e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “Library of Congress”

Some library snippets

manuscript from Wellcome collection

There is a world’s oldest library.

Now part of a university, it is the Al-Qarawiyyin library in Morocco.

Founded in 859CE by a lady called Fatima al-Fehri, it contains ancient and mediaeval manuscripts as well as books.

It has recently undergone a major restoration with special moisture management systems installed to protect the precious manuscripts.

Some libraries have birthdays.Birthday candles

Apparently the Library of Congress celebrated its birthday recently. On April 24th 1800 then president John Adams parented the library by approving the necessary expenditure. I doubt if it got a cake with 217 candles on it, but its anniversary was marked in several places, including a collection of trivia from Bookriot.

Some libraries use unique classification systems.

The Levinski Garden Library shelves its books according to the emotions they raise in their readers. Each reader is asked to describe the book’s effect: sad, happy, boring etc. The emotions are colour coded and the returned book gets a piece of coloured tape and is then shelved according to the most recent one.

Manuscript picture from Wellcome Library website
Candles photo credit: chrisotruro

Islamic Manuscripts

TIMAWhile browsing through Twitter I came across mention of The Islamic Manuscript Association. I’d not heard of it before so naturally I googled it.

Their website led me down several new-to-me and forgotten-by-me paths of knowledge. Among other things they have a list of links to relevant organisations, and what should I find there but a link to the Library of Congress Romanization Tables, which I used to consult when I was a student working part time filing Library of Congress cards. One for Memory Lane.

Another of their links led to an organisation called Thesaurus Islamicus which is concerned with preservation of the Islamic patrimony. I’m not sure why they include ‘Thesaurus’ in their name as they seem to do much more than assemble words.

And I found a lovely new-to-me word: codicology. It is the study of books as physical objects. It’s apparently a slightly vague term. It may include things like studying the handwriting, marginalia and illustrations as well as attributes like inks, paper, parchment, binding and so on. According to Wikipedia, codicologists may also study the history of libraries and other collections.

A special word for the study of books! I really like that. So now when I buy a new book because I admire its binding and illustrations I’m participating, in a tiny way, in codicology.

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