Old libraries

General discussion about the world and lore of COGG.
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Old libraries

Post by nobody » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:18 am

Consider this something of a speculative lore post. I finally sat down to work out the timeline on the Library of Qamar and I'm really surprised it's only 170-190 years old. For reference, Oxford and Cambridge were that age in the late 1300's while the much more recent Harvard and Yale were that age in the early and late 1800's respectively. For reference for the US folks, the Library of Qamar is the age of like the University of Alabama or Pennsylvania State University. That's not really a fair comparison though because the Library of Qamar isn't a university, it's a library. I realized as I looked through wikipedia's list of notable libraries that I didn't really recognize many of the names. If I'd been asked to list all of the notable libraries I know of, it probably would have been the Library of Congress (national library of the US) and the Library of Alexandria, and that's like all of them. So, I decided to look at wikipedia's list of libraries and found:
- British Library, at the top of the list, founded 1973. While it's only about 50 years old, it was founded to gather existing resources and work being done elsewhere, particularly the National Central Library (founded 1916) and the British Museum (founded 1753). So, it's arguably between 47 years old, and 268 years old.
- Library of Congress, founded 1800, ~220 years old.
- Shanghai Library, founded 1847 at ~174 years old is on par with the Library of Qamar.
- New York Public Library, founded 1894, ~127 years old.
- Library and Archives of Canada, founded 2004, dates back to (and I love this name) the Dominion Archives founded in 1872 (~149 years old).

Probably all of the largest libraries have older origins like the British Library and Library and Archives of Canada, and it's also possible that with proper research rather than quick skimming, I'd find that even those go back further - a country makes a bigger library when their biggest library gets full. I find it fascinating that most of the notable libraries aren't nearly as common a reference as the universities I began my comparisons against. This is probably because libraries don't typically work very hard at being prestigious because what they want to attract is patrons and books (unlike universities that want to attract patrons and students). But I digress - the library is a pretty reasonable age comparing against modern standards and in fact given the technology level of the world it might should be younger... except that it's been out of commission for some of that time. I've wondered how long it was out of commission. The wiki says the plague wiped out most of Aetgard "over 100 years ago." It was definitely not up and running for a full hundred years before the plague, probably closer to fifty. If it was rediscovered in the last 20-ish years then it would have been out of commission for 80-120 years. If my speculative timelines are correct, the library has been out of commission more than it's been operational, and perhaps almost twice as long as it's been operational. It's a place for gathering materials for people to teach themselves rather than an institution dedicated to teaching and while it's not exactly ancient, perhaps like the real world libraries above it has roots in even older libraries too.

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Re: Old libraries

Post by Rias » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:04 pm

The Library of Qamar is not a particularly ancient structure, as you've noted. Why did Muhsin have it built? Why in Aetgard rather than his homeland? Why in such an out-of-the-way place up in the Balkr Highlands? Unfortunately the answers don't seem to be common knowledge, but they may one day come to light. While lacking that feeling of ancient awe and mystique that things from long-past eras have, both the Library and its founder still seem to have their fair share of related mysteries for people to speculate on.

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