HISTORY FOR 50
The art of writing was developed around 5,000 years ago by the Sumerians. This civilization, living in between the Tigres and Euphrates rivers, stored the earliest accumulations of written records in their temples.
The Sumerian priesthood was supported by land which was worked by tenants. These tenants were hired under long term contracts. It was these contracts that necessitated the development of symbols, cuneiform, for use in recording business affairs. Schools were established for scribes who learned to draft commercial documents. As knowledge increased in this area, other information was recorded in the complicated Sumerian script.
Besides the commercial accounts, the Sumerian temple repositories contained grammatical exercises for novice scribes; texts on mathematics, medicine and astrology; collections of hymns, prayers and incantations; and the beginnings of literature.
By the end of the last Sumerian dynasty (c. 1931 B.C.), a comprehensive collection of the records of this civilation was made. These first 'libraries' were stored with the archives of the priesthood, and were unearthed among the ruins of the Sumerian temples.