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Private or personal libraries made up of written books (as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives) appeared in classical Greece in the 5th century BC.The celebrated book collectors of Hellenistic Antiquity were listed in the late 2nd century in Deipnosophistae.The “libraries” were cataloged using colophons, which are a publisher’s imprint on the spine of a book, or in this case a tablet.The colophons stated the series name, the title of the tablet, and any extra information the scribe needed to indicate.
By the time of Augustus, there were public libraries near the forums of Rome: there were libraries in the Porticus Octaviae near the Theatre of Marcellus, in the temple of Apollo Palatinus, and in the Bibliotheca Ulpiana in the Forum of Trajan.
In the West, the first public libraries were established under the Roman Empire as each succeeding emperor strove to open one or many which outshone that of his predecessor.
Rome’s first public library was established by Asinius Pollio.
Pollio was a lieutenant of Julius Caesar and one of his most ardent supporters.
After his military victory in Illyria, Pollio felt he had enough fame and fortune to create what Julius Caesar had sought for a long time: a public library to increase the prestige of Rome and rival the one in Alexandria.