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Evenings with History Lecture to Address Creation of Early Medieval Library Collection

Dr. Michael Heil
Dr. Michael Heil

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s next Evenings with History lecture will highlight the creation of the early medieval library at the Italian monastery of Bobbio, one of the largest libraries in Western Europe.

Dr. Michael Heil, associate professor of history at UA Little Rock, will deliver the talk, “The Birth, Life, and Death of an Early Medieval Library,” Dec. 5 at Historic Arkansas Museum. Refreshments will be served at 7 p.m., and the talk will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Founded by the Irish Abbot Columbanus around the year 613, the library’s massive holdings included not only the biblical and liturgical texts required for the monastery’s religious functions, but also works of Latin literature, grammar and rhetoric, history, law, and more.

Heil’s talk will explore how and why the monks of Bobbio assembled this diverse collection of books and what these books reveal about the monastery’s connections and influence in the wider world. The talk will also examine the dismemberment of Bobbio’s library in the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a story of institutional and intellectual change with implications for historians’ efforts to reconstruct the medieval past.

The Evenings with History series, sponsored by the University History Institute, features presentations by UA Little Rock faculty and guest speakers sharing their research and teaching interests. Admission to the series is by subscription, but visitors are welcome to attend individual talks for free. UA Little Rock students may attend free of charge.

For more information about the History institute and its Evenings with History lecture series, contact Heil at or visit institute/.