An institution of the medieval Church to protect copies of the Bible from thievery. Before the advent of printing, the rarity of books made them available only to the wealthy. They were often locked away in chests. The Church, wishing to make the Bible available to all the faithful and still to ensure it against loss, chained it to a desk or lectern near a window. There even poor students had its use and it was in popular demand. Bias and ignorance have interpreted this chaining as proof that the Church withheld the Bible from the laity.