Bookmark and Share
Systems Librarian

The First Librarian

The First Librarian

The first recorded Librarian was Zenodotus (Ζηνόδοτος) of Ephesus, holding that post from the end of Ptolemy I's reign. He was a Greek grammarian, literary critic, and Homeric scholar. A native of Ephesus and a pupil of Philitas of Cos, he was the first librarian of the Library of Alexandria. He lived during the reigns of the first two Ptolemies.  

Demetrius of Phalerum put together the central collection for the Library of Alexandria while he was in Greece. He might be considered the originator of the library idea, although this honour should also belong to the first and second kings of the Ptolemaic period. 


The Library of Alexandria was founded at a unique place and time which allowed its scholars to draw on the deductive techniques of Aristotle and Greek thought, in order to apply these methods to the knowledge of Greece, Egypt, Macedonia, Babylonia, and beyond. The location of Alexandria as a centre of trade, and in particular as the major exporter of writing material, offered vast opportunities for the amassing of information from different cultures and schools of thought.

Ptolemy the first, Soter, ordered the establishment and organization of the library at his expense, while Ptolemy the Second, Philadelphus, completed his work. The foundation of the library was the joint achievement of all three; Soter, Philadelphus, and Demetrius. The first librarian was probably Zenodotus of Ephesus. The first people who served at the Library of Alexandria were Demetrius of Phalerum (c. 284 BC) and Zenodotus of Ephesus (284-260 BC). 


The Origins of Bibliography 

Zenodotus successor, Callimachus of Cyrene, was perhaps Alexandria's most famous librarian, creating for the first time a subject catalogue in 120,000 scrolls of the library's holdings, called the Pinakes or Tables. All knowledge was divided into eight major subject categories: Oratory, History, Laws, Philosophy, Medicine, Lyric Poetry, Tragedy, and Miscellany. The Pinakes was a massive undertaking, described as having been made up of one hundred and twenty scrolls and the extant fragments show that citations give something of each author's life, his works, and the number of lines in each work. Even at that, it was by no means comprehensive, but it was the first sort of grand index to knowledge ever and a precursor to all subsequent catalogues of books.

What Is In A Name?
In the past, the profession librarian (a title in its Latin root, librarius – related to books) was identified with the learned keeper of a collection of books. The profession itself is changing in this era of technology. The changing nature of the librarians’ duties and tools is causing it to be an issue in our profession as libraries and their users have entered the electronic age and information transfer is a prerequisite to knowledge transfer, providing direct access to a variety of services, therefore new skills are required for the library staff.

The expression "information society" implies that every sector of society depends on information. Particularly, the development of the information industry, which has come about thanks to the economic, political and social requirements of users, has revolutionized information following the establishment of the internet.  

Situated in the centre of the information flow, modern librarians must develop a wide range of activities to keep the users informed. In fact, if the library represents the place in which the "media" are collected and sorted, the librarian represents the "information broker" and thus the "intelligent communication switch" between users and providers of information.

As mentioned, the librarian profession is changing under the impact of technological progress and librarians are handling electronic documents, i.e. documents used through the mediation of technology and existing as electronic data only, thus responding promptly to user requests. It should be noted that i
t’s a myth that one can get everything on the Internet. This expression ‘Google it’ is not valid. Librarians are a valuable source in verifying that the information is accurate, reliable, valid, and has proper authority. Now with our tasks often involving technology, we are again casting around for a new name, reflecting this change. The nature of his profession continues to be "in the making".

Today we have many different titles/job titles for the librarian profession: 


Acquisitions Assistant 

Manager, Corporate Information Center 

Acquisitions Librarian 

Manager, Knowledge Center 

Associate Dean 

Manager, Library & Intranet Development 

Collections Manager 

Manager, Library Services 

Corporate Librarian 

Manager, Research 

Corporate Researcher 

Manager, Technical Information 

Data Bank Coordinator 

News Researcher        

Director of Information Resources 

Media Specialist 


Principal Researcher 

Head of Reference      


Information Brokers

Public Services Coordinator 

Information Center Specialist 

Public Services Librarian 

Information Resource Manager 

Reference Assistant 

Information Services Manager 

Research Specialist 

Information Specialist 

Resource Center Manager

Knowledge Management Administrator 

Science Reference Coordinator 

Legal Information Specialist 

Senior Library Assistant 

Legal Researcher 

Senior Library Specialist 

Library Administrator 

Serials Specialist 

Library Director or Manager 

Subject Librarian 

Library Media Teacher 

Systems Librarian             

Library Specialist 

Technical Librarian 

Library Technician 

Technical Resource Analyst 

Manager, Competitive Knowledge 

Web Librarian 


Royal Library of Alexandria is Founded Circa 300 BCE  

The library of Alexandria is a legend. Not a myth, but a legend.

Library of Alexandria, famous ancient library, considered to have the greatest collection of books in the ancient world. Founded by Ptolemy I Soter, king of Egypt, in the city of Alexandria, it was expanded by his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus early in the 3rd century BC. At its peak it may have preserved 400,000 to 700,000 papyrus scrolls—the largest collection of recorded information in the ancient world.

Library of Alexandria

According to legend, the library at Alexandria was burned at least three times. Though it is known that portions of the Alexandrian Library survived for several centuries, perhaps for as long as 500 or 600 years, or even longer, the various accounts of the library's eventual destruction are contradictory. The four possible scenarios for its destruction: 

1.     A fire in The Alexandrian War, in 48 BC. Civil war between Julius Caesar and the followers of Pompey the Great.

2.     The attack of Roman emperor Lucius Domitius Aurelian, in the Third century AD;  

3.     The Roman emperor Theodosius I in 391 AD;  

4.     The Muslims under the caliph Umar I in 642 AD or thereafter.  


The Bibliotheca Alexandrina today

The Ancient Library of Alexandria was born in the year 295 BC and in the fourth century AD the library undergoes destruction (fires) to disappear completely. In 1995, the Bibliotheca “reborn” in some way from its ashes. It is officially in 2002 that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated and opened to the public. 

Bibliotheca Alexandrina



The Biggest Library in the world 

The largest library in the world is the US Library of Congress in Washington DC. 


US Library of Congress

About the Library

The Library of Congress has the largest collection of knowledge the world has ever known. And the majority of the collections isn't even in the English language. Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest cultural institution in the United States.  


The Library's mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. 


Books and other materials cannot be taken from the Library of Congress and a short registration form is required to use the collections. The Library of Congress stacks are not open to the public, staff will retrieve material for researchers. 


Library of Congress



Size of collection 

Nearly 119 million separate items occupy 530 miles of shelving with millions and millions of books, maps, photographs, sound recordings, rare books, telephone books and much more. The Cartography Section holds 4.5 million items. More than one million doctoral dissertations are at the Library of Congress along with the world's largest collection of comic books.  

The newspaper collection is also the most extensive in the world with papers dating back to the late 1600s. The Library of Congress has been a forerunner in recording folklore of common citizens. 


The Library of Congress has more recordings of spoken American Indian languages and music than any other organization. The Print and Photography Division has nearly 14 million images of all types, ranging from the American Civil War to arts and entertainment and poster art. 

Date: 30 May 2009 



The Librarian's Cookbook

The Librarian's Cookbook

The Librarian's Cookbook


 The Librarian's Cookbook  

Site Search

 Downloads Page 

Password is: pass123 


External Links:

Library and Information Association of South Africa


 ABSA Bank
 FNB Bank
 Standard Bank