The Evolution of Libraries: From Ancient Clay Tablets to Andrew Carnegie

TLDR The creation of libraries began with clay tablets in ancient Sumerian temples and evolved into the library of Alexandria. The invention of the printing press and the philanthropic efforts of Andrew Carnegie further expanded the availability of books and the establishment of libraries worldwide.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The creation of repositories for documents, known as libraries, began with the storage of clay tablets in ancient Sumerian temples and evolved into the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, which contained over 30,000 clay tablets.
02:35 The library of Alexandria was the greatest library in the ancient world and served as a center for learning, while there were also other notable libraries such as the library of Pergamum and the library of Kelsus.
04:29 Private libraries were more common in the ancient world, such as the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, and the first public library was created in Rome during the late Republican period.
06:25 The invention of the printing press increased the availability and decreased the price of books, leading to the establishment of numerous libraries throughout Europe, including the Vatican Library.
08:26 The development of true public libraries began in the early 17th century with chain libraries, and the early 18th century saw the rise of lending libraries and subscription libraries.
10:19 Andrew Carnegie was responsible for the establishment of over 2,500 libraries worldwide, including 1,689 in the United States, by providing grants to local communities with certain conditions attached.
12:20 The Carnegie Library program, which provided grants for the establishment of libraries between 1883 and 1929, remains one of the largest philanthropic projects in history and played a significant role in the growth of free libraries in the United States.
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