What We Get Wrong About Medieval Libraries

When we picture the libraries of the Middle Ages, we see heavy tomes chained to wooden benches, far away from an accessible open space. It is a place forbidden, guarded jealously by the hooded librarian of The Name of the Rose, Malachi of Hildesheim—a domain of men. No books can leave this prison. time.com

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St. Gregory offering his book to Bishop Leandro, miniature from Commentary on the Book of Job, from the Abbey of Citeaux. France, 12th century. De Agostini via Getty Images

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