Who invented public libraries?

I'd also like to know who came up with library cards.

7 Answers

  • Yorrik
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Public libraries have been around since classical Greece and Rome. Whoever suggested Boston in c1833 is way off beam.

    This link helps explain about public libraries of the classical era - Greece and Rome


    In the classical era when a person wished to borrow a book from a library, they had to have a copy of the book made first. They then kept the copy and returned the original book (scroll/document) to the library for safe-keeping.

    An uncle of Julius Caesar had a library at Herculaneum not far from Pompeii - it was destroyed when a mud slide caused by the eruption of Vesuvius flowed over the site. However, using modern photo-technology made available by NASA the charred remains of the scrolls at the library are being slowly and painstakingly discovered.


    The end of the Roman Empire

    From the beginning of the third century AD, Rome suffered a series of internal crises, which was reflected in its cultural world. However, we know that in Constantine's time there was twenty-eight libraries in Rome, among them the renamed Ulpia. And with the capital transferred from Rome to Constantinople, and Rome in decay, Amianus Marcellinus described the libraries as "closed like tombs". The disintegration of the Roman Empire also brought about the collapse of the old traditional social order, and the light of the world that represented Rome first languished and finally it was extinguished for always.


  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Who Invented The Library

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Interestingly, it was Andrew Carnegie who funded the first public libraries in Great Britain.

    Dewey invented the Dewey Decimal system, so presumably, that's when library cards started to be used with the numbers so that books would be easier to find.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    In the early years of the 17th century, many famous collegiate and town libraries were founded throughout the country. Francis Trigge Chained Library of St. Wulfram's Church, Grantham, Lincolnshire was founded in 1598 by the rector of nearby Welbourne. Norwich City library was established in 1608 (six years after Thomas Bodley founded the Bodleian Library, which was open to the "whole republic of the learned"[citation needed] and 145 years before the foundation of the British Museum),[citation needed] and Chetham's Library in Manchester, which claims to be the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, opened in 1653. Other early town libraries of the UK include those of Ipswich (1612), Bristol (founded in 1613 and opened in 1615), and Leicester (1632). Shrewsbury School also opened its library to townsfolk.

    In Bristol, an early library that allowed access to the public was that of the Kalendars or Kalendaries, a brotherhood of clergy and laity who were attached to the Church of All-Hallowen or All Saints. Records show that in 1464, provision was made for a library to be erected in the house of the Kalendars, and reference is made to a deed of that date by which it was "appointed that all who wish to enter for the sake of instruction shall have 'free access and recess' at certain times"

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  • 9 years ago

    G'day Eclectic_N,

    Thank you for your question.

    The first public town library was started in the town of Peterborough, New Hampshire, founded in 1833. Boston was the first big city to have one in 1854.

    Ben Franklin started a private library in the 18th century, As it relied on buying shares, that was probably the first library card as you had to buy shares to borrow books.


  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    Ben Franklin

  • 9 years ago

    wasnt it ben franklin?

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