What do you actually know about libraries? Places filled to the brim with books with an old librarian shushing you all the time for chewing your bubble gum too loudly.
Yeah, yeah, we all know that. But did you know that somewhere in the universe there is a library with beings that hide in the shadows that can strip a person from their flesh, take over their skeletons and move about? Or was that only a Doctor Who episode?
You can choose to believe in this fact or not but we have some more believable and unbelievable facts about libraries that you were not aware of.
The Oldest Library Dates Back to 7 BC
The oldest library in the world is the Ashurbanipal Library in Ninevah, Assyria (modern Iraq). The library was created by the King of Assyria that the library is named after. Archeologists discovered the remains of this library in 1850 and found cuneiform tablets about the law and history of the period. Interestingly, everything was arranged in a systematic order.
The Vatican “Secret” Archive isn’t Actually Secret
The Vatican Secret Archive, or Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum, created by Pope Paul V in 1612 is no secret. The library actually contains state paper, papal correspondence, and many more things. Access is granted to the current Pope and is inherited by the one that comes next. However, the Secretum in the title is wrongly translated as “secret” as it is more appropriate to view it as “private.”
Librarians Have their Own Style of Handwriting
“Library Hand” is a style of handwriting that all librarians had to learn in schools for librarians since the 19th century. It is a type of curved script and the idea behind it was to create a standardized handwriting style that will only be used in libraries.
The Most Overdue Book was 122 Years Late
In 2011, the Camden School of Arts lending library in Australia had their book returned to them. The book loaned was Charles Darwin’s Insectivorous Plants. Interestingly, the book was borrowed in 1889, breaking the record of the most overdue book in history with 122 years.
The World’s Biggest Library is the Library of Congress
If we count the catalog depth then the Library of Congress takes the cake as being the biggest library in the world. It contains 168 million items.
A Library in Two Countries
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House are famous for being located on the very border between Canada and the US. People from Canada can enter from Stanstead, Quebec while people from the US do so from the other side in Derby Line, Vermont. You don’t need a passport to walk about on the other side but you do need to go out the same way you entered.
A Library Protected by Bats
The Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra in Portugal has some u unusual protectors – Bats! These bats are kept in the library as they prey on insects that could damage the pages of books. So nobody calls the exterminator.