Cover image for Libraries through the ages
Libraries through the ages
Lerner, Frederick Andrew, 1945-
Publication Information:
New York : Continuum, 1999.
Physical Description:
160 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
A history of libraries throughout the world, from those of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians to the comprehensive libraries of today.
General Note:
Based on the author's The story of libraries.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z721 .L564 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Z721 .L564 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Five thousand years ago, the Sumerian people created writing and established libraries to preserve the prayers, hymns and documents necessary for progress both in religion and commerce. Ever since, libraries have reflected and shaped the societies that created them by preserving the thoughts and actions of their ancestral cultures, and transmitting them through time. A librarian for more than 30 years, Fred Lerner has based this volume on "The Story of Libraries" (Continuum, 1998). More concise, and with twice as many illustrations, it should appeal to secondary school students, as well as to older readers, who want an international history of book collection, from the invention of writing to the computer age.

Author Notes

Fred Lerner holds degrees in history and library science from Columbia University, where he received his doctorate. He has also written widely on contemporary science fiction and produces a bibliographical database indexing literature on posttraumatic stress disorder. He lives in Vermont with his wife Sheryl, a retired teacher.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-10. A shortened version of Lerner's adult book The Story of Libraries [BKL Ap 15 99], this YA title is dry in style, but the subject is nothing less than a history of reading, of literacy across the world. From the inventions of writing, papermaking, and printing to the establishment of America's first public library and the proclamation of ALA's Library Bill of Rights, Lerner links reading to politics, power, and access. There are fascinating chapters on the role of religion, including the positive view of literacy inspired by the Koran, and the Reformation's teaching that everyone should have enough education to read the Bible. Always there's the pressure of censorship and the burning of books through history, another sign of the power of reading. Lerner includes footnotes, a bibliography, an extensive glossary, and a useful, detailed time line for each chapter. Teachers might like to use this for curriculum support in world history classes. --Hazel Rochman

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. 9
Prefacep. 11
1 The Fertile Crescentp. 13
2 Greece and Romep. 20
3 Medieval Europep. 28
4 China and Indiap. 40
5 The Islamic Worldp. 57
6 The Printed Bookp. 66
7 Kings and Congressmenp. 74
8 Colleges and Universitiesp. 82
9 The People's Librariesp. 97
10 Libraries for Young Peoplep. 108
11 Libraries at Workp. 115
12 The Library of the Futurep. 122
Notesp. 129
Glossaryp. 133
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 141
Timelinep. 143
Mapsp. 153
Indexp. 155