LIBRARIES: STILL GOING STRONG

Library Of Alexandria

This blog will be somewhat inactive for the next three days. That is because, for the next three days, I will be fully occupied with the Great Okanagan Book Sale. This annual occurrence (now in its twenty-sixth year and, yes, I’ve been to all of them), consists of a church hall being filled to the brim with library discards and donations that the public can purchase for $1 each (adult) or 50¢ each (children’s). If you’re in the Okanagan vicinity, or your own community does something similar, it’s a great way to stock up on books, historic or otherwise, and support organizations (here, the Friends of the Library) that strive to improve and expand local libraries.
The first library I had a card for was in the little English market town my family moved to when I was ten. To a bibliophile such as myself, this was a really big deal, since libraries were something I had heard about, but had not hitherto had much access to. I had books at home (lots of them), but this was … more.
The first libraries in existence were in Mesopotamia and Egypt, in the form of clay tablets and papyrus or leather scrolls. Primarily for the use of scholars, it’s unlikely they had a Children’s Section, but served those who did use them. Public libraries were a staple in Ancient Greece and Rome, and the wealthy of medieval times and subsequent periods often had private libraries in their homes. Libraries as we know them didn’t really come into their own until the Victorian era when, thanks to mandatory education, the general populace became more literate.
People in Third World countries often do not have such luxuries, though, so any fund-raisers that provide books to them are worthwhile, too.
If anyone wants me for the next three days (new boxes come in daily), I will be at the sale browsing through the history and historical novel sections. Or maybe the sci-fi section. Or the humour section. Or the travel section. Or the kids/YA section. Or … Well, I’ll be there somewhere.

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