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The Story of Libraries


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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; 1. The Earliest Libraries; 2. Libraries of Classical Antiquity; 3. Lanterns of the Dark Ages; 4. Libraries of the Orient; 5. Libraries of the Islamic World; 6. The High Middle Ages; 7. Gutenberg's Legacy; 8. Treasuries of the Book; 9. The Repositories of Knowledge; 10. Libraries for the People; 11. The Rising Generation; 12. Putting Knowledge to Work; 13. The Craft of Librarianship; 14. Libraries of the Future; Notes; Principal Works Consulted; Index.

About the Author

Fred Lerner holds degrees in History and Library science from Columbia University, where he received his doctorate. He has also written widely on contemporary science fiction and lives in Vermont with his wife, an elementary school teacher, and teenage daughter.


This is a popular history of libraries and librarianship from ancient times to the present. The author, a librarian who has previously written about science fiction, also includes some cautionary reflections on the future of libraries and digital technology. While similar to Michael H. Harris's History of Libraries in the Western World (Professional Reading, LJ 8/95), his book is not limited to the West. The fourth chapter surveys the history of writing, printing, and libraries in China, India, Korea, and Japan until the 18th or 19th century. In order to broaden his scope and keep the book relatively brief, however, Lerner provides less detail on such topics as the development of university libraries in Europe and North America. Both books have extensive bibliographies, but Harris incorporates more on the new history of the book. Less like a textbook, Lerner's work may appeal more to the general reader.‘Thomas F. O'Connor, Manhattan Coll. Libs., New York

"'We now have a book with ideas to impress general readers from the outside and stretch library-history insiders, especially those of us who are lucky enough to be teaching library history courses, for which this should now be the text of choice.' Librari"

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