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Fun Facts About Libraries

Libraries have been around for as long as humanity has written on pages. It is where we go to check out the paperback, hardcover, comic books, and movies in some colleges. And the best way to get kids and adults going to the library is with incentive.

Here are a few interesting facts about libraries to get your interest going again:

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1. The World’s Oldest Library is

Located in the city of Sinai, Egypt. It is also on record as the oldest regularly operating library in the world. Built around the 6th century, contained within its walls is the second largest collection of religious text in the world, the first being the Vatican itself.

What makes this place even more special is that only monks and invited scholars are allowed to view the material within the library.

In France, the Library of Paris (Bibliotheque de Paris) earned its status as the oldest running library service available to the public since 1368. Over the last few hundred years, it has moved a few times to accommodate its increasing catalogue of books.

2. The Largest Library is in the United States

The Library of Congress, possessing more than 158 million items on over 838 miles of bookshelves, is the largest library in the entire world. There are more than 36 million books and print material, about 3.5 million recordings (video and audio), over 12 million photographs, approximately 5.5 million maps, along with 6.7 million portions of sheet music, and 69 million manuscripts.

With that much located within its walls, the biggest bibliophile can probably die happy after visiting and partaking of the knowledge located within.

3. The Smallest Library is Located in New York

If there’s going to be a “world’s biggest” library, we also must also have the opposite. In the Big Apple, a small plastic structure holds a little over 30 books for any citizen to take a detour for a short reading session. Known as the “Little Free Library,” two architects created the installment with recycled material as weather protection for the books.

4. The Highest Library is in China

Recorded by Guinness World Records, on the 60th floor of the JW Marriot at Tomorrow Square in Shanghai is the world’s highest library. It sits about 757ft 6in above ground level.

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The collection is ever-expanding and members of the public can acquire membership to check out books on the 103 shelves located within. You might hesitate to visit this if stairs aren’t your things, as there are about 1,435 steps between you and the books.

5. The First Recorded Librarian was Zenodotus

From Ephesus, Zenodotus had been the ‘OG’ librarian since Ptolemy I’s reign had ended. Being a knowledgeable Greek, he was a literary critic, an expert in grammar, and was considered a scholar of the works of Homer.

The native Ephesusian was a pupil to Philitas of Cos and became the first ever librarian to the Library of Alexandria.

6. The First Library Classification System

Is actually older than you would think. Scholars have determined that the first classification system arose during the height of the Han Dynasty. On the continent of North America, is it believed that 16th-century French settlers and their personal book collections helped establish the first one used here.

7. The first Bookmobile was in Britain

A British newspaper released an edition in 1857 speaking of a mobile library started by Victorian merchant and philanthropist George Moore. Moore made his rounds in an eight village circle in the county of Cumbria. His goal? To “diffuse good literature among the rural population.”

Another mobile library, the Warrington Perambulating Library, was driven was under the ownership of Warrington Mechanics’ Institute, whose goal was to share its books with the most enthusiastic of people.

8. The World’s Largest Fine for an Overdue Book?

The largest fine I’ve ever incurred for a late book fee is about $20. Luckily, it never amounted to $345.14, the largest fine ever charged for an overdue library item. It was for the poetry book Days and Deeds, checked out in April 1955 from the Kewanee Public Library, Illinois, USA by Emily Canellos-Simms.

Being the Good Samaritan she is, when patron Emily found the book more than four decades later in her mother’s home, she took back both the book and the money she owed for it being late.

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9. The Most Stolen Library Book?

Surprisingly, the most stolen book is actually the Holy Bible. The only one that comes second in the Guinness World Records book.

10. There is a Floating Library Service

It was first established in 1959 using various ships. The first adapted vessel was entered into service in 1963. Known as Epos the Library Ship, it was built at Oma Yard and sits at 80ft from bow to stern.

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