Tablet from the Library of Ashurbanipal containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing —the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered in temple rooms in Sumer  some dating back to BC.
There is also evidence of libraries at Nippur about BC and those at Nineveh about BC showing a library classification system. The tablets were stored in a variety of containers such as wooden boxes, woven baskets of reeds, or clay shelves.
The "libraries" were cataloged using colophons, which are a publisher's imprint on the spine of a book, or in this case a tablet.
The colophons stated the series name, the title of the tablet, and any extra information the scribe needed to indicate. Eventually, the clay tablets were organized by subject and size.
Unfortunately, due to limited to bookshelf space, once more tablets were added to the library, older ones were removed, which is why some tablets are missing from the excavated cities in Mesopotamia. This Great library was more than a place to hold books and records, it became a place of culture.
The Alexandrian book collections steadily diminished as a result of natural causes, war, and wholesale theft by corrupt administrators.
The library was built to store 12, scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus.
Private or personal libraries made up of written books as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives appeared in classical Greece in the 5th century BC.
The celebrated book collectors of Hellenistic Antiquity were listed in the late 2nd century in Deipnosophistae.
All these libraries were Greek. The cultivated Hellenized diners in Deipnosophistae pass over the libraries of Rome in silence. By the time of Augustus, there were public libraries near the forums of Rome.
The state archives were kept in a structure on the slope between the Roman Forum and the Capitoline Hill. Private libraries appeared during the late republic: Seneca inveighed against libraries fitted out for show by illiterate owners who scarcely read their titles in the course of a lifetime, but displayed the scrolls in bookcases armaria of citrus wood inlaid with ivory that ran right to the ceiling: At the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneumapparently the villa of Caesar's father-in-law, the Greek library has been partly preserved in volcanic ash; archaeologists speculate that a Latin library, kept separate from the Greek one, may await discovery at the site.
Remains of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus In the West, the first public libraries were established under the Roman Empire as each succeeding emperor strove to open one or many which outshone that of his predecessor. Rome's first public library was established by Asinius Pollio.
Pollio was a lieutenant of Julius Caesar and one of his most ardent supporters. After his military victory in Illyria, Pollio felt he had enough fame and fortune to create what Julius Caesar had sought for a long time: It was the first to employ an architectural design that separated works into Greek and Latin.
All subsequent Roman public libraries will have this design. During this construction, Augustus created two more public libraries. The first was the library of the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine, often called the Palatine libraryand the second was the library of the Porticus of Octaviae.
Vespasian's library was constructed in the Forum of Vespasianalso known as the Forum of Peace, and became one of Rome's principal libraries.
The Bibliotheca Pacis was built along the traditional model and had two large halls with rooms for Greek and Latin libraries containing the works of Galen and Lucius Aelius. Trajan's Column separated the Greek and Latin rooms which faced each other.
Reading or copying was normally done in the room itself. The surviving records give only a few instances of lending features.
Most of the large Roman baths were also cultural centres, built from the start with a library, a two-room arrangement with one room for Greek and one for Latin texts.
Libraries were filled with parchment scrolls as at Library of Pergamum and on papyrus scrolls as at Alexandria: There were a few institutional or royal libraries which were open to an educated public such as the Serapeum collection of the Library of Alexandriaonce the largest library in the ancient world but on the whole collections were private.
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