Did librarians in Ancient Rome know about the importance of continuing professional development? Maybe yes, maybe no – but the IFLA Guidelines for CPD poster is now available in Latin!

History tells us that one of the first libraries in Rome resulted from the looting of collections of classical Greek literature. After the conquest of Macedonia in 168 BC, the Roman general Aemilius Paullus removed volumes of text from the royal palace to establish a library for his sons in Rome (Affleck, 2012). This led to a growing interest amongst Roman nobles in the study of Greek philosophy and literature; some years later Lucius Cornelius Sulla seized the library of Apellicon of Teos in Athens and transported the collection back to Rome.

Around 44 BC Julius Caesar chose Marcus Terentius Varro to develop his vision for a ‘public library’. Varro’s qualifications included being the only known person in the Roman era to write a ‘library manual’, De Bibliothecis. This text has sadly not survived and poor Caesar died before the construction of his library began.

One of the more important owners of a private library was Cicero: it is recorded that he had libraries in his city residence, as well as in many of his country villas. While Cicero apparently employed trained ‘library-slaves’ (librarioli) to manage and maintain his libraries, there is documentary evidence to show that by the end of Roman Republic in 27 BC, the sophistication of Roman libraries had led to need for a diversified staff of library professionals.


Image: History Collection

Of course, we actually know very little about the education and training of these library professionals in Ancient Rome. Did they know about the importance of continuing professional development and workplace learning? Maybe yes, maybe no – but had IFLA been around in those days, the librarians would undoubtedly have benefitted from the poster on the IFLA Guidelines for CPD: Principles and Best Practices, now available in LATIN!










Our warmest thanks go to Brittany Garcia for her work on the translation of the poster!

If you visit the CPDWL website, you will see that the IFLA Guidelines for CPD poster is already available in 36 languages, but there is room for more! If you would like to translate the poster into your own language, please contact Gill Hallam for a copy of the template (email: gillian.hallam1(at)bigpond.com).



Affleck, M. (2012). Roman libraries during the Late Republic and Early Empire: with special reference to the library of Pliny the Elder. PhD thesis. University of Queensland. https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:292896