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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Library of Congress Day is April 24th! Factoids about Libraries to Share with Kids

2/3 of all Americans have a library card. If you don't have a library card...this would be a great time of year to get one.  And, what's great about a library card... it's  FREE! 

Fun Facts to Share with Kids:

1. The word "library" comes from the word librarie, meaning "a collection of books". The Anglo-French word comes from an earlier Latin word, librariaum ,meaning "chest of books"

2.The first lending library was established by Ben Franklin, in 1731.

3. The first bookmobile was in operation, in 1857, England.

4. St. Catherine's Monastery's Library(in Sinai, Egypt) is said to be the oldest continually run library in the world. It was constructed in 6th century. Only monks and  scholars can use it.

5. The oldest continually run public library is The Library of Paris(Bibliotheque de Paris), in Paris, France. It dates back to 1368.

6. A Greek, Zenodotus, is considered the first known librarian in history.  He worked at the Library of Alexandria, Egypt.

7. The Library of Congress, in the USA,is the world's largest library.

8.The largest book find ever owed was  $345.14(two cents a day). A book of poetry was checked out in 1955 and found in a home 47 years later!

9. The most expensive book ever sold is the Codex Leicester, by Leonardo da Vinci. It was purchased by Bill Gates, in 1994, for $30.8 million!!!! dollars.

10. Each year, the main library ,at Indiana University, sinks about one inch from the weight of all the books! 

11. The world’s first library was built by Ashurbanipal(668-627BC) in Assyria.

12.The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered the oldest written story. It comes from the people of Mesopotamia ,telling the adventures of the King of Uruk( @2750-2500 BC). 

Interesting Story: Bats HELP TWO Libraries!

Two libraries in the country of Portugal have a most unusual security system for pest control. They have bats! Dating back more than 200 years, the bats and their descendants have been patrolling the halls of the libraries at night with a very important goal…munching on bugs.  Some of the books in these two libraries are very old, dating back to the 1500s. Bugs can be very harmful to such old books including the  silverfish, which like to chow down on old glue found in book bindings and munch on old paper. The bats also eat flies, gnats and a library beetle which likes to tunnel through old books made from parchment, causing much damage.  Visitors to the Bibiloteca Joanina and the Mafra Palace library, both built in the 18th centuries, don’t have to worry about the bats. The tiny bats, about one inch long, are nocturnal and sleep in the spaces of the book shelves and crevices in the high ceiling, during the day. The bats and their ancestors tend to keep the same living areas for years and years.  At night the bats swoop down from their sleep places and eat bugs. The bats have a BIG appetite, each eating about 500 bugs each night. After a hearty meal, the bats fly out of the library windows in search of water to quench their thirst before returning to their sleeping areas.  Because the bats droppings could be an issue, the tables are covered with animal skin fabric at night, a tradition that has continued by the librarians, of the two libraries, for hundreds of years. The guano, bat feces, that falls onto the library floor, is cleaned each morning.


1. Learn about Bats and Libraries:

2. More information on Bats and Libraries:

Extension Activities:

1. Write a paragraph explaining what you think of one of these quotes:

     " Reading makes all other learning possible. We have to get books into our children's hands early and often." President Barack Obama

     "Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation." American Broadcast journalist, Walter Cronkite.

     "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." Walt Disney

     " A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb

2. Write a persuasive paragraph explaining why someone should have a library card.

3. Write a poem about a library.

4. Check out some of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Pretend you are visiting one of the libraries. Find 3 facts and include the facts in your diary entry about the visit. What did you see? Here? Feel? Etc. Beautiful Libraries of the World

5. Check out my informative webquest on the Library of Congress, our nation’s library! Are you a bibliophile(someone that loves books)? The Library of Congress, called our Nation's Library has over 33 million books. There are also over 12.5 million photographs and 6 million pieces of sheet music! Learn more about the Nation's Library with this fun and informative webquest.


1. Library Factoids

2. More Library Fun Facts

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