A bookcase, or bookshelf, is a piece of furniture, almost always with horizontal shelves, used to store books. It may be fitted with glass doors. A bookcase consists of a unit including two or more shelves which may not all be used to contain books or other printed materials. Shelves may be fixed or adjustable to different positions in the case. In rooms entirely devoted to the storage of books they may be permanently fixed to the walls and/or floor. Bookcases frequently have doors that should be closed to protect the books from air pollution, and bookshelves are open-fronted. These doors are almost always glazed, so as to allow the spines of the books to be read. Especially valuable books may be kept in locked cases with wooden or glazed doors. A bookshelf normally stands on some other piece of furniture such as a desk or chest. Larger books are more likely to be kept in horizontal piles and very large books flat on wide shelves. In Latin and Greek the idea of bookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē (Greek: βιβλιοθήκη), derivatives of which mean library in many modern languages. A bookcase is also known as a bookshelf, a bookstand, a cupboard and a bookrack.
History of the bookcase
Private libraries appeared during the late Roman republic: Seneca inveighed against libraries fitted out for show by illiterate owners who scarcely read their titles in the course of a lifetime, but displayed the scrolls in bookcases (armaria) of citrus wood inlaid with ivory that ran right to the ceiling: "by now, like bathrooms and hot water, a library is got up as standard equipment for a fine house (domus). When books were written by hand and were not produced in great quantities, they were kept in small boxes or chests which owners (usually the wealthy or clergy) carried with them. As manuscript volumes accumulated in religious houses or in homes of the wealthy, they were stored on shelves or in cupboards. These cupboards are the direct...
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