Traditionally, librarians preserved and protected written records for the politically elite and wealthy classes. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians built up great libraries many of which were destroyed throughout history. When Christianity became the political force in Europe, the clergy continued to collect and protect materials. The beginnings of public libraries in Europe during the 1600s and in America during the middle of the nineteenth century, gave rise to a new literacy among the general population. However, the upsurge in technology threatens to spawn a new class of “information access illiterate” people. Public libraries can serve the needs of society by giving access to, and providing educational literacy programs for using, new technological tools to access information.