Learning English

Libraries

The word library comes from the Latin word liber, meaning "a book". This is a place where information in print (books, manuscripts, periodicals and musical scores) and in other forms is collected and arranged to serve people of all ages and interests.

Libraries appeared in ancient times in Egypt, Assyria, Greece and Rome.

Perhaps the most famous library of that early day was at Alexandria. It was founded by Ptolomy I. Ptolomy ordered the librarians to collect all Greek texts as well as manuscripts in other languages from every part of the known world. By the middle of the 1st century BC there were about 700,000 papyrus rolls in the library.

The first libraries in Russia were established in medieval monasteries. Public libraries were opened in the 19 century at the Academy of Sciences and Moscow University.

The library today is a centre for all kinds of communications: printed, pictured, recorded, and even electronically stored. People go to the library to read, look, listen, search, inquire, relax, discuss, learn, and think.

Libraries can be found in many places. There are libraries in small towns and large cities, and there are libraries in schools, universities, colleges. The largest and best known libraries in the world are: the British National Library in London, the Library of Congress in Washington and the Russian State Library.

The national libraries of different countries keep in touch and exchange books and information. Most libraries have a professionally educated staff whose first duty is to help you. Librarians also select and purchase books and other materials, organize materials so that you can easily use them, answer questions about facts, people, events, or advise you how to find the information you need.

Many people have books at home. These are the books of their favourite authors, dictionaries and reference books and the like. My family also has a home library. It was my grandfather who started to collect it at the beginning of the century. There are over two thousand books in it. The authors I like most of all are Chekhov, Bulgakov, Fitzgerald, Cortasar and others.

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