I guess this one is a 5. Not bad but not great, i could have read another hundred pages on the same topic and in fact have requested another book about books from my library, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez. It may be a bit of a downer though.
16 November 2010
Another Book About Libraries
I finished a quick one, Libraries in the Ancient World by Lionel Casson. Casson traces libraries from the beginnings back in the Near East when "books" were written on clay tablets in cuneiform. As papyrus use spread after Alexander conquered Egypt books became scrolls but weren't exactly portable; you had to roll with your left hand as you unrolled with your right. But libraries, as places where scholars and scientists and philosophers could read and work, grew. Rome was where private and public libraries really took off. One emperor started putting libraries into the public baths, i hope in a room without the water! as Rome declined, Constantinople remained a place where books were still valued. Casson's coverage ends as the Middle Ages begins.