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In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of book
Book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...

s, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services. The collections can be of print, audio, and visual materials in numerous formats, including maps
Map collection
A map collection is a storage facility for maps, usually in a library, archive, or museum, or at a map publisher or public authority, and the maps and other cartographic items stored within that facility....

, prints
Print room
A print room is either a room or industrial building where printing takes place, or a room in an art gallery or museum, where a collection of old master and modern prints, usually together with drawings, watercolours and photographs, are held and viewed. The latter meaning is the subject of this...

, documents, microform
Microform
Microforms are any forms, either films or paper, containing microreproductions of documents for transmission, storage, reading, and printing. Microform images are commonly reduced to about one twenty-fifth of the original document size...

 (microfilm/microfiche), CDs
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

, cassettes
Compact Cassette
The Compact Cassette, often referred to as audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a magnetic tape sound recording format. It was designed originally for dictation, but improvements in fidelity led the Compact Cassette to supplant the Stereo 8-track cartridge and reel-to-reel...

, videotape
Videotape
A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram...

s, DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s, video games, e-books, audiobooks and many other electronic resources.

The places where this material is stored can range from public libraries, subscription libraries, private libraries, and can also be in digital form, stored on computers or accessible over the internet. The term has acquired a secondary meaning: "a collection of useful material for common use". This sense is used in fields such as computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, statistics
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

, electronics and biology
Library (biology)
In molecular biology, a library is a collection of DNA fragments that is stored and propagated in a population of micro-organisms through the process of molecular cloning...

.

A library is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution, a corporation, or a private individual. Public and institutional collections and services may be intended for use by people who choose not to — or cannot afford to — purchase an extensive collection themselves, who need material no individual can reasonably be expected to have, or who require professional assistance with their research. In addition to providing materials, libraries also provide the services of librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

s who are experts at finding and organizing information and at interpreting information needs. Libraries often provide a place of silence
Silence
Silence is the relative or total lack of audible sound. By analogy, the word silence may also refer to any absence of communication, even in media other than speech....

 for studying, and they also often offer common areas to accommodate for group study and collaboration. Libraries often provide public facilities to access to their electronic resources and the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 in many formats and from many sources. They are extending services beyond the physical walls of a building, by providing material accessible by electronic means, and by providing the assistance of librarians in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of information with a variety of digital tools.

Early history


The first libraries mainly consisted of published records
Document
The term document has multiple meanings in ordinary language and in scholarship. WordNet 3.1. lists four meanings :* document, written document, papers...

, housed in a particular type of library, called archive
Archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

s. Archaeological findings from the ancient city-states of Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 have revealed temple rooms full of clay tablet
Clay tablet
In the Ancient Near East, clay tablets were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age....

s in cuneiform script
Cuneiform script
Cuneiform script )) is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium , cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs...

. These archives were made up almost completely of the records of commercial transactions or inventories, with only a few documents devoted to theological matters, historical records or legends. Things were much the same in the government and temple records on papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

.

The earliest discovered private archives were kept at Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

; besides correspondence and inventories, texts of myths may have been standardized practice-texts for teaching new scribes. There is also evidence of libraries at Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

 about 1900 BC and those at Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 about 700 BC showing a library classification
Library classification
A library classification is a system of coding and organizing documents or library materials according to their subject and allocating a call number to that information resource...

 system. Another early organization system was in effect at Alexandria.

Over 30,000 clay tablets from the Library of Ashurbanipal
Library of Ashurbanipal
-External links:. In our time discussion programme. 45 minutes....

 have been discovered at Nineveh, providing modern scholars with an amazing wealth of Mesopotamian literary, religious and administrative work. Among the findings were
the Enuma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

, also known as the Epic of Creation, which depicts a traditional Babylonian view of creation, the Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the protagonist of the story, Gilgamesh king of Uruk, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much...

, a large selection of "omen texts" including Enuma Anu Enlil which "contained omens dealing with the moon, its visibility, eclipses, and conjunction with planets and fixed stars, the sun, its corona, spots, and eclipses, the weather, namely lightning, thunder, and clouds, and the planets and their visibility, appearance, and stations", and astronomic/astrological texts, as well as standard lists used by scribes and scholars such as word lists, bilingual vocabularies, lists of signs and synonyms, and lists of medical diagnoses.

Libraries in the Hellenic world and Rome



Private or personal libraries made up of non-fiction
Non-fiction
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact...

 and fiction
Fiction
Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

 books (as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives) appeared in classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 in the 5th century BC. The celebrated book collectors of Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 were listed in the late 2nd century in Deipnosophistae
Deipnosophistae
The Deipnosophistae may be translated as The Banquet of the Learned or Philosophers at Dinner or The Gastronomers...

:

Polycrates of Samos and Pisistratus
Peisistratos (Athens)
Peisistratos was a tyrant of Athens from 546 to 527/8 BC. His legacy lies primarily in his institution of the Panathenaic Festival and the consequent first attempt at producing a definitive version for Homeric epics. Peisistratos' championing of the lower class of Athens, the Hyperakrioi, can be...

 who was tyrant of Athens, and Euclides who was himself also an Athenian and Nicorrates of Samos and even the kings of Pergamos, and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

 the poet and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 the philosopher, and Nelius his librarian; from whom they say our countryman Ptolemæus, surnamed Philadelphus, bought them all, and transported them, with all those which he had collected at Athens and at Rhodes to his own beautiful Alexandria.


All these libraries were Greek; the cultivated Hellenized diners in Deipnosophistae pass over the libraries of Rome in silence. By the time of Augustus there were public libraries near the forums of Rome: there were libraries in the Porticus Octaviae
Porticus Octaviae
The Porticus Octaviae is an ancient structure in Rome.Built by Augustus in the name of his sister, Octavia Minor, at some time after 27 BC, in place of the Porticus Metelli, the porticus enclosed within its colonnaded walks the temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina, next to the Theater of...

 near the Theatre of Marcellus
Theatre of Marcellus
The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theatre in Rome, Italy, built in the closing years of the Roman Republic. At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. Today its ancient edifice in the rione of Sant'Angelo, Rome, once again provides...

, in the temple of Apollo Palatinus, and in the Bibliotheca Ulpiana in the Forum of Trajan. The state archives were kept in a structure on the slope between the Roman Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 and the Capitoline Hill
Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill , between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, with the alternative Campidoglio stemming from Capitolium. The English word capitol...

.

Private libraries appeared during the late republic: Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

 inveighed against libraries fitted out for show by illiterate owners who scarcely read their titles in the course of a lifetime, but displayed the scrolls in bookcases (armaria) of citrus wood inlaid with ivory that ran right to the ceiling: "by now, like bathrooms and hot water, a library is got up as standard equipment for a fine house (domus
Domus
In ancient Rome, the domus was the type of house occupied by the upper classes and some wealthy freedmen during the Republican and Imperial eras. They could be found in almost all the major cities throughout the Roman territories...

). Libraries were amenities suited to a villa, such as Cicero's at Tusculum, Maecenas's several villas, or Pliny the Younger's, all described in surviving letters. At the Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri
The Villa of the Papyri is a private house in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum . Situated north-west of the township, the residence sits halfway up the slope of the volcano Vesuvius without other buildings to obstruct the view. The villa suburbana was owned by Julius Caesar's father-in-law,...

 at Herculaneum
Herculaneum
Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in AD 79, located in the territory of the current commune of Ercolano, in the Italian region of Campania in the shadow of Mt...

, apparently the villa of Caesar's father-in-law, the Greek library has been partly preserved in volcanic ash; archaeologists speculate that a Latin library, kept separate from the Greek one, may await discovery at the site.

In the West, the first public libraries were established under the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 as each succeeding emperor strove to open one or many which outshone that of his predecessor. Unlike the Greek libraries, readers had direct access to the scrolls, which were kept on shelves built into the walls of a large room. Reading or copying was normally done in the room itself. The surviving records give only a few instances of lending features. As a rule, Roman public libraries were bilingual: they had a Latin room and a Greek room. Most of the large Roman baths were also cultural centers, built from the start with a library, a two room arrangement with one room for Greek and one for Latin texts.


Libraries were filled with parchment
Parchment
Parchment is a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin, often split. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents, notes, or the pages of a book, codex or manuscript. It is distinct from leather in that parchment is limed but not tanned; therefore, it is very...

 scrolls
Scroll (parchment)
A scroll is a roll of papyrus, parchment, or paper which has been written, drawn or painted upon for the purpose of transmitting information or using as a decoration.-Structure:...

 as at Library of Pergamum
Library of Pergamum
The Library of Pergamum in Pergamum, Turkey, was one of the most important libraries in the ancient world.- The City of Pergamum :Founded in the Hellenistic Age, Pergamum or Pergamom was an important ancient Greek city, located in Anatolia. It is now the site of the modern Turkish town, Bergama...

 and on papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 scrolls as at Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

: the export of prepared writing materials was a staple of commerce. There were a few institutional or royal libraries which were open to an educated public (such as the Serapeum collection of the Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria
The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the...

, once the largest library in the ancient world
Great libraries of the ancient world
The great libraries of the ancient world served as archives for empires, sanctuaries for sacred writings, and depositories of literature and chronicles.-Syria, Iraq, Iran:...

), but on the whole collections were private. In those rare cases where it was possible for a scholar to consult library books there seems to have been no direct access to the stacks. In all recorded cases the books were kept in a relatively small room where the staff went to get them for the readers, who had to consult them in an adjoining hall or covered walkway.

In the 6th century, at the very close of the Classical period
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, the great libraries of the Mediterranean world remained those of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 and Alexandria. Cassiodorus
Cassiodorus
Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator , commonly known as Cassiodorus, was a Roman statesman and writer, serving in the administration of Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. Senator was part of his surname, not his rank.- Life :Cassiodorus was born at Scylletium, near Catanzaro in...

, minister to Theodoric, established a monastery at Vivarium in the heel of Italy with a library where he attempted to bring Greek learning to Latin readers and preserve texts both sacred and secular for future generations. As its unofficial librarian, Cassiodorus not only collected as many manuscripts as he could, he also wrote treatises aimed at instructing his monks in the proper uses of reading and methods for copying texts accurately. In the end, however, the library at Vivarium was dispersed and lost within a century.

Through Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 and especially the scholarly presbyter Pamphilus of Caesarea
Pamphilus of Caesarea
Saint Pamphilus , was a presbyter of Caesarea and chief among Catholic Biblical scholars of his generation...

, an avid collector of books of Scripture, the theological school of Caesarea won a reputation for having the most extensive ecclesiastical library of the time
Pamphilus of Caesarea
Saint Pamphilus , was a presbyter of Caesarea and chief among Catholic Biblical scholars of his generation...

, containing more than 30,000 manuscripts: Gregory Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 and others come studied there.

With education firmly in Christian hands, however, many of the works of classical antiquity were no longer considered useful. Old texts were washed off and the valuable parchment and papyrus were reused, forming palimpsests. As scrolls gave way to the new book-form, the codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 was universally used for Christian literature. Old manuscript scrolls were cut apart and used to stiffen leather bindings.

Ancient Chinese libraries



The imperial library is the earliest known Chinese library, with history dating back to the Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

. Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 scholar Liu Hsiang established the first library classification system during the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

, and the first book notation system. At this time the library catalog was written on scrolls of fine silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 and stored in silk bags.

Libraries and Islam


The centrality of the Qurʾān as the prototype of the written word in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 bears significantly on the role of books within its intellectual tradition and educational system. An early impulse in Islam was to manage reports of events, key figures and their sayings and actions. Thus, "the onus of being the last 'People of the Book
People of the Book
People of the Book is a term used to designate non-Muslim adherents to faiths which have a revealed scripture called, in Arabic, Al-Kitab . The three types of adherents to faiths that the Qur'an mentions as people of the book are the Jews, Sabians and Christians.In Islam, the Muslim scripture, the...

' engendered an ethos of [librarianship]" early on and the establishment of important book repositories throughout the Muslim world has occurred ever since.

Upon the spread of Islam, libraries in newly Islamic lands
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

 knew a brief period of expansion in the Middle East, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Like the Christian libraries, they mostly contained books which were made of paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, and took a codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 or modern form instead of scrolls; they could be found in mosques, private homes, and universities, from Timbuktu
Timbuktu
Timbuktu , formerly also spelled Timbuctoo, is a town in the West African nation of Mali situated north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali...

 to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and modern day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. In Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

, for example, the largest and probably the oldest mosque library, the Sufiya, located at the city's Grand Umayyad Mosque, contained a large book collection of which 10,000 volumes were reportedly bequeathed by the city's most famous ruler, Prince Sayf al-Dawla. Ibn al-Nadim
Ibn al-Nadim
Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Is'hāq al-Nadim , whose father was known as al-Warrāq was a Shia Muslim scholar and bibliographer. Some scholars regard him as a Persian, but this is not certain. He is famous as the author of the Kitāb al-Fihrist...

's bibliography Fihrist demonstrates the devotion of medieval Muslim scholars to books and reliable sources; it contains a description of thousands of books circulating in the Islamic world circa 1000, including an entire section for books about the doctrines of other religions. Modern Islamic libraries for the most part do not hold these antique books; many were lost, destroyed by Mongols
Battle of Baghdad (1258)
The Siege of Baghdad, which occurred in 1258, was an invasion, siege and sacking of the city of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate at the time and the modern-day capital of Iraq, by the Ilkhanate Mongol forces along with other allied troops under Hulagu Khan.The invasion left Baghdad in...

, or removed to European libraries and museums during the colonial period.
By the 8th century first Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ians and then Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s had imported the craft of papermaking
Papermaking
Papermaking is the process of making paper, a substance which is used universally today for writing and packaging.In papermaking a dilute suspension of fibres in water is drained through a screen, so that a mat of randomly interwoven fibres is laid down. Water is removed from this mat of fibres by...

 from China, with a paper mill
Paper mill
A paper mill is a factory devoted to making paper from vegetable fibres such as wood pulp, old rags and other ingredients using a Fourdrinier machine or other type of paper machine.- History :...

 already at work in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 in 794. By the 9th century completely public libraries started to appear in many Islamic cities. They were called "halls of Science" or dar al-'ilm. They were each endowed by Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic sects with the purpose of representing their tenets as well as promoting the dissemination of secular knowledge. The 9th century Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 al-Mutawakkil
Al-Mutawakkil
Al-Mutawakkil ʻAlā Allāh Jaʻfar ibn al-Muʻtasim was an Abbasid caliph who reigned in Samarra from 847 until 861...

 of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, even ordered the construction of a ‘zawiyat qurra literally an enclosure for readers which was `lavishly furnished and equipped.' In Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

 Adhud al-Daula (d. 983) set up a library, described by the medieval historian, al-Muqaddasi
Al-Muqaddasi
Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shams al-Din Al-Muqaddasi , also transliterated as Al-Maqdisi and el-Mukaddasi, was a medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim .-Biography:Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalem in 946 AD...

, as`a complex of buildings surrounded by gardens with lakes and waterways. The buildings were topped with domes, and comprised an upper and a lower story with a total, according to the chief official, of 360 rooms.... In each department
Departmentalization
Departmentalization refers to the process of grouping activities into departments.Division of labour creates specialists who need coordination. This coordination is facilitated by grouping specialists together in departments....

, catalogue
Library catalog
A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations...

s were placed on a shelf... the rooms were furnished with carpets...'. The libraries often employed translators and copyists in large numbers, in order to render into Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 the bulk of the available Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Roman and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 non-fiction and the classics of literature. This flowering of Islamic learning ceased centuries later when learning began declining in the Islamic world, after many of these libraries were destroyed by Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions progressed throughout the 13th century, resulting in the vast Mongol Empire which covered much of Asia and Eastern Europe by 1300....

. Others were victim of wars and religious strife in the Islamic world. However, a few examples of these medieval libraries, such as the libraries of Chinguetti
Chinguetti
Chinguetti is a ksar or medieval trading centre in northern Mauritania, lying on the Adrar Plateau east of Atar.Founded in the 13th century, as the center of several trans-Saharan trade routes, this tiny city continues to attract a handful of visitors who admire its spare architecture, exotic...

 in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, remain intact and relatively unchanged even today. Another ancient library from this period which is still operational and expanding is the Central Library of Astan Quds Razavi
Central Library of Astan Quds Razavi
The Central Library of Astan Quds Razavi is a large library in Mashad, Iran. Established before 1457, it holds over 1.1 million volumes. It is an international center for Islamic research, containing numerous manuscripts and rare works of antiquity of Islamic history.The library has 35 branches:*...

 in the Iranian city of Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

, which has been operating for more than six centuries.

The contents of these Islamic libraries were copied by Christian monks in Muslim/Christian border areas, particularly Spain and Sicily. From there they eventually made their way into other parts of Christian Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. These copies joined works that had been preserved directly by Christian monks from Greek and Roman originals, as well as copies Western Christian monks made of Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 works. The resulting conglomerate libraries are the basis of every modern library today.

Medieval Christian libraries


With the retrenchment of literacy in the Roman west during the fourth and 5th centuries, fewer private libraries were maintained, and those in unfortified villas
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 proved to be among their most combustible contents.

In the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and before the rise of the large Western Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 libraries beginning at Montecassino, libraries were found in scattered places in the Christian Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Medieval library design reflected the fact that these manuscripts —created via the labor-intensive process of hand copying— were valuable possessions. Library architecture developed in response to the need for security. Librarians often chained
Chained library
A chained library is a library where the books are attached to their bookcase by a chain, which is sufficiently long to allow the books to be taken from their shelves and read, but not removed from the library itself...

 books to lectern
Lectern
A lectern is a reading desk with a slanted top, usually placed on a stand or affixed to some other form of support, on which documents or books are placed as support for reading aloud, as in a scripture reading, lecture, or sermon...

s, armaria
Armaria
Armaria are a kind of closed, labeled cupboards that were used for book storage in ancient times up till the middle ages.They were probably used in the library of Alexandria-References:...

 (wooden chests), or shelves, in well-lit rooms. Despite this protectiveness, many libraries were willing to lend their books if provided with security deposits (usually money or a book of equal value). Monastic libraries lent and borrowed books from each other frequently and lending policy was often theologically grounded. For example, the Franciscan monasteries loaned books to each other without a security deposit since according to their vow of poverty only the entire order could own property. In 1212 the council of Paris condemned those monasteries that still forbade loaning books, reminding them that lending is "one of the chief works of mercy."

Lending meant more than just having another work to read to librarians; while the work was in their possession, it could be copied, thus enriching the library's own collection. The book lent as a counter effort was often copied in the same way, so both libraries ended up having an additional title.

The early libraries located in monastic cloister
Cloister
A cloister is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth...

s and associated with scriptoria
Scriptorium
Scriptorium, literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the copying of manuscripts by monastic scribes...

 were collections of lecterns with books chained to them. Shelves built above and between back-to-back lecterns were the beginning of bookpress
Bookpress
A bookpress is either:* a screw press used in the binding or rebinding of books.* an early form of bookcase, used in medieval cloisters, to which books were attached using a chain....

es. The chain was attached at the fore-edge of a book rather than to its spine. Book presses came to be arranged in carrels
Carrel desk
A carrel desk is a small desk featuring high sides meant to visually isolate its user from any surroundings either partially or totally. They were a predecessor to the more recent cubicle desk.- Description :...

 (perpendicular to the walls and therefore to the windows) in order to maximize lighting, with low bookcases in front of the windows. This stall system (fixed bookcases perpendicular to exterior walls pierced by closely spaced windows) was characteristic of English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 institutional libraries. In Continental
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

 libraries, bookcases were arranged parallel to and against the walls. This wall system was first introduced on a large scale in Spain's El Escorial
El Escorial
The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and...

.

Southeast Asian libraries


Buddhist scriptures, educational materials, and histories were stored in libraries in pre-modern Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. In Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

, a royal library called the Pitaka Taik
Pitaka Taik
Pitaka Taik finds its meaning in the "library of Buddhist Scriptures". The library was created after a conquest of Thaton, Anawratha seized 30 elephant-loads of Buddhist scripture. He then built a library in 1058 to house these documents. He used a style known as "Gu" which is an early Bagan Cave...

 was legendarily founded by King Anawrahta
Anawrahta
Anawrahta Minsaw was the founder of the Pagan Empire. Considered the father of the Burmese nation, Anawrahta turned a small principality in the dry zone of Upper Burma into the first Burmese Empire that formed the basis of modern-day Burma...

; in the 18th century, British envoy Michael Symes, upon visiting this library, wrote that "it is not improbable that his Birman majesty may possess a more numerous library than any potentate, from the banks of the Danube to the borders of China". In Thailand libraries called ho trai were built throughout the country, usually on stilts above a pond to prevent bugs from eating at the books.

Early modern libraries


Johannes Gutenberg's movable type innovation in the 15th century revolutionized bookmaking. From the 15th century in central and northern Italy, the assiduously assembled libraries of humanists
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 and their enlightened patrons provided a nucleus around which an "academy
Academy
An academy is an institution of higher learning, research, or honorary membership.The name traces back to Plato's school of philosophy, founded approximately 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and skill, north of Athens, Greece. In the western world academia is the...

" of scholars congregated in each Italian city of consequence. Cosimo de Medici in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 established his own collection, which formed the basis of the Laurentian Library
Laurentian Library
The Laurentian Library is a historical library in Florence, Italy, containing a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books...

. In Rome, the papal collections were brought together by Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V , born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from March 6, 1447 to his death in 1455.-Biography:He was born at Sarzana, Liguria, where his father was a physician...

, in separate Greek and Latin libraries, and housed by Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV , born Francesco della Rovere, was Pope from 1471 to 1484. His accomplishments as Pope included the establishment of the Sistine Chapel; the group of artists that he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpiece of the city's new artistic age,...

, who consigned the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana
Vatican Library
The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from...

 to the care of his librarian, the humanist Bartolomeo Platina
Bartolomeo Platina
Bartolomeo Platina, originally named Sacchi was an Italian Renaissance writer.-Biography:Platina was born at Piadena , near Cremona....

 in February 1475. In the 16th century Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V , born Felice Peretti di Montalto, was Pope from 1585 to 1590.-Early life:The chronicler Andrija Zmajević states that Felice's family originated from modern-day Montenegro...

 bisected Bramante's Cortile del Belvedere
Cortile del Belvedere
The Cortile del Belvedere, the Belvedere courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante from 1506 onwards, was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome; its concept and details reverberating in courtyard design, formalized piazzas and garden plans throughout Western...

 with a cross-wing to house the Apostolic Library in suitable magnificence. The sixteenth and 17th centuries saw other privately endowed libraries assembled in Rome: the Vallicelliana, formed from the books of Saint Filippo Neri, with other distinguished libraries such as that of Cesare Baronio, the Biblioteca Angelica founded by the Augustinian Angelo Rocca
Angelo Rocca
Angelo Rocca founder of the Angelica Library at Rome, afterwards accessible from 1604 as a public library....

, which was the only truly public library in Counter-Reformation Rome; the Biblioteca Alessandrina with which Pope Alexander VII
Pope Alexander VII
Pope Alexander VII , born Fabio Chigi, was Pope from 7 April 1655, until his death.- Early life :Born in Siena, a member of the illustrious banking family of Chigi and a great-nephew of Pope Paul V , he was privately tutored and eventually received doctorates of philosophy, law, and theology from...

 endowed the University of Rome; the Biblioteca Casanatense of the Cardinal Girolamo Casanate
Girolamo Casanate
Girolamo Casanate was an Italian cardinal, born to Spanish parents.-Sources:*http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1673-ii.htm...

; and finally the Biblioteca Corsiniana founded by the bibliophile Clement XII Corsini
Pope Clement XII
Pope Clement XII , born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope from 12 July 1730 to 6 February 1740.Born in Florence, the son of Bartolomeo Corsini, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabella Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo, Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer and financial manager under preceding...

 and his nephew Cardinal Neri Corsini, still housed in Palazzo Corsini in via della Lungara.

A lot of factors combined to create a "golden age of libraries" between 1600 and 1700: The quantity of books had gone up, as the cost had gone down, there was a renewal in the interest of classical literature and culture, nationalism was encouraging nations to build great libraries, universities were playing a more prominent role in education, and renaissance thinkers and writers were producing great works. Some of the more important libraries include the Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library , the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library...

 at Oxford, the Library of the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

, the Mazarine Library
Bibliothèque Mazarine
The Bibliothèque Mazarine is the oldest public library in France.- History :The Bibliothèque Mazarine was initially the personal library of cardinal Mazarin , who was a great bibliophile...

 and the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève
Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève
The Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève inherited the writings and collections of one of the largest and oldest abbeys in Paris. Founded in the sixth century by Clovis I and subject to the rule of St. Benedict Abbey, initially devoted to the apostles Peter and Paul, in 512 received the body of the St...

 in Paris, and the National Central Library
National Central Library (Florence)
The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze is a public national library in Florence, the largest in Italy and one of most important in Europe, one of the two central libraries of Italy, along with the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Rome.-History:...

 in Italy, the Prussian State Library, the M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library of St. Petersburg, and many more.

Literature of Libraries in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries is a collection of nine short works from the period which was published by John Cotton Dana and Henry W. Kent in 1906-07.

Types




Libraries can be divided into categories by several methods:
By the entity (institution, municipality, or corporate body) that supports or perpetuates them:
  • academic libraries
    Academic library
    An academic library is a library that is attached to academic institutions above the secondary level, serving the teaching and research needs of students and staff...

  • corporate libraries
  • government libraries, such as national libraries
    National library
    A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books...

  • historical society
    Historical society
    A historical society is an organization that collects, researches, interprets and preserves information or items of historical interest. Generally, a historical society focuses on a specific geographical area, such as a county or town or subject, such as aviation or rail. Many historical...

     libraries
  • private libraries
    Private library
    A private library is a library under the care of private ownership, as compared to that of a public institution, and is usually only established for the use of a small number of people, or even a single person. As with public libraries, some people use stamps, stickers, or embossing to show...

  • public libraries
    Public library
    A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

  • school libraries
    School library
    A school library is a library within a school where students, staff, and often, parents of a public or private school have access to a variety of resources...

  • special libraries
    Special library
    A special library is a term for a library that is neither an academic, school, public or national library. Special libraries include law libraries, news libraries, corporate libraries, museum libraries, and medical libraries and are not usually open to the public for use...


By the type of documents or materials they hold:
  • data libraries
    Data library
    A data library refers to both the content and the services that foster use of collections of numeric, audio-visual, textual or geospatial for secondary use in research...

  • digital libraries
    Digital library
    A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks...

  • map libraries or collections
    Map collection
    A map collection is a storage facility for maps, usually in a library, archive, or museum, or at a map publisher or public authority, and the maps and other cartographic items stored within that facility....

  • picture (photograph) libraries
  • slide libraries
  • tool libraries

By the subject matter of documents they hold:
  • architecture libraries
  • fine arts libraries
  • law libraries
    Law library
    A law library is a library designed to assist law students, attorneys, judges, and their law clerks and anyone else who finds it necessary to correctly determine the state of the law....

  • medical libraries
    Medical library
    A health or medical library is designed to assist physicians, health professionals, students, patients, consumers and medical researchers in finding health and scientific information to improve, update, assess or evaluate health care. Medical libraries are typically found in hospitals, medical...

  • aquatic science
    Aquatic science
    Aquatic Science is the multidisciplinary study of aquatic systems, encompassing both freshwater and marine systems. Scientific investigations within this field often examine the human impact on and interaction with aquatic systems and range in scale from the molecular level of contaminants to the...

     libraries
  • theological libraries
    Theological libraries and librarianship
    Christian Theological libraries have their origins in the Jewish religion whose practice and transmission depended on the keeping and duplication of sacred texts. Like Judaism, Christianity depends fundamentally on the preservation and study of a sacred text...


By the users they serve:
  • military communities
  • users who are blind or visually/physically handicapped (see National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. The program is a service sponsored by the Library of Congress. People may be eligible for the...

    )
  • prisons

By traditional professional divisions:
  • Academic libraries — These libraries are located on the campuses of colleges and universities and serve primarily the students and faculty of that and other academic institutions. Some academic libraries, especially those at public institutions, are accessible to members of the general public in whole or in part.
  • Public libraries
    Public library
    A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

     or public lending libraries — These libraries provide service to the general public and make at least some of their books available for borrowing, so that readers may use them at home over a period of days or weeks. Typically, libraries issue library cards to community members wishing to borrow books. Many public libraries also serve as community organizations that provide free services and events to the public, such as reading groups and toddler story time.
  • Research libraries
    Research library
    A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects . A research library will generally include primary sources as well as secondary sources...

     — These libraries are intended for supporting scholarly research, and therefore maintain permanent collections and attempt to provide access to all necessary material. Research libraries are most often academic libraries or national libraries, but many large special libraries
    Special library
    A special library is a term for a library that is neither an academic, school, public or national library. Special libraries include law libraries, news libraries, corporate libraries, museum libraries, and medical libraries and are not usually open to the public for use...

     have research libraries within their special field and a very few of the largest public libraries also serve as research libraries.
  • School libraries
    School library
    A school library is a library within a school where students, staff, and often, parents of a public or private school have access to a variety of resources...

     — Most public and private primary and secondary schools have libraries designed to support the school's curriculum.
  • Special libraries
    Special library
    A special library is a term for a library that is neither an academic, school, public or national library. Special libraries include law libraries, news libraries, corporate libraries, museum libraries, and medical libraries and are not usually open to the public for use...

     — All other libraries fall into this category. Many private businesses and public organizations, including hospitals, museums, research laboratories, law firms, and many government departments and agencies, maintain their own libraries for the use of their employees in doing specialized research related to their work. Special libraries may or may not be accessible to some identified part of the general public. Branches of a large academic or research libraries dealing with particular subjects are also usually called "special libraries": they are generally associated with one or more academic departments. Special libraries are distinguished from special collections
    Special collections
    In library science, special collections is the name applied to a specific repository or department, usually within a library, which stores materials of a "special" nature, including rare books, archives, and collected manuscripts...

    , which are branches or parts of a library intended for rare books, manuscripts, and similar material.


Many institutions make a distinction between circulating libraries (where materials are expected and intended to be loaned to patrons, institutions, or other libraries) and collecting libraries (where the materials are selected on a basis of their natures or subject matter). Many modern libraries are a mixture of both, as they contain a general collection for circulation, and a reference collection which is often more specialized, as well as restricted to the library premises.

Public libraries



The earliest example in England of a library to be endowed for the benefit of users who were not members of an institution such as a cathedral or college was the Francis Trigge Chained Library
Francis Trigge Chained Library
Francis Trigge Chained Library is a library in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England which was founded in 1598.In 1598 Francis Trigge, Rector of Welbourne in Lincolnshire, arranged for a library to be set up in the room over the South Porch of St. Wulfram's Church, Grantham for the use of the clergy and...

 in Grantham
Grantham
Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the East Coast Main Line railway , the historic A1 main north-south road, and the River Witham. Grantham is located approximately south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately east of Nottingham...

, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

, established in 1598. The library still exists and can justifiably claim to be the forerunner of later public library systems. The beginning of the modern, free, open access libraries really got its start in the U.K. in 1847. Parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 appointed a committee, led by William Ewart, on Public Libraries to consider the necessity of establishing libraries through the nation: In 1849 their report noted the poor condition of library service, it recommended the establishment of free public libraries all over the country, and it led to the Public Libraries Act in 1850, which allowed all cities with populations exceeding 10,000 to levy taxes for the support of public libraries. Another important act was the 1870 Public School Law, which increased literacy, thereby the demand for libraries, so by 1877, more than 75 cities had established free libraries, and by 1900 the number had reached 300. This finally marks the start of the public library as we know it. And these acts led to similar laws in other countries, most notably the U.S.

1876 is a well known year in the history of librarianship in the United States. The American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

 was formed, as well as The American Library Journal, Melvil Dewey
Melvil Dewey
Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey was an American librarian and educator, inventor of the Dewey Decimal system of library classification, and a founder of the Lake Placid Club....

 published his decimal based system of classification, and the United States Bureau of Education published its report, "Public libraries in the United States of America; their history, condition, and management." During the post-Civil War years, there was a rise in the establishment of public libraries, a movement led chiefly by newly formed women's club
Women's club
Women’s clubs, also known as woman's clubs, first arose in the United States during the post-Civil War period, in both the North and the South. As a result of increased leisure time due to modern household advances, middle-class women had more time to engage in intellectual pursuits...

s. They contributed their own collections of books, conducted lengthy fund raising campaigns for buildings, and lobbied within their communities for financial support for libraries, as well as with legislatures and the Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library, Carnegie Public Library, Carnegie Free Library, Carnegie Free Public Library, Andrew Carnegie Library, Andrew Carnegie Free Library or Carnegie Library Building may refer to any of the following Carnegie libraries:- California :*Carnegie Library , listed on the National Register...

 Endowment founded in the 20th century. They led the establishment of 75-80 percent of the libraries in communities across the country.

In 1979 and 1991 White House Conferences on Library and Information Services were held to demonstrate the key role libraries play in American Democracy.

The American Library Association (ALA) continues to play a major role in libraries to this day, with its public library focused division, the Public Library Association, establishing standards and planning guidelines. Dewey's classification system, although under heavy criticism of late, still remains the prevailing method of classification used in the United States.

As the number of books in libraries increased, so did the need for compact storage and access with adequate lighting, giving birth to the stack system, which involved keeping a library's collection of books in a space separate from the reading room. This arrangement arose in the 19th century. Book stacks quickly evolved into a fairly standard form in which the cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

 and steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 frameworks supporting the bookshelves also supported the floors, which often were built of translucent blocks to permit the passage of light (but were not transparent, for reasons of modesty). The introduction of electrical lighting
Electric light
Electric lights are a convenient and economic form of artificial lighting which provide increased comfort, safety and efficiency. Most electric lighting is powered by centrally-generated electric power, but lighting may also be powered by mobile or standby electric generators or battery systems...

 had a huge impact on how the library operated
Lighting in libraries
The issue of lighting in libraries is one that is still discussed and debated today. Correct lighting makes patrons feel good and comfortable in their surroundings; bad lighting creates problems for patrons when they are looking through the stacks, and keep their visit to the library short. The...

. The use of glass floors was largely discontinued, though floors were still often composed of metal grating to allow air to circulate in multi-story stacks. As more space was needed, a method of moving shelves on tracks (compact shelving) was introduced to cut down on otherwise wasted aisle space.

Library 2.0
Library 2.0
Library 2.0 is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users....

, a term coined in 2005, is the library's response to the challenge of Google and an attempt to meet the changing needs of users by using web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

 technology. Some of the aspects of Library 2.0 include, commenting, tagging, bookmarking, discussions, use of online social networks by libraries, plug-ins, and widgets. Inspired by web 2.0, it is an attempt to make the library a more user-driven institution.

Despite the importance of public libraries, they are routinely having their budgets cut by state legislature. Funding has dwindled so badly that some smaller public libraries have been forced to cut their hours and release employees.

Living libraries


Living Libraries or Human Libraries is a concept which originated in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2000 and has since spread worldwide. The purpose behind these libraries is to reduce prejudices and foster understanding through allowing users to ‘checkout’ a person (living book) who belongs to a stereotyped group. Living Libraries operate as a mobile library and are usually organized as events at festivals, academic libraries and public libraries. They rely on volunteers to serve as living books.

Academic libraries


Academic libraries are libraries that are hosted in post-secondary educational institutions, such as colleges and universities. The main functions of an academic library are to provide resources and research support for students and faculty of the educational institution. Specific course-related resources are usually provided by the library, such as copies of textbooks and article readings held on 'reserve' (meaning that they are loaned out only on a short-term basis, usually a matter of hours).

Academic libraries offer workshops and courses outside of formal, graded coursework, which are meant to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed in their programs. Examples of these workshops may include: how to cite sources, effective search techniques, journal databases, electronic citation software, etc. These workshops provide students with skills that can help them achieve success in their academic careers (and often, in their future occupations), which they may not learn inside the classroom.

The academic library provides a quiet study space for students on campus; it may also provide group study space, such as meeting rooms. In North America, Europe, and other parts of the world, academic libraries are becoming increasingly digitally oriented. The library provides a "gateway" for students and researchers to access various resources, both print/physical and digital. Academic institutions are subscribing to electronic journals databases, providing research and scholarly writing software, and usually provide computer workstations or computer labs for students to access journals, library search databases and portals, institutional electronic resources, internet access, and course- or task-related software (i.e. word processing and spreadsheet software). They are increasingly acting as an electronic repository for institutional scholarly research and academic knowledge, such as the collection and curation of digital copies of students' theses and dissertations.

Organization


Libraries have materials arranged in a specified order according to a library classification
Library classification
A library classification is a system of coding and organizing documents or library materials according to their subject and allocating a call number to that information resource...

 system, so that items may be located quickly and collections may be browsed efficiently. Some libraries have additional galleries beyond the public ones, where reference materials are stored. These reference stacks may be open to selected members of the public. Others require patrons to submit a "stack request," which is a request for an assistant to retrieve the material from the closed stacks. A list of closed stack libraries is being aggregated on Wikipedia.

Larger libraries are often broken down into departments staffed by both paraprofessionals and professional librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

s.
  • Circulation (or Access Services) - Handles user accounts and the loaning/returning and shelving of materials.
  • Collection Development - Orders materials and maintains materials budgets.
  • Reference - Staffs a reference desk answering user questions (using structured reference interview
    Reference interview
    A reference interview is a conversation between a librarian and a library user, usually at a reference desk, in which the librarian responds to the user's initial explanation of his or her information need by first attempting to clarify that need and then by directing the user to appropriate...

    s), instructing users, and developing library programming. Reference may be further broken down by user groups or materials; common collections are children's literature
    Children's literature
    Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes...

    , young adult literature
    Young adult literature
    Young-adult fiction or young adult literature , also juvenile fiction, is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The Young Adult Library Services of the American Library Association defines a young adult as "someone between the...

    , and genealogy
    Genealogy
    Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

     materials.
  • Technical Services - Works behind the scenes cataloging and processing new materials and deaccessioning weeded materials.
  • Stacks Maintenance - Re-shelves materials that have been returned to the library after patron use and shelves materials that have been processed by Technical Services. Stacks Maintenance also shelf reads the material in the stacks to ensure that it is in the correct library classification order.

Management


Basic tasks in library management
Library management
Library management is a sub-discipline of institutional management that focuses on specific issues faced by libraries. Library management encompasses normal management tasks as well as intellectual freedom, anti-censorship, and fundraising tasks...

 include the planning of acquisitions (which materials the library should acquire, by purchase or otherwise), library classification
Library classification
A library classification is a system of coding and organizing documents or library materials according to their subject and allocating a call number to that information resource...

 of acquired materials, preservation of materials (especially rare and fragile archival materials such as manuscripts), the deaccessioning of materials, patron borrowing of materials, and developing and administering library computer systems. More long-term issues include the planning of the construction of new libraries or extensions to existing ones, and the development and implementation of outreach services and reading-enhancement services (such as adult literacy and children's programming).

Standardization


The International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

 (ISO) has published several standards regarding the management of libraries through its Technical Committee 46 (TC 46), which is focused on "libraries, documentation and information centers, publishing, archives, records management, museum documentation, indexing and abstracting services, and information science". The following is a partial list of some of them:
  • ISO 2789:2006 Information and documentation — International library statistics
  • ISO 11620:1998 Information and documentation — Library performance indicators
  • ISO 11799:2003 Information and documentation — Document storage requirements for archive and library materials
  • ISO 14416:2003 Information and documentation — Requirements for binding of books, periodicals, serials and other paper documents for archive and library use — Methods and materials
  • ISO/TR 20983:2003 Information and documentation — Performance indicators for electronic library services


Library use



Patrons may not know how to fully use the library's resources. This can be due to some individuals' unease in approaching a staff member. Ways in which a library's content is displayed or accessed may have the most impact on use. An antiquated or clumsy search system, or staff unwilling or untrained to engage their patrons, will limit a library's usefulness. In United States public libraries
Public library
A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

, beginning in the 19th century, these problems drove the emergence of the library instruction
Library instruction
Library instruction, also called bibliographic instruction , user education and library orientation, consists of "instructional programs designed to teach library users how to locate the information they need quickly and effectively...

 movement, which advocated library user education. One of the early leaders was John Cotton Dana
John Cotton Dana
John Cotton Dana was an American librarian and museum director whose main objective was to make the library relevant to the daily lives of the citizens and to promote the benefits of reading...

. The basic form of library instruction is generally known as information literacy
Information literacy
The National Forum on Information Literacy defines information literacy as “...the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.” This is the most common definition; however,...

.

Libraries inform their users of what materials are available in their collections and how to access that information. Before the computer age, this was accomplished by the card catalog
Library catalog
A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations...

 — a cabinet containing many drawers filled with index card
Index card
An index card consists of heavy paper stock cut to a standard size, used for recording and storing small amounts of discrete data. It was invented by Carl Linnaeus, around 1760....

s that identified books and other materials. In a large library, the card catalog often filled a large room. The emergence of the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, however, has led to the adoption of electronic catalog databases (often referred to as "webcats" or as online public access catalogs, OPACs), which allow users to search the library's holdings from any location with Internet access. This style of catalog maintenance is compatible with new types of libraries, such as digital libraries
Digital library
A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks...

 and distributed libraries
Distributed library
A distributed library is a collection of materials available for borrowing by members of a group, yet not maintained or owned by a single entity. The library catalog is maintained on a database that is made accessible to users through the Internet...

, as well as older libraries that have been retrofitted. Electronic catalog databases are criticized by some who believe that the old card catalog system was both easier to navigate and allowed retention of information, by writing directly on the cards, that is lost in the electronic systems. This argument is analogous to the debate over paper books and e-book
E-book
An electronic book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital...

s. While libraries have been accused of precipitously throwing out valuable information in card catalogs, most modern ones have nonetheless made the move to electronic catalog databases. Large libraries may be scattered within multiple buildings across a town, each having multiple floors, with multiple rooms housing the resources across a series of shelves. Once a user has located a resource within the catalog, they must then use navigational guidance to retrieve the resource physically; a process that may be assisted through signage, maps, GPS systems or RFID tagging.

Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 has the highest number of registered book borrowers per capita in the world. Over half of Finland's population are registered borrowers. In the U.S., public library users have borrowed roughly 15 books per user per year from 1856 to 1978. From 1978 to 2004, book circulation per user declined approximately 50%. The growth of audiovisuals circulation, estimated at 25% of total circulation in 2004, accounts for about half of this decline.

Shift to digital libraries


In recent years, there has been increasing use of the Internet to gather and retrieve data. The shift to digital libraries has greatly impacted the way people use of physical libraries. Between 2002 and 2004, the average American academic library saw the overall number of transactions decline approximately 2.2%. Libraries are trying to keep up with the digital world and the new generation of students that are used to having information just one click away. For example, The University of California Library System saw a 54% decline in circulation between 1991 to 2001 of 8,377,000 books to 3,832,000.

These facts might be a consequence of the increased availability of e-resources. In 1999-2000, 105 ARL university libraries spent almost $100 million on electronic resources, which is an increase of nearly $23 million from the previous year. A 2003 report by the Open E-book Forum found that close to a million e-books had been sold in 2002, generating nearly $8 million in revenue. Another example of the shift to digital libraries can be seen in Cushing Academy’s decision to dispense with its library of printed books — more than 20,000 volumes in all — and switch over entirely to digital media resources.

One claim to why there is a decrease in the usage of libraries stems from the observation of the research habits of undergraduate students enrolled in colleges and universities. There have been claims that college undergraduates have become more used to retrieving information from the Internet than a traditional library. As each generation becomes more in tune with the Internet, their desire to retrieve information as quickly and easily as possible has increased. No doubt finding information by simply searching the Internet is much easier and faster than reading an entire book. In a survey conducted by NetLibrary, 93% of undergraduate students claimed that finding information online makes more sense to them than going to the library. Also, 75% of students surveyed claimed that they did not have enough time to go to the library and that they liked the convenience of the Internet. While the retrieving information from the Internet may be efficient and time saving than visiting a traditional library, research has shown that undergraduates are most likely searching only .03% of the entire web. The information that they are finding might be easy to retrieve and more readily available, but may not be as in depth as information from other resources such as the books available at a physical library.

In the mid 2000s Swedish company Distec invented a library book vending machine known as the GoLibrary
GoLibrary
GoLibrary or Library-a-Go-Go is a book vending machine used by libraries in Sweden and the U.S. state of California...

, that offers library books to people where there is no branch, limited hours, or high traffic locations such as El Cerrito del Norte
El Cerrito del Norte (BART station)
El Cerrito del Norte, frequenly shorterned to del Norte, is one of two BART stations in El Cerrito, California, just east of the Cutting Boulevard interchange of Interstate 80 parallel to San Pablo Avenue and the Ohlone Greenway straddling the Richmond border. Del Norte opened to revenue service on...

 BART station
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Bay Area Rapid Transit is a rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The heavy-rail public transit and subway system connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and suburbs in northern San Mateo County. BART operates five lines on of track with 44 stations in four counties...

 in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

Lists of libraries


See also

  • Library history
    Library history
    Library history is subdiscipline within library science and library and information science focuing on the history of libraries and their role in societies and cultures. There is today a tendency to broadening the field and to speak of information history...


  • American Library Association
    American Library Association
    The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

  • Angus Snead Macdonald
    Angus Snead Macdonald
    Angus Snead Macdonald was an American architect and businessman; from 1915 to 1952 the president of Snead and Company. This company manufactured the cast iron book stacks found in libraries all over the world in the beginning of the 20th century including the Washington DC Public Library and...

  • Archive
    Archive
    An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

  • Bookcase
    Bookcase
    A bookcase, or bookshelf, is a piece of furniture, almost always with horizontal shelves, used to store books. A bookcase consists of a unit including two or more shelves which may not all be used to contain books or other printed materials. Shelves may be fixed or adjustable to different positions...

  • Bookend
    Bookend
    A bookend is an object that is designed to buttress, or support, an upright row of books. It is placed on either end to prevent books from falling over, such as in a half-filled bookshelf. Bookends are both utilitarian and, often, decorative. They are common in libraries and in homes...

  • Carnegie library
    Carnegie library
    A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems...

  • Chinese Library Classification
    Chinese Library Classification
    The Chinese Library Classification , also known as Classification for Chinese Libraries , is effectively the national library classification scheme in China. It is used in almost all primary and secondary schools, universities, academic institutions, as well as public libraries...

     (CLC)
  • Controlled vocabulary
    Controlled vocabulary
    Controlled vocabularies provide a way to organize knowledge for subsequent retrieval. They are used in subject indexing schemes, subject headings, thesauri, taxonomies and other form of knowledge organization systems...

  • Decline of library usage
    Decline of library usage
    As technology becomes increasingly available and digital information expands on a daily basis, academic library use is on the decline. Research libraries on college and university campuses are finding that “gate counts and circulation of traditional materials are falling at many college libraries...

  • Dewey Decimal Classification
    Dewey Decimal Classification
    Dewey Decimal Classification, is a proprietary system of library classification developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876.It has been greatly modified and expanded through 23 major revisions, the most recent in 2011...

  • Digital library
    Digital library
    A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks...

  • Digital reference services
    Digital reference services
    Digital reference is a service by which library reference service is conducted online, and the reference transaction is a computer-mediated communication....

  • Document management system
    Document management system
    A document management system is a computer system used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. It is usually also capable of keeping track of the different versions created by different users . The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management...

  • E-books
  • Federal depository library
    Federal depository library
    The Federal Depository Library Program is a United States program created to make U.S. federal government publications available to the public at no cost. As of June 2008, there are 1,252 depository libraries in the United States and its territories. A "government publication" is defined in the U.S...

  • Friends of Libraries
    Friends of Libraries
    Friends of Libraries USA are non-profit charitable, groups formed to support libraries in their communities. Friends of Libraries groups are often involved in fundraising, advocacy, volunteerism,public awareness campaigns, and literacy programs.-See also:...

  • Green library
    Green library
    Green libraries are a part of the larger green building movement. Also known as sustainable libraries, green libraries are being built all over the world, with many high profile projects bringing the concept into the mainstream. Along with library 2.0, green design is an emerging trend, defining...

  • Harvard-Yenching Classification
    Harvard-Yenching Classification
    Alfred Kaiming Chiu was a pioneer of establishing a library classification system for Chinese language materials in the United States of America. The system devised by him was known as Harvard–Yenching Classification System...

  • Interlibrary loan
    Interlibrary loan
    Interlibrary loan is a service whereby a user of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library...

  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
    International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
    The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is the leading international association of library organisations. It is the global voice of the library and information profession, and its annual conference provides a venue for librarians to learn from one another...

  • Internet Search Engines and Libraries
    Internet search engines and libraries
    Internet Search Engines are a quick and simple way to access information on the World Wide Web. Traditional information providers, such as libraries, have been impacted by the ease with which the public can access information using online search. Search engines provide opportunities for libraries...

  • Librarian
    Librarian
    A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

  • Librarians in popular culture
    Librarians in popular culture
    Stereotypes of librarians in popular culture are frequently negative: librarians are portrayed as puritanical, punitive, unattractive, and introverted if female, or timid, and effeminate if male...


  • Libraries & the Cultural Record
    Libraries & the Cultural Record
    Libraries & the Cultural Record is an academic journal devoted to the study of the creation, organization, preservation, and utilization of libraries, considered as collections of the cultural record in the context of cultural and social history...

  • Library 2.0
    Library 2.0
    Library 2.0 is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users....

  • Library catalog
    Library catalog
    A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations...

  • Library science
    Library science
    Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...

  • Library of Congress Classification
    Library of Congress Classification
    The Library of Congress Classification is a system of library classification developed by the Library of Congress. It is used by most research and academic libraries in the U.S. and several other countries; for example, Australia and Taiwan, R.O.C. It is not to be confused with the Library of...

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings
    Library of Congress Subject Headings
    The Library of Congress Subject Headings comprise a thesaurus of subject headings, maintained by the United States Library of Congress, for use in bibliographic records...

  • Library Services and Construction Act
    Library Services and Construction Act
    The Library Services and Construction Act, enacted in 1962 by the U.S. Congress, provides federal assistance to libraries in the United States for the purpose of improving or implementing library services or undertaking construction projects.-Aim:...

  • Literature
    Literature
    Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

  • Map collection
    Map collection
    A map collection is a storage facility for maps, usually in a library, archive, or museum, or at a map publisher or public authority, and the maps and other cartographic items stored within that facility....

  • Mellon's Theory of Library Anxiety
    Mellon's Theory of Library Anxiety
    In 1986, Constance Mellon, a professor of library science in North Carolina, USA, coined the term "Library Anxiety". She published: "Library anxiety: A grounded theory and its development" in the College & Research Libraries journal and the term subsequently evolved into a widely accepted concept...

  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. The program is a service sponsored by the Library of Congress. People may be eligible for the...

  • Open access (publishing)
  • One Person Library
  • Paper
    Paper
    Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

  • Printmaking
    Printmaking
    Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

  • Public library
    Public library
    A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

  • Public Library of Science
    Public Library of Science
    The Public Library of Science is a nonprofit open-access scientific publishing project aimed at creating a library of open access journals and other scientific literature under an open content license...

  • Research library
    Research library
    A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects . A research library will generally include primary sources as well as secondary sources...

  • Slide library
  • Social Networking and UK Libraries
    Social Networking and UK Libraries
    Libraries in the UK are increasingly engaging with Social networking tools, both as a way of reaching patrons, and as a place where patrons can access social networking sites for their own use. Every public library in the UK provides computers for patrons...

  • Special Libraries Association
    Special Libraries Association
    Special Libraries Association is an international professional association for library and information professionals working in business, government, law, finance, non-profit, and academic organizations and institutions....

  • Special library
    Special library
    A special library is a term for a library that is neither an academic, school, public or national library. Special libraries include law libraries, news libraries, corporate libraries, museum libraries, and medical libraries and are not usually open to the public for use...

  • Tool-lending Libraries


Directories of libraries


Other resources