Monastic Libraries

Many scholars agree that the establishment of the library collection as we know it today can trace its origins to the abbeys of the Middle Ages, where monks lived a life of communal study, and worship. Monks believed that retaining literacy through their scribing and teaching was an essential part of worship. In these sun lit rooms monks would transcribe and translate volumes of work, most of which were of the Greek classics as well as everyday Christian service literature. These libraries then served as part of the education of the monks as they lead their pious spiritual lives on the abbey grounds. As a result, many abbeys began to accumulate a vast quantity of works, creating some of the first libraries. These volumes of text were typically chained to the shelves as the mode of production was very labor intensive with monks transcribing them by hand taking limited breaks to eat and rest. ---- Wiblingen Monastery Library The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library Admont Benedictine Monastery Library.




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