Humphrey Chetham bequeathed money for the founding of Chetham’s Library in 1653 (the year of his death). He stipulated in his will that the library be for the use of scholars and so-called ‘well affected persons’. Furthermore, it was his dying wish that the books themselves should be chained down, as indicated in this photograph.
Although, I acknowledge that the intention of this chaining was to preserve the books for generations to come, i.e. by preventing theft, if this image is taken at ‘face value’ for a moment, its meaning is absurd.
It is impossible to chain down knowledge, or in fact, tether any understanding gained from reading.