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Reading the World: Tablet to Tablet

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How books evolved

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How books have evolved from clay tablet to digital tablet is a fascinating story.

  • This exhibit takes you on that journey and shows how various cultures have contributed AND influenced the world around us through different forms of the written word.
  • We hope this exhibit sparks conversation about how books have impacted us on a personal level and how they continue to impact our understanding of other cultures.
  • Click/tap on the tabs below to begin the exploration.

Throughout the world, the written word has played an immensely important role in shaping the histories of people, countries, and civilizations.


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Stone Tablets

The advent of written communication changed the world forever and helped to create civilization as we know it. 


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Other Early Mediums

One of the oldest mediums of recorded thought, cave art predates the advent of writing but continued to flourish for some time after the written word was invented.


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Papyrus, the earliest form of paper, dates back to 400 B.C. when it was used in Ancient Egypt.


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Paper to Parchment

While Papyrus was king in the Middle East, another medium was being used in China: paper.


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The Codex

The codex considered the first modern book form, it first appears on the historical record around 1st century A.D.


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Printing refers to the process for reproducing text and images using a master template.


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Children's Books

Books designed solely for children's enjoyment began to appear in the late 1600s.


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Recorded Books

Audiobooks became mainstream with the introduction of cassette tapes, first invented in the Netherlands in 1963.


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eBooks and Conclusion

The first eBook was not a Kindle. It was the Xerox Sigma V.


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From Paper to Panel: Turning an Idea into a Traveling Exhibit (Spring 2018 issue Louisiana Libraries)