Libraries are collections of books for reading, study and the preservation of knowledge. From the invention of writing in 2600 BCE, collecting and preserving information has become a function of civilization. The invention of paper, development of the Arabic language and the commercialization of bookmaking led to the earliest libraries for preserving ancient manuscripts. In the 17th and 18th centuries, libraries opened to the public for a fee or by subscription. Public education and libraries were limited until the 19th century, when philanthropists created free libraries open to the public.  Today, we have local public libraries, national libraries, university libraries and private libraries. The rich history of the library has evolved to match the needs of modern society.