The Library: A Fragile History

Book review by Deane Barker tags: books, library

This is exactly what it promised – a long, detailed history of libraries, from scrolls in chests to books on the shelves.

Libraries really started with the church. They were first repositories of books, and they grew from there. Back in the day, books were expensive because mass printing was in its infancy. Books were considered a sign of wealth.

The book covers the growth of book collecting through Europe and beyond. It covers lots of interesting periods in history like:

  • Attempts to censor fiction; novels were considered tools of the Devil
  • The usage of libraries to control history. The Nazi libraries were so pro-German that not of a lot of it was relevant after the end of the Reich.
  • The burning of libraries and destruction of knowledge in general.
  • Book banning
  • The future of the library in the digital age
  • Private, membership libraries (very common at one time)

There’s a lot here, but it’s a nice read. There are two sets of pictures throughout the book.

Book Info

Andrew Pettegree
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A hardcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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