When I first began these dispatches, I hinted that perhaps there might be observations about other libraries. Thus far I have done a bad job of this. Until now. Not long ago I came across a copy of the rules for a Paris library circa 1300. If you have always been curious about what libraries were like in Paris circa 1300, time-travel with me and read these rules of library conduct, which, if nothing else, will make you appreciate modern libraries a little more:
1. Robes and caps required.
2. No children or illiterates admitted.
3. Respectable learned men may enter if introduced by a member; their “valets” must remain outside.
4. Each member keeps his own key and loans it to no one.
5. Neither fire nor light permitted at any time.
6. No books issued without the permission of the society.
7. A book should be laid upon a desk only after the dust has been removed.
8. No writing in or other abuse of a book.
9. Whether writing or reading, no bothering of others by talking or walking.
10. Maximum silence, as would be appropriate to premises “sacred and august.”
11. Condemned books are available to professors of theology only—for use in line of duty only.
12. The professor is not to read such works for curiosity, lest he be poisoned.
13. Violators of that restraint are to be reprimanded.