History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time;
it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and
brings us tidings of antiquity.
~ Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), Pro Publio Sestio
As long as there have been books, there have been bibliomaniacs. In truth,
as long as words have been written down, there have been people who have wanted
to collect those words. Bibliomania is more than just a desire to collect the
written word, however, it is a consuming and obsessive passion to acquire texts.
Bibliomaniacs have been both a bane and a blessing to libraries as they have
both destroyed and created spectacular collections of books. Many methods have been
employed throughout history to protect texts from these voracious collectors:
from locking books
away to chaining books down. In this web site, I will examine the cases of three
bibliomaniacs spread across three millennia of history and discuss bibliomania as
an ongoing concern for literate societies. I will also examine book curses as a
library security measure that was
used as a deterrent against bibliomaniacs for thousands of years but that is
almost completely unknown today.