10 Interesting Facts about Libraries and Librarians

Great facts about famous libraries and librarians around the world

We thought it was about time we saluted that noble institution, the library, with some of our favourite interesting bits of trivia about libraries and librarians.

Jacob Grimm, Philip Larkin, Casanova, David Hume, Jorge Luis Borges, and Lewis Carroll all worked as librarians.

Another word for a librarian is ‘bibliothecar’.

The man who invented the comma, colon, and full stop punctuation marks was a librarian of Alexandria called Aristophanes.

I have always imagined Paradise as a kind of library. – Jorge Luis Borges

The least borrowed book in British libraries was once found to be the 1964 book Gay Bulgaria by Stowers Johnson.

The smallest book in the Welsh National Library is ‘Old King Cole’. It measures 1mm x 1mm and the pages can only be turned with a needle.

Medicine for the soul. – Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

Library 10The British Library’s copy of the 1918 book Hand Grenade Throwing as a College Sport was destroyed by bombing.

There is a rumour (sadly untrue) that the Harvard University library has four law books bound in human skin.

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries. – Anne Herbert

The word ‘bibliothetic’ means ‘relating to the placing and arrangement of books on the shelves of a library’.

Popular science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) is the only author to have published a book in nine out of the ten Dewey library categories.

Playwright Joe Orton went to prison in 1962 for defacing library books. One of the cartoons he drew shows an elderly tattooed man in trunks.

More library fun can be found with our pictures of stunning libraries from around the world and our amazing pictures of beautiful libraries.

Image: Biblioteca del monastero di Strahov, Prague. Picture credit: Peopanda, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Having a wife and several friends as librarians and ex-librarians I found your article very interesting. The smallest book in my library measures 2.5cmx2.0cm, and I thought THAT was tiny!

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Libraries equal equality – access to books for everyone regardless of background & opportunity. Use them or lose them folks!

  3. Reblogged this on Brainfluff and commented:
    Once more a gem of an article from About Interesting Literature – this time on libraries – yay! I’d love to hear about your favourite library, and why…

  4. “Sadly untrue” you say — are you sure about that?

  5. That is just fascinating! This makes us wonder more about the history of literature :3

  6. National Libraries Day in the UK tomorrow!

  7. Great post! Now, check out the Freedom To Read by The American Librarians Association 1953, I hope this link works.
    Then thank a librarian!

  8. Love that quote. Our library posted it before the levy to get funding for a new library. The levy passed.

  9. There are libraries that do hold books bound with human skin. The University of Edinburgh does, I think. Bound in the skin of the one out of Burke and Hare that was hanged.

  10. Pretty interesting! That’s what I do in a public high school. :)