Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
2100 BCE
Babylonia
The first known library was a collection of clay
tablets in Babylonia in the 21st Century BCE.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1200 BCE
Egypt
Diodorus Siculus describes the library of
Ramses III C.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
0668 BCE
Assyria
Between 668 BCE and 627 BCE, In an effort to
collect all knowledge, Ashurbanipal, King of
Assyria during these years, collected a library at
Nineveh, of 20,000–30,000 clay tablets written in
cuneiform script.
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php July 2010
0335 BCE
Greece
Extension of the written tradition under the
influence of Aristotle was evident in a movement
to collect and preserve books which
corresponded roughly with the founding of his
school in 335 BC. But neither Aristotle nor Plato
appears to have regarded a library among the
requirements of an ideal state.
Innis, Empire, P. 80
0330 BCE
Byzantium
The Emperor Constantine makes Byzantium his
capitol, renames it Constantinople, and begins
the formation of the Imperial Library of
Constantinople by having the Judeo-Christian
scriptures copied from papyrus onto the more
permanent medium of parchment or vellum.
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php July 2010
0323 BCE
Egypt
Ptolemy I Soter, son of Lagus and commander
under Alexander, ruled Egypt as the first king of
the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Under his rule the library
of Alexandria was commissioned. [323 BCE to
285 BCE]
http://timelines.ws August 2007
0320 BCE
Egypt
A bibliography is a systematic list of books and
other works such as journal articles.
Bibliographies range from works cited lists at the
end of books and articles to complete
independent publications. As separate works,
they may be in bound volumes. The first
bibliography was associated with the Library of
Alexandria.
http://www.mkbergman.com/temp-exhibit/
September 2010
0285 BCE
Egypt
Easy access to supplies of papyrus, facilitated
development of the Alexandrian library. By 285
BCE the library established by Ptolemy I had 20,
000 manuscripts, and by the middle of the first
century 700,000, while a smaller library
established by Ptolemy in the Serapeum possibly
for duplicates had 42,800.
Innis, Empire, P. 112-13
0280 BCE
Egypt
The Royal Library of Alexandria also known as
the Great Library or simply the Library of
Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was once the
largest library in the world. The Library likely
encompassed several buildings, with the main
book depositories either directly attached to or
located close to the oldest building, the Museum.
At its height and prior to its destruction over
stages by the first century AD, beginning with its
burning by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, it likely held
from between 500,000 to 1 million scrolls.
http://www.mkbergman.com/temp-exhibit/
September 2010
0213 BCE
China
Following the advice of his chief adviser Li Si,
Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified
China, orders most previously existing books to
be burned in order to avoid scholars' comparison
of his reign with the past.
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php March 2010
0200 BCE
Libya
Kallimachos (Callimachus), a renowned poet and
head of the Alexandrian Library, compiled a
catalogue of its holdings which he called Pinakes
(Tables or Lists). Supposedly extending to 120
papyrus rolls, this catalogue amounted to a
systematic survey of Greek literature up to its
time. It also represented the origins of
bibliography. Only a few fragments survived the
eventual destruction of the library, together with a
scattering of references to it in other ancient
works.
http://www.historyofinformation.com/index.ph
p?era=-300 Feb 2012
0168 BCE
Roman Empire
The spread of writing reinforced Greek influence.
Books and readers probably emerged in the third
century to meet the needs of the state and the
demands of agriculture and law. In the second
century books were securely established but
circulated to a very limited educated class. After
the defeat of Perceus of Macedonia (168 BCE),
the consult Aemilius Paulus brought the library of
the king to Rome. Aulla brought the library of
Apollion of Teus, including works of Aristotle and
Theophrastus, from Athens to Rome.
Innis, Empire, P. 120
0048 BCE
Egypt
The library at Alexandria was ravaged by fire
during the fighting between Caesar and Ptolemy
XIII.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
0370
Roman Empire
Rome is said to have 28 public libraries.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
0500
Egypt
In the early 500s in Egypt, a man named
Pachomius established a monastery and insisted
on literacy among his monks. This was to have a
long-lasting effect even after the Roman Empire
split in two about 100 years later. Throughout the
rest of the eastern empire, monastic
communities emerged with small and mostly
theological libraries.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html November 2010
17 Sep 0642
Egypt
Arabs conquered Alexandria and destroyed the
great library. Omar, the second caliph, successor
of Mohammed, conquered Alexandria, then the
capital of world scholarship.
http://timelines.ws April 2007
0976
Spain
The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Spain) was
completed and served as a religious, social and
educational center. The largest of the 70 libraries
in Cordoba contained 500,000 volumes. 70,000
books a year were hand-copied to satisfy the
citizens' literary appetites.
http://timelines.ws April 2007
1204
Turkey
In the Fourth Crusade Norman crusaders,
attempting to form a Latin Empire, sacked
Constantinople, almost completely destroying the
city. They burned the Imperial Library which
preserved much of the knowledge of the ancient
world.
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
August 2007
1258
Iraq
Mongols under the command of Hulagu Khan
sack Baghdad, destroying the House of Wisdom,
the leading library in the leading intellectual
center of the Arab world.
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php March 2006
1367
France
In France, the national library in Paris known as
Bibliotheque Nationale de France began in 1367
as the Royal Library of Charles V.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1373
France
The Bibliothèque Nationale housed in the Louvre
catalogued 1,000 volumes.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2007
1425
UK
The earliest public library in the UK was
associated with London's Guild Hall in 1425.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html November 2010
1450
Italy
The Vatican Library was founded.
Beckett, Story, P. 188
1475
Italy
Platinia, the first librarian at the Vatican Library
made a catalogue that included 2,527 volumes.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
14 Jun 1475
Italy
Pope Sixtus IV issued the Bull "Ad decorem
militantis Ecclesiae," assigning a budget to the
Vatican Apostolic Library appointed as librarian
Bartolomeo Platina.
http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wiki/History_of_
Archives,_Recordkeeping,_and_Records
February 2011
06 Apr 1490
Hungary
Matthias Corvinus (b.1443), king of Hungary and
Croatia (1458-1590), died. He has assembled
one of Europe's finest libraries, second in size
only to that in the Vatican. When Hungary later fell
to the Turks the library was lost.
http://timelines.ws March 2007
1520
France
The Royal Library of France was founded by King
Francis at Fontainebleau.
Beckett, Story, P. 281
1525
Italy
Construction of the Laurentian Library in Florence,
designed by Michelangelo, was begun.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1531
Ethiopia
The Islamic jihads of 1531 through 1543 by the
neighboring state of Adal destroyed many royal
churches libraries, and monasteries, resulting in
the loss of all of their records.
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/acet/hd_
acet.htm May 2011
1555
Malta
The idea of a public Library in Malta originated in
1555 with the issue of a decree by Fra' Claude
de la Sengle, Grand Master of the Order of St.
John, whereby all books in the legacy of
deceased knights were to pass to the Common
Treasury of the Order.
http://www.libraries.gov.mt/nlm/history.htm
May 2012
1586
UK
The exception [to not having many books] was
Guildford School, almost embarrassingly well-
supplied with books thanks to a bequest of John
Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich. In 1586 a gallery
was converted to create a library to house them,
the earliest known example of a school library.
Pettegree, Book, P. 187
08 Nov 1602
UK
The Bodleian Library is established in Oxford.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk July 2007
28 Jan 1613
UK
Thomas Bodley (b.1545), English diplomatist
and scholar, died in London. He founded the
Bodleian Library at Oxford.
http://timelines.ws July 2006
1620
UK
By the time James published his second
catalogue of the library in 1620, the Bodlleian
contained around 16,000 volumes.
Pettegree, Book, P. 320
1622
Germany
The most spectacular looting of the [thirty years]
war was the seizure of the library of Heidelburg
University, after the Catholic investiture of the
Palatinate in 1622. Thre thousand manuscripts
and 12,000 printed books were appropriated for
the Vatican Library in Rome.
Pettegree, Book, P. 330
1627
UK
In England one of the earliest collections of
secular music to have survived intact is that of
Music School of Oxford University, begun by the
presentation in 1627 of several madrigal and
motet partbooks by the first professor of music,
William Heather. [Note: collection now in
Bodleian Library].
Oxford Companion to Music
1643
France
Another significant library famous for its influence
on library management, is the Mazarine Library,
also in Paris. Cardinal Jules Mazarin, chief
minister of France during Louis XIV's minority,
founded it in 1643.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1650
UK
Scottish minister and writer, John Dury, Keeper
of the Royal Library from the death of Charles I
until the Restoration, publishes The Reformed
Librarie Keeper, the first English book on "library
economy."
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php?era=1650 January 2011
1653
UK
Chetham's Library in Manchester, England,
founded on this date, claims to be "the earliest
public library in the English speaking world."
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php?era=1650 January 2011
1658
Sweden
The Swedish Royal Library lost three-quarters of
its stock (18,000 books and 1,000 manuscripts)
in a disastrous fire.
Pettegree, Book, P. 330
1661
Germany
The German State Library in Berlin, was founded
in 1661 by Friedrich Wilhelm.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1666
Germany
Joachim Johann Mader publishes De
bibliothecis atque archivis virorum clarissimorum
libelli et commentationes. Cum praefatione de
scriptis et bibliothecis antediluvianis. This was
the first anthology of texts on libraries, archives
and "library science".
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php June 2007
1711
Spain
On the Iberian peninsula, King Philip V
established the National Library of Spain, Madrid
in 1711.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1722
Germany
Daniel Schurzfleisch brought his book collection
to the "Gruenes Schloss" (Green Castle) on 35
horse-drawn carts. Duchess Anna Amalia (1739-
1807) converted the palace into a library.
http://timelines.ws January 2007
1726
UK
First lending library opens in Edinburgh,
Scotland.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk July 2007
1728
Denmark
The National Library of Copenhagen burned
down.
Pettegree, Book, 330
08 Nov 1731
US
Benjamin Franklin opened the first US library.
Benjamin Franklin founded the first circulating
library in America, the Library Company of
Philadelphia.
http://timelines.ws July 2006
1755
Portugal
The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 destroyed the
Royal Library of Portugal.
Pettegree, Book, 330
1757
UK
The Royal Library in London was transferred to
the British Museum.
Grun, Timetables, P. 349
1758
Canada
The other major type of library to be established
in the late 18th century was the legislative library
in Nova Scotia (1758), Prince Edward Island
(1773), New Brunswick (1784), and Upper and
Lower Canada (1791).
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 657
1759
Canada
In Acadia and New France before 1759, there
was a handful of private and institutional libraries.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 906
13 May 1777
Austria
University library at Vienna opened.
http://timelines.ws July 2007
1779
Canada
The country's first accessible libraries - the
Quebec Library (1779) and the Montreal Library
(1796 - were subscription libraries (owned by
members), with bilingual collections.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 656
1781
Philippines
In the Philippines, the Sociedad Económica was
established in 1781 by Governor José de Basco
y Vargas, and it engaged mostly in the free
distribution of books. Although the libraries of the
Sociedad did not yield any record of holdings
until 1877, its creation signaled the beginning of
a new era in Philippine library history: popular
and public reading.
http://archive.ifla.org/IV/ifla65/papers/039-
138e.htm May 2012
1800
Canada
The Seminary of Quebec City was founded in
1663. By 1800 it possessed the largest library in
British North America with a collection of 5,024
volumes.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 657
24 Apr 1800
US
On April 24 1800, Pres. John Adams approved
legislation that appropriated $5,000 to purchase
such books as may be necessary for the use of
Congress. The first books, ordered from London,
arrived in 1801 and were stored in the U.S.
Capitol, the Library's first home. The collection
consisted of 740 volumes and three maps.
http://www.loc.gov/loc/legacy/loc.html
December 2010
24 Apr 1800
US
US Congress voted to establish a Library of
Congress.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk January 2011
1802
US
Library of Congress established.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2011
1808
Japan
In Japan, commercial publication of books
started in the early half of 17th century. The
traditional readership, composed of aristocrats,
monks and upper-class townspeople, had to be
expanded in order for the market to grow, and
book-lending shops played a large role as a
catalyst in this. According to some records, there
were 650 lending shops in Edo (or Tokyo) in
1808, which grew to 800 in 1832.
http://www.kc.tsukuba.ac.jp/div-
comm/pdf/Library_in_Japan.pdf June 2012
1811
Brazil
Public libraries were established in the
nineteenth century the first one being built in
Salvador in Bahia in 1811 as the result of a
wealthy benefactor.
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/librarians/ma
nagement/viewpoints/brazil.htm June 2011
1812
US
The initial collection of the Library of Congress
was in ashes after the British burned it during the
War of 1812. The library bought Thomas
Jefferson's vast collection in 1815 and used that
as a foundation to rebuild.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1825
US
Between 1835 and 1850, the number of
subscription libraries trebled.
Postman, Amusing ourselves to death, P. 38
1827
Canada
The Mechanics' Institute movement began in
England in 1823 as a voluntary association of
skilled and eventually all working men for
instruction and leisure, which spread quickly to
Canada: St. John's (1827), Montreal (1828),
Toronto, (1830), Halifax (1831), and Kingston
(1834). Individual institutes would usually have a
library, many of which would eventually be
transformed into the public libraries of
anglophone communities, large and small,
across the country.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 657
1829
US
The New York Apprentices' LIbrary housed ten
thousand volumes, of which 1600 apprentices
drew books.
Postman, Amusing ourselves to death, P. 38
1833
US
The first public library in the country opened in
Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 1833.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1842
UK
C E Mudie founded Mudie's Circulating Library in
Britain.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk July 2010
1844
Canada
Two Francophone institutions established in
Montreal in 1844 offered a wide range of cultural
activities, including libraries: the Institut Canadien
de Montréal and the Oeuvre de bons livres de
Montréal. The first was secular, liberal, and
controlled by laymen; the second was Roman
Catholic, conservative, and controlled by the
Sulpician Fathers, the parish priests of Montreal.
Between the two competing institutions, there
developed a prolonged duel that attracted
worldwide attention and the intervention of both
the Vatican and the Privy Council of the House of
Lords.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 658
1848
Germany
Already in 1848, there had been plans for a
German national library. After the restauration,
they were not pursued any longer, the stock of
books already in existence was stored at the
Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Library
September 2009
1849
France
Joseph Naudet, director France's L'Enfer library,
which started in the 1830s, described the library
as a hiding place to lock up books that were very
bad. The collection hid books and other
documents from the public that were deemed
dangerous for public morality.
http://timelines.ws September 2009
1850
UK
Once Parliament passed the Public Library Act in
1850 libraries began to spread throughout the
nation.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1850
US
Number of U.S. public libraries triples in 25
years.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu September
2006
1852
Chile
The National Library of Chile gained autonomy
from the University of Chile in 1852.
http://www.mapsofworld.com/chile/education/
libraries.html June 2011
1857
US
The New York Apprentices Library served three
quarters of a million people.
Postman, Amusing ourselves to death, P. 38
1862
Russia
Russia's largest library, the Russian State Library
in Moscow (formerly the Lenin State Library), was
founded in 1862.
http://www.history-
magazine.com/libraries.html May 2012
1864
UK
The Keywords in Context (KWIC) system was
based on a concept called keyword in titles which
was first proposed for Manchester libraries in
1864 by Andrea Crestadoro.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Word_in_C
ontext June 2012
1870
France
The Public and University Library in Strasbourg
was destroyed by German bombardment in 1870,
despite promises that it would be spared. It was
subsequently restocked through the donation of
duplicates from German libraries, which accounts
for the largely Germanic character of its early
printed collections today.
Pettegree, Book, 330-331
1875
US
257 public libraries in the US.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2011
1876
US
Melville Dewy originated Dewey Decimal
Classification in 1873 and had it published and
patented in 1876.
http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/libr517/02-
03-wt2/projects/dewey/P1Section1.htm Jun
2012
1876
US
The American Library Association was formed.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1880
Canada
By 1880, the Institut had lost out to the Sulpicians'
library which, after several transformations,
became in 1907 the Bibliothèque nationale du
Québec.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 658
1887
US
The first school for training librarians was
established by Melvil Dewey in 1887.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1888
Costa Rica
Founded in 1888, the Costa Rica National
Library is in a huge, multistoried building that was
inaugurated in 1971.
http://jshaffner.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/co
sta-rica-national-library-system-and-its-
national-library/ June 2011
1895
Europe
The International Federation for Information and
Documentation (FID) was an international
organization that was created to promote
universal access to all recorded knowledge. FID
was established on 12 September, 1895, in
Brussels, as the International Institute of
Bibliography (originally Institut International de
Bibliographie, IIB) by two Belgian lawyers, Paul
Otlet (1868-1944) and Henri La Fontaine (1854-
1943). It was popularly known as the Brussels
Institute. Its headquarters was changed to The
Hague after 1934. It has gone through a number
of changes in name that reflect changes of
conceptualisation of the field in which it operates.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Fed
eration_for_Information_and_Documentation
Jun 2012
Jul 1898
US
Actual work on the new subject catalog [at the
Library of Congress] began simultaneously with
the printing of the first author cards in July 1898,
as well as the compilation of an authority list of
subject headings.
http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9808/lcsh-100.html
June 2012
1901
Canada
The Andrew Carnegie grants for public library
buildings led to the construction of 125 Canadian
libraries between 1901 and 1923.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1901
Canada
The library profession was itself also growing and
in 1901, the Ontario Library Association was
founded as Canada's first professional
organization in the field.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 659
1903
US
A phonorecord collection was established at the
Library of Congress.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1904
Canada
McGill University inaugurated library education in
Canada with a summer program.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1907
Brazil
Presidential Decree no. 182 established the duty
of all publishers to send one copy of each
publication to then-called Bibliotheca Nacional.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_
of_Brazil June 2011
24 Apr 1909
China
The forerunner of the National Library of China,
the Capital Library, was founded on 24 April
1909 by the Qing government
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_
of_China May 2012
1910
US
The Bell & Howell Film Company had a film
library of over a thousand silent and two hundred
sound 16mm motion pictures.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1912
Germany
In 1912, the town of Leipzig, seat of the annual
Leipzig Book Fair, the kingdom of Saxony and
the Börsenverein der Deutschen Buchhändler
(Association of German booksellers) agreed to
found a German National Library located in
Leipzig.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Library
May 2011
1912
Germany
With the assistance of German publishers, in
Leipzig the "German Library" is established as a
collecting center for German literature. By 1939
the number of books has increased to 1,600,000.
http://www.missouriwestern. edu/orgs/
germanclub/timeline.htm January 2011
1915
US
The St. Paul (Minnesota) Public Library record
collection had ninety-three recordings for limited
use only.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1915
US
With the formation of the American Association
of Library Schools in 1915 standards of
accreditation were established and maintained.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1919
UK
Britain gave power over libraries to its counties.
http://timelines.ws July 2010
1920
Morocco
The Moroccan National Library was established
in 1920. It was constructed in Rabat.
http://www.morocco.com/culture/literature/
March 2011
1920
US
More than twenty-four state universities had film
[lending] services.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1923
US
The Sears List of Subject Headings was created
in 1923 by Minnie Earl Sears as an alternative to
Library of Congress Subject Headings for small
public libraries.
http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/libr517/04-
05-wt2/projects/csh/sears.htm June 2012
1925
Chile
The National Library of Chile is also known as the
Biblioteca Nacional de Chile. The construction of
the building was completed in 1925.
http://www.mapsofworld.com/chile/education/
libraries.html June 2011
1927
International
IFLA (International Federation of Library
Associations) was founded in Edinburgh,
Scotland, in 1927 when library associations from
14 European countries and the United States
signed a resolution at the celebration of the 50th
anniversary of the Library Association of the
United Kingdom. Isak Collijn, head of the
National Library of Sweden, was elected the first
president. The first constitution was approved in
Rome in 1929 during the World Congress of
Librarianship and Bibliography.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Fed
eration_of_Library_Associations_and_Institu
tions May 2011
1928
US
Fifty-three academic institutions [in US] had
libraries with music collections, but only twelve of
the collections held sound recordings.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1928
US
The Harvard-Yenching Library is the largest
university library for East Asian research in the
Western world. Although as an organized library
it dates only from 1928, the collection can trace
its beginnings back to 1879, when Chinese was
first offered as part of Harvard University's
regular curriculum.
http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/harvard-
yenching/history.cfm May 2012
1930
Canada
In the 1930s, the Carnegie Corporation funded
two regional library projects in the Fraser Valley
of British Columbia and in Prince Edward Island,
which became models for Canada and the world.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 658-
59.
1931
Canada
Between 1931 and 1941 the total acquisition
budgets of academic libraries declined from
$246,617 to $164,132 so that in the end it was
just $20,000 higher than one US university
(Columbia U in New York City)
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada P. 659
1931
US
Harriet Monroe decided to present her poetry
library, her personal papers, and the editorial
files of Poetry magazine as a gift to the University
of Chicago. Following her death in 1936, the
Monroe library and Poetry archives were
received as a bequest and installed in a specially
designated room in Wieboldt Hall, the modern
languages building on the campus of the
University of Chicago. The Modern Poetry Library
room provided book shelves for the poetry
collection, display cases for the letters and
manuscripts of notable poets in the Poetry
archives, and equipment for listening to
recordings of poets reading their works.
http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/mopo.html
November 2010
1933
International
Between 1933 and 1945 it is estimated that the
Nazi regime and its occupying troops destroyed
as many as one hundred million books in
Germany and occupied Europe.
Pettegree, Books, 331
1936
Canada
By 1936 every province had its own library
association.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1936
Lithuania
The Central Library became a legal depository.
http://timelines.ws June 2007
1937
Canada
A Francophone library school associated with the
U Montréal opened.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 659
1940
Canada
By 1940, the Library of Parliament contained 500,
000 volumes.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 659
06 Jun 1940
US
FDR signs bill providing fund for the Library of
Congress to purchase sound recording for the
blind.
Leonard, The Forties
1942
Canada
The London Public Library was the first library in
Canada to circulate sound recordings.
http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/node/229
May 2012
1944
Canada
The Libraries of Alberta Association was
founded.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1946
Canada
Librarians founded the Bibliographical Society of
Canada.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1946
Canada
The Canadian Library Association was founded
and continues to provide a national forum for
librarians and library-related issues. [Note: it was
founded as a bilingual association but became
unilingual in 1973 - SM]
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 659
1947
US
The Worcester Free Public Library had one
thousand circulating phonorecords.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1948
Japan
The National Diet Library is the only national
library in Japan. It was established in 1948 for the
purpose of assisting members of the Diet of
Japan/National Diet of Japan in researching
matters of public policy. The library is similar in
purpose and scope to the U.S. Library of
Congress.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Diet_Li
brary May 2012
17 Jul 1950
US
A University of Michigan library survey shows that
nearly half of the US population does not read
books.
Merritt, The Fifties
1952
France
The Répertoire International des Sources
Musicales (RISM) was established in 1952 under
the auspices of the International Musicological
Society and the International Association of
Music Libraries. RISM provides information on
manuscript and printed sources of music and
writings about music from the earliest times to
circa 1850.
Oxford Companion to Music
1952
International
Possible influence of rental libraries on
production of long books - this involves keeping
book for greater length of time and paying rental -
query as to importance of rental library sales to
publishers?
Innis, Idea File, 15-49 (1952)
1953
Canada
National Library Act is passed.
http://www.culturescope.ca/policy-
timeline/timeline-1950_en.htm August 2006
1953
Canada
The National Library of Canada was established
by the National Library Act (1953) as a federal
government department to collect, preserve and
promote the printed heritage of Canada and to
assist in developing and making accessible
library services and resources in Canada.
Canadian Encyclopedia
05 Jan 1954
US
Illinois announces that about 500 book titles
recently barred from state libraries as indecent
have been returned to the shelves.
Merritt, The Fifties
1955
US
The American Library Association Special
Committee on the Bibliographic Control of
Audiovisual Materials surveyed libraries in an
attempt to assess their non-book holdings and
found the following holdings of non-book media.
115 libraries had motion picture collections (31
academic, 46 public, and 50 schools) and 176
libraries had phonorecord collections (56
academic, 72 public, and 48 schools). [1955-57]
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
1957
Canada
The National Research Council Library
unofficially takes on the role of national science
library as the Collection reaches 350,000
volumes
http://cisti-icist.nrc-
cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/cisti/about/overview-
history.html June 2012
1959
US
After protests by the White Citizens' Council, The
Rabbits' Wedding, a picture book for children,
was put on the reserved shelf in Alabama public
libraries because it was thought to promote racial
integration.
http://www.freedomtoread.ca/links_ and
resources/bannings_and_burnings.asp
October 2007
1960
Canada
Following the 1960s' emphasis on education,
more than 125 new or remodelled public library
buildings were constructed in Canada.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1960
US
The US National Library of Medicine first
published the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
as a separate catalogue.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/mesh_at_50/me
sh_at_50.html June 2012
1962
Canada
As early as 1962, the National Science Library
was using IBM punch cards to produce a list and
index of NRC publications. The first automated
edition of the Union List of Scientific Serials in
Canadian Libraries (ULSS CL) appeared in
1965. ULSS CL was a vital tool for Canadian
research libraries that facilitated interlibrary
lending.
http://cisti-icist.nrc-
cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/cisti/about/history/service
s-part-1.html June 2012
1962
Canada
Canada has 23 library technician programs in
2012, the first of which was founded in 1962.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1966
US
The Library of Congress is estimated to have 55
million items stored on 270 miles of shelves.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
Jan 1966
International
The Jewish Librarians Association and the
Jewish Library Association decided to combine.
These groups each had chapters in New York
City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and
other cities in the United States and Canada.
http://www.jewishlibraries.org/ajlweb/resourc
es/ajl_history.pdf May 2012
07 Dec 1966
Italy
Vatican opens its 1846-1878 archives to
scholars.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
1967
US
In 1967, the presidents of the colleges and
universities in the state of Ohio founded the Ohio
College Library Center (OCLC) to develop a
computerized system in which the libraries of
Ohio academic institutions could share
resources and reduce costs.
http://www.ibiblio.org/msmckoy/oclc.html May
2012
13 Feb 1967
Spain
Two American university professors announce
that 700 pages of manuscripts and drawings by
Leonardo da Vinci have been found in the
Spanish Library in Madrid.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
1968
Canada
CAN/SDI (Canadian Selective Dissemination of
Information) was initially a punch-card service,
launched in 1968. It was based on the automated
matching of carefully constructed client profiles
against tapes of newly published materials from
commercial databases. It was an enormously
successful and influential service that was used
as a model by other national information services
and commercial information suppliers worldwide.
http://cisti-icist.nrc-
cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/cisti/about/history/service
s-part-1.html June 2012
1970
Germany
The Deutsche Musikarchiv Berlin (DMA, German
Music Archive) is the central collection of printed
and recorded music and the music-bibliographic
information centre for Germany. It is a federal
agency founded in 1970 with the task to collect all
music published in the country. Its precursor was
the Deutsche Musik-Phonothek (1961–1969).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Library#
Deutsches_Musikarchiv_Berlin august 2010
1970
US
According to the 1970 US Census figures, there
are some 114,500 full-time professional
librarians; nearly 6,800 received degrees from
the 60 accredited schools in 1973.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1970
US
The number of libraries in the United States was
broken down as follows (statistics from the U.S.
Office of Education): 7,000 public libraries, 1,500
academic libraries, 1,200 two-year college
libraries, 3,500 special libraries, 450 law
libraries, 800 medical libraries, 475 military
libraries, 125 institutional libraries, and 50,000
elementary and secondary school libraries.
Loucks-DiMatteo, History
04 Jul 1971
US
Michael Hart sends the digitized text of the
American Declaration of Independence to
everyone on a computer network. This marks the
beginning of Project Gutenberg -the first digital
library.
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php?era=1970 September 2007
1973
International
Of 348 institutions offering training in
librarianship, 60 were accredited by the
American Library Association.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1974
US
In 1974, the American Library Association (ALA)
awarded OCLC Founder Frederick G. Kilgour
the prestigious Margaret Mann Citation in
Cataloging and Classification for "making the
Library of Congress MARC database a practical
and useful product."
http://www.ibiblio.org/msmckoy/oclc.html May
2012
1974
US
The New York Public Library and Columbia,
Harvard, and Yale University Libraries founded
RLG (Research Libraries Group). The New York
Times calls this "a sweeping and controversial
program of combined operations."
http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/
index.php?era=1970 October 2007
1986
Canada
Public Lending RIght (PLR) is a federal program
which pays Canadian authors for the availability
of their books in Canadian libraries which began
in 1986 after nearly 40 years of lobbying by a
succession of Canadian writers' organizations.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P. 905
1986
Canada
Statistics Canada reported that 1014 public
libraries held 51.8 million books, circulated 154.8
million items, spent $57.7 on materials, and
employed over 11,457 people at 3136 service
points across Canada.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1988
US
Since 1988 the DDC is owned by OCLC (Online
Computer Library Center Inc.). Support in
developing and maintaining the DDC is given by
the Library of Congress (LoC) in Washington, D.
C.
http://linux2.fbi.fh-
koeln.de/crisscross/ddc_en.html June 2012
1988
US
The National Center for Biotechnology
Information (NCBI) is part of the United States
National Library of Medicine (NLM), a branch of
the National Institutes of Health. The NCBI is
located in Bethesda, Maryland and was founded
in 1988 through legislation sponsored by Senator
Claude Pepper.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Center_
for_Biotechnology_Information June 2012
1989
Romania
The National Library of Bucharest was purposely
destroyed during the Romanian Revolution.
Pettegree, Book P. 331
1992
Bosnia
The National and University Library of Bosnia
was purposely destroyed.
Pettegree, Book P. 331
06 Jun 1995
Lithuania
The law on libraries went into effect and the LNB
(Central Library of Lithuania) became a
legitimate coordination center for library
activities.
http://timelines.ws July 2007
26 Oct 1995
Vatican City
Reports state that the Vatican Library has
approved commercial licensing projects.
Avasthi, Nineties, P. 793
1996
US
28 percent of U.S. public libraries offer Internet
access.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu June 2007
1998
US
U.S. public library attendance up 17 percent in
six years. [1998-2004]
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu October
2006
08 May 1998
US
Reports state that the US Library of Congress
plans to purchase the archives of the late dancer
and choreographer Martha Graham for $500,
000.
Avasthi, Nineties, P. 1131
1999
US
The American Library Association accredited 56
U.S. and Canadian institutions offering training in
librarianship.
http://www.infoplease.com June 2008
29 Oct 1999
US
The Senate approves, by voice vote, the
authorization of funds for the Library of
Congress's planned $20 million purchase of the
private papers of the late civil-rights leader
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. If the House
concurs, the purchase price will be the highest
ever paid by the Library of Congress for a single
collection.
Avasthi, Nineties, P. 1327
2000
US
School libraries in several states challenged over
Harry Potter books.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu September
2006
2003
Iraq
The occupation of Baghdad in 2003 was
followed by the wholesale looting of both the
National Library and the National Museum of Iraq.
Pettegree, Book, P. 331
2003
US
Supreme Court mandates porn filters in federally
funded public libraries.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
2004
US
95 percent of U.S. public libraries offer Internet
access.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu October
2006
22 Apr 2004
Canada
The Library and Archives of Canada Act, when
describing the appointment of the Chief Librarian
and Archivist, did not specify what qualifications
that individual should hold. This led to the later
hiring of a non-librarian and non-archivist.
http://utlibrarians.wordpress.com/timeline/
May 2012
21 May 2004
Canada
The amalgamation of the National Archives of
Canada and the National Library occurred, and
the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was
created.
http://utlibrarians.wordpress.com/timeline/
May 2012
30 Jun 2004
Kenya
The Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations
Library at Nairobi was officially opened on 30
June 2004 by Mr Klaus Toepfer, United Nations
Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of
UNEP and Director General of the United
Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).
http://www.unlibrary-nairobi.org/aboutus.asp
June 2012
02 Sep 2004
Germany
In Germany a fire in Weimar's Duchess Anna
Amalia Library caused the loss or damage of
thousands of irreplaceable books. Some 6,000
historical works were saved.
http://timelines.ws September 2008
2006
International
Surprisingly, in liberal minded countries such as
Sweden and Norway, boasting the earliest laws
on press freedom, surveillance of public and
school libraries remained a concern to authors
and publishers even through the latter part of the
century. No less surprising is the die-hard
tradition of surveillance of books in schools and
libraries in the United States. One of the most
stunning examples being Mark Twain's "The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", first banned in
1885 in the Concord Public Library, but still in
1984 in jeopardy, according to the author Arthur
Schlesinger in the "Censorship - 500 years of
conflict". In spite of the Library Bill of Rights, the
library profession's interpretation of the First
Amendment of the US Constitution, public and
school libraries in the US are still subject to
pressure from groups claiming to represent the
interest of parents or religious moral codes,
having to face demands to remove books of
"questionable content". However, this practice
has not remained unchallenged by the libraries
themselves. The American Library Association -
ALA - through its Office of Intellectual Freedom
maintains statistics on attempts to censor
libraries in various states, and regularly publishes
lists of challenged books.
http://www.beaconforfreedom.org July 2007
2006
UK
In 2006/07 46 percent of all adults in England
visited a library, with a third of these doing so at
least once a month.
http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/About/Policy/Document
s/leadingtheworld.pdf November 2010
Jun 2006
Belarus
Opened in June 2006 in a new hi-tech building
the National Library in Minsk is the copyright
library for the Republic of Belarus. A real source
of national pride it boasts the largest collection of
Russian-language books outside of Russia.
http://www.belarus.by/en/about-
belarus/culture May 2011
08 May 2007
Austria
In Austria officials said Vienna's City Hall has
launched a "sex hotline" to raise money for the
capital's main public library. Callers paid 53
cents a minute to listen to an actress read
breathless passages from erotica dating to the
Victorian era.
http://wimelines.ws September 2008
2008
Austria
Public libraries reported 1.10 million active
readers and 20.3 million loans in 2008; this
equates to a 2.9 percent decrease in the number
of readers and a 1.9 percent increase in the
number of loans.
http://www.statistik.at/web_en/statistics/educ
ation_culture/culture/index.html December
2010
Aug 2009
International
Sony links with libraries via the Overdrive digital
network to enable people to borrow eBooks from
libraries. Among the countries that have eBook
borrowing are the United States and Singapore
(no, Malaysia doesn't have it).
http://woodereader.com/blog/electronic-
readers/a-brief-history-of-ebooks/ December
2010
02 May 2012
Canada
The following government libraries are reported
to be closing: Citizenship and Immigration,
Agriculture, Environment, Industry, Transport
Canada, National Defence, Public Works and
Government Services, the National Capital
Commission and the Public Service
Commission.
http://utlibrarians.wordpress.com/timeline/
May 2012
Libraries Timeline
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