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The World’s Oldest Library!

How old is the world’s oldest library?

Libraries have played a very important role for humans for a long time. Have you ever wondered how long libraries have existed?

Well, as it turns out, the oldest library in the world, the Royal Library of Alexandria, was built in approximately 300 BC in Alexandria, Egypt.  Sadly, it doesn’t actually exist anymore. Although it functioned as a major learning center in its time, it was accidentally burned down by Julius Caesar during the Alexandrian War and was never the same after that!

As far as continually running libraries go, the St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt, was constructed around 550 AD.  It has one of the largest collection of religious literature in the world and a collection of Byzantine manuscripts. The library isn’t accessible to the public! Only monks and invited scholars are allowed inside.

That brings us to the oldest, still running, public library in the world.  La Bibliotheque National de France (National Library of France). It dates back to 1368, making it almost 650 years old.  It is absolutely beautiful and fully accessible to the public… so long as you can get to France!

In Canada, the first libraries were part of religious institutions and ordinary people weren’t allowed in.  The first public library — that was open to ordinary people — was founded in Quebec City by Frederick Haldimand in 1779 — more than 200 years ago.

via (ttg library)

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About the Author

's favourite books include The Sound and the Fury, every one of the Harry Potter books, The Fault in Our Stars, The Princess Bride, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and A Little Princess. She wrote her first book -- Chestnut Squirrel Stories -- in fourth grade and has gone on to publish a number of books. She also writes for television and the web.

2 Responses to The World’s Oldest Library!

  1. Rekha says:

    We’ve set up a multi-author, global blog called Libraries of our Lives to preserve the memories of favorite libraries. some are old, some new. Some small, small some big but all well beloved.
    Perhaps you’d enjoy reading about other old libraries such as Linen Hall library, Belfast, N. Ireland, (226 years old), Newark Public Library, New Jersey, US (180 years old) and Trivandrum Public Library, India ( 188 years old) and may be some new ones too.
    Check us out at:

  2. Bill says:

    Alexandria was a great library, no question. But not the oldest.
    Ebla is some 2000 years older. Look it up, Google is your friend.

    Also, search for “Mesopotamian libraries”.
    Also, did you think about, how did the Gilgamesh survived to present days? “The earliest cuneiform references to Gilgamesh are a cycle of Sumerian poems …” Yes, via libraries.
    These don’t require ‘scholarly knowledge’ just plain everyday general education.

    May I suggest, before attempting to engage with scholarly subjects, read BOOKS apart from Harry Potter? Else you are in danger to turn yourself into a laughing stock.

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