Learn at the Library!
Having this knowledge enables us to understand other cultures, time periods, and traditions, and it helps us add to that data bank by continuing to explore all disciplines to expand on what we already know. Collecting information and materials, organizing all of it, and then making it available for the benefit of everyone is one of the essential roles of libraries.
You’ll be fascinated by the story of the Library at Alexandria if you’re one of those people that gets lost in bookstores and loves to talk about ideas. It was, in its day, the center for knowing and education in the age-old world. When Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria in 332 BC, he thought that knowledge was a key factor of power. His father, King Phillip, had really wanted Alexander to receive the best education available. Because of this, Alexander was educated under the great Aristotle, who said:” Educated men are as much superior to uneducated men as the living are to the dead. The fate of empires relies on the education of youth.”
While Alexandria was definitely a prime location from a military standpoint, Alexander expected it would become an intellectual hotspot, too. He wanted books, and lots of them, though he died before he was able to see that dream become a reality. That hope came to fruition through the efforts of Ptolemy, who ruled following Alexander’s death.
The Library at Alexandria held an enormous collection of books written on scrolls. One of the ways they expanded the library was by searching travelers that arrived to their city. Any books that were found were brought so they could be copied by scribes. When the copying work was finished, the library would preserve the original and give the copied work to the owner. (Intriguing side note: We also know that Aristotle gave his personal collection of books to the library in his will.).
The library served as a hub for scribes and intellectuals, and a number of the great minds of the day spent time there for study and scholarship. It’s exciting that for being such an important and famous location in ancient time(s), we aren’t sure where the original library was. These days we only know the site of the Serapeum, which housed more materials as the library’s collection grew. Itis estimated that the Serapeum potentially held 300,000 books, but no one can say with certainty how big the collection for the entire library actually was. But we understand that it did exist, and that learning for the sake of learning was valued and encouraged in the ancient world. Doesn’t that sound like something we want our young people to value today?
And just as the Library of Alexandria was the most important library of its time, we have a modern equivalent today in the United States. The Library of Congress is an impressive library holding more materials than you can wrap your mind around. It was conceived as a library to serve members of Congress, and it’s a research library– meaning you can’t check anything out.
Few years after its creation, however, the Library of Congress was burned by the British in August of 1814. It was only a short matter of time before Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library as a substitute. His collection of over 6,400 books more than doubled the size of the original library, and it was purchased by the United States at a price of almost $24,000 dollars.
The library takes up three buildings: the Thomas Jefferson Building, the John Adams Building, and the James Madison Memorial Building. To name a few gems, the library houses some handwritten documents from major times in our country’s history: the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, the first Inaugural Address given by George Washington, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But the library’s collection consists of materials from many countries, in many languages, in a variety of mediums. And how about some mind-boggling numbers? The library has over 850 miles(!) of bookshelves and receives approximately 15,000 items every day.
The Library at Alexandria and the Library of Congress are like bookends in time, two pillars in the modern and ancient world that attest to mankind’s thirst for information and knowledge. And as a motorcoach provider, we are grateful for the scholarship and opportunities that libraries afford us.
Information for this article originated from the following sources:.