5 legendary libraries that were online long before we invented Information – in today’s Burger Bite.
Along with the ancient library at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, these libraries are worthy of mention:
- Formally established in 1475 by Pope Nicholas V but based on older collections, The Vatican Library holds a massive catalog of more than 75,000 manuscripts and over a million books on subjects stretching from the ancient past to modern times.
- The legendary Desert Libraries of Timbuktu, the Middle Ages’ premier cultural and trade center in West Africa, produced and preserved some of the most important books bridging the Western and Islamic worlds as early as the 14th century.
- Established in 1800 for “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress…” the Library of Congress was destroyed when invading British troops burned the Capitol Building during the War of 1812. The institution was reestablished when retired President Thomas Jefferson donated his entire personal library, including “everything which related to America, and indeed whatever was rare and valuable in every science.”
- From the 3rd century BCE The Library of Alexandria was the legendary center for scholarship and culture at the crossroads of Egypt. Its immense and invaluable collection of scrolls from around the known world was destroyed by fire during a Roman civil war, though the date and explanation for the fire is controversial.
More than 2,500 Carnegie Libraries were built throughout the Western World (1,689 in the US) in the late-19th to early-20th centuries with money donated by their namesake, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The buildings, found in many American cities and small towns, are often striking in their style and presence – to say nothing of their deep importance to the people who visited them.
I am so fascinated with libraries – especially old ones – that I made a monolithic, centuries-old library the central battleground of my thriller The League of Delphi.
Chris Everheart is author of the thriller