Four level shelves filled with books typical in most libraries.
Posted By MLA
All You Need to Know About the Purpose and Importance of Libraries

Libraries are known in most cultures as the cornerstones of a healthy community. This is because libraries are in many cases the single readily available local source of knowledge and information required by people. People require knowledge for personal, professional, educational and leisurely purposes and libraries are a free resource to help them gain this required knowledge.  Most people tend not to give libraries a second thought, but they are very important within communities. Read on to learn why.

Large open space modern library with white floors and ceiling to floor shelves typical of traditional libraries.

The History of Libraries

It is believed that the very first public library was established before 353 BC by a man named Clearchus. He was Greek and a student of Plato. Of course one of the more famous ancient libraries is the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It is understood that everyone who entered Egypt had to give up their books to the library where they would be copied. The interesting part is that the Library of Alexandria would keep the original texts and give the owners the copies. Today, the oldest working library was founded in 859 CE in Morocco. It is said that at one time there were four different keys required to open the library. Each key was held by a different person, therefore without all four key holders, you could not get in. It is clear that knowledge at this time in Morocco was highly regarded, to say the least.

Inside an old library with dusty books in piles on tables, unorganised like old fashioned libraries.

The Benefits of a Library

In modern day society, libraries are very different when compared with some of the original institutions. One of the best things about modern day libraries is they are free to enter and it is free to rent out a book, as well as use the public computers. This is extremely significant as knowledge is power, regardless of what the knowledge is. Therefore, allowing every member of the community free access to knowledge is an essential part of democracy, freedom, and fairness. In addition, libraries are a fantastic location to bring communities together and to make people feel welcome.  Most libraries will host conferences, talks, youth groups, book clubs and other adult groups for learning and rehabilitation. Plus, there is typically a general understanding between visitors to the library that it is a place of sanctuary, understanding and learning. Generally, libraries are positive and encouraging environments to be in.