam train' Steam along to your library' etc. I hate thought of losing our library even though I'm not using mine as much as I should, but I like the thought of it being there for another people and poorer family to use. During the Book festival the libraries are used for meeting places.

Best wishes,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jarmara .. I remember the era of the slogans - I left the country at that stage and went off to South Africa .. but they're great to read now .. I must make use of mine .. and get to know it a little better ..

Cheers and enjoy your Essex book fair next week .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

I think I lived in the local library as a child - they certainly knew me there!A book has the power to transport one into another world, or into other lives. Fascinating catalogue of historical facts Hilary as always! :-)

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss hilary! wow so much cool info about libraries. i learn so much at your blog. that new alexandria library is HUGE. you could go there and learn everything in the world. it makes our little library down the road look sooooo tiny.
...hugs from lenny

Patricia said...

You know as an avid reader I just love libraries and books. I have now a child who is a librarian too!

I have been having computer problems - my email systems are not working and am awaiting a new program but am thinking maybe I need a new computer - since there are no funds for that, I will just keep my fingers crossed and eyes heavenward that the new program tackles and roots out the problem

On Monday February 20th I signed up for the new e lending library on my computer. I can check out a book for 21 days for free on my kindle or computer...gotta love this

I am awaiting the arrival of 8 new books for review...I have to say am a bit worried about their arrival...and their due dates

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deborah .. it seems like many writers did get that opportunity to 'live' at their local library - better than the pub I guess!!

Books do take use elsewhere don't they .. glad you enjoyed the info ..

@ Lenny - wonderful to see you - you and Ellise will be much the same age - she has really hit the jackpot helping to develop Birmingham's new library (in the UK!) ..

I'm sure your little library has a wealth of information for you at the moment - by the time you get to the bigger libraries and further studies - you'll be so knowledgeable ... soooooooo full of lots of love facts and brain power ..

Hugs to you too Lenny - enjoy the weekend with the family ..

Thanks Deborah and Lenny - just lovely to have you here .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. good to see you - I hadn't realised one of your children is a librarian - that's kinda cool!

Computer glitches are the worst .. let's hope all settles down for a while .. the new elending idea sounds good for an avid reader like you!

Good luck with the reviews .. you'll cope I'm sure! Cheers for now .. Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Hi Hilary
I really enjoyed reading this post - very thought provoking and fascinating history....
I really should use my local library more, but I support authors and book publishers by buying the books for myself. My one major weakness - BOOKS! So I have my own miniature library:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - glad you enjoyed the post - where's your local library .. is it in Sabi? or White River? I've always carried my reference books around with me! So I agree - books are an essential in life ..

Have a good weekend .. Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

I hear that Ellise Miles has a favorite librarian, named Page Turner, of course.

Ahhh to be 13 again. And have a brand new huge library to get lost in.

That sculpture is cute, maybe I'll havbe you take my photo by it one day, Hilary!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie - love your thought on this .. and who knows in this day and age - Ellise's inspiration may well be Page Turner.

I agree oh to be 13 again with all the opportunities we have today .. and to be involved in the new library project at Birmingham - lucky girl .. but she realises that by sticking her neck out and becoming actively interacting.

I'm sure we could sit on history together! and have our photo taken .. that would be fun .. and so great to meet up sometime ..

Cheers for now - and have a fun week .. Hilary xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Oh libraries! Sanctuaries! How I love the library.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kat .. we sure can get lost in libraries .. as you say Sanctuaries.

Thanks for coming by - Hilary

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

A library is such a treasure. I hope they will always exist! And isn't "bibliotechque" a lovely word?? xo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Melissa .. yes Bibiloteque is just delightful isn't it .. libraries - you could visit a few of those on your travels?! Cheers Hilary