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library (from French "librairie"; Latin "liber" = book) is an organized collection of resources made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both.[1] A library's collection can include booksperiodicalsnewspapersmanuscriptsfilms,mapsprintsdocumentsmicroformCDscassettesvideotapesDVDse-booksaudiobooksdatabases, and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items. In Latin and Greek, the idea ofbookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē (Greek: βιβλιοθήκη): derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.

The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing - the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered inSumer, some dating back to 2600 BC. These written archives mark the end of prehistory and the start of history. The earliest discovered private archives were kept at Ugarit. There is also evidence of libraries at Nippur about 1900 BC and atNineveh about 700 BC showing a library classification system. Private or personal libraries made up of written books (as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives) appeared in classical Greece in the 5th century BC. In the 6th century, at the very close of the Classical period, the great libraries of the Mediterranean world remained those ofConstantinople and Alexandria. From the 15th century in central and northern Italy, libraries of humanists and their enlightened patrons provided a nucleus around which an "academy" of scholars congregated in each Italian city of consequence. Tianyi Chamber, founded in 1561 by Fan Qin during the Ming Dynasty, is the oldest existing library in China. In its heyday it boasted a collection of 70,000 volumes of antique books. The first library classification system was set up during the Han Dynasty. In North America, it is believed that personal collections of books were brought over to the continent by French settlers in the 16th century. The oldest non-personal library on the North American continent was founded at The Jesuit College in Quebec City in 1635. The first textbook on library science was published 1808 by Martin Schrettinger.[2]

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 librarians who are experts at finding and organizing information and at interpreting information needs. Libraries often provide quiet areas for studying, and they also often offer common areas to facilitate group study and collaboration. Libraries often provide public facilities for access to their electronic resources and the Internet. Modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information 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 very large amounts of information with a variety of digital tools.

library (from French "librairie"; Latin "liber" = book) is an organized collection of resources made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both.[1] A library's collection can include booksperiodicalsnewspapersmanuscriptsfilms,mapsprintsdocumentsmicroformCDscassettesvideotapesDVDse-booksaudiobooksdatabases, and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items. In Latin and Greek, the idea ofbookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē (Greek: βιβλιοθήκη): derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.

The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing - the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered inSumer, some dating back to 2600 BC. These written archives mark the end of prehistory and the start of history. The earliest discovered private archives were kept at Ugarit. There is also evidence of libraries at Nippur about 1900 BC and atNineveh about 700 BC showing a library classification system. Private or personal libraries made up of written books (as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives) appeared in classical Greece in the 5th century BC. In the 6th century, at the very close of the Classical period, the great libraries of the Mediterranean world remained those ofConstantinople and Alexandria. From the 15th century in central and northern Italy, libraries of humanists and their enlightened patrons provided a nucleus around which an "academy" of scholars congregated in each Italian city of consequence. Tianyi Chamber, founded in 1561 by Fan Qin during the Ming Dynasty, is the oldest existing library in China. In its heyday it boasted a collection of 70,000 volumes of antique books. The first library classification system was set up during the Han Dynasty. In North America, it is believed that personal collections of books were brought over to the continent by French settlers in the 16th century. The oldest non-personal library on the North American continent was founded at The Jesuit College in Quebec City in 1635. The first textbook on library science was published 1808 by Martin Schrettinger.[2]

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 librarians who are experts at finding and organizing information and at interpreting information needs. Libraries often provide quiet areas for studying, and they also often offer common areas to facilitate group study and collaboration. Libraries often provide public facilities for access to their electronic resources and the Internet. Modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information 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 very large amounts of information with a variety of digital tools.

Renaissance

Reading room of the Laurentian Library

From the 15th century in central and northern Italy, libraries of humanists and their enlightened patrons provided a nucleus around which an "academy" of scholars congregated in each Italian city of consequence.
Malatesta Novellolord of Cesena, founded the Malatestiana Library.
Cosimo de Medici in Florence established his own collection, which formed the basis of the Laurentian Library.[26]
In Rome, the papal collections were brought together by Pope Nicholas V, in separate Greek and Latin libraries, and housed by Pope Sixtus IV, who consigned the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana to the care of his librarian, the humanist Bartolomeo Platina in February 1475.[27] In the 16th century Sixtus V bisected Bramante's Cortile del Belvedere with a cross-wing to house the Apostolic Library in suitable magnificence.
The 16th and 17th centuries saw other privately endowed libraries assembled in Rome: the Vallicelliana, formed from the books of SaintFilippo Neri, with other distinguished libraries such as that of Cesare Baronio, the Biblioteca Angelica founded by the Augustinian Angelo Rocca, which was the only truly public library in Counter-Reformation Rome; the Biblioteca Alessandrina with which Pope Alexander VIIendowed the University of Rome; the Biblioteca Casanatense of the Cardinal Girolamo Casanate; and finally the Biblioteca Corsiniana founded by the bibliophile Clement XII Corsini and his nephew Cardinal Neri Corsini, still housed in Palazzo Corsini in via della Lungara.
The Republic of Venice patronized the foundation of the Biblioteca Marciana, based on the library of Cardinal Basilios Bessarion.
In Milan Cardinal Federico Borromeo founded the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

This trend soon spread outside of Italy, for example Louis III, Elector Palatine founded the Bibliotheca Palatina of Heidelberg.

These libraries don't have so many volumes as the modern libraries. However, they keep many valuable manuscripts of Greek, Latin and Biblical works.

Tianyi Chamber, founded in 1561 by Fan Qin during the Ming Dynasty, is the oldest existing library in China. In its heyday it boasted a collection of 70,000 volumes of antique books.

[edit]17th and 18th centuries

Załuski Library, Warsaw

The 17th and 18th centuries include what is known as a golden age of libraries;[28] during this some of the more important libraries were founded in Europe, such as the Bodleian Library at Oxford, the British Museum Library in London, the Mazarine Library and theBibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, the Austrian National Library in Vienna, the National Central Library in Florence, the Prussian State Library in Berlin, the Załuski Library in Warsaw and the M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library of St Petersburg.[29]

The 18th century is considered to be an advancement to all cultural developments in library history, and it is at this time that we see the beginning of the functional library. In France, the French Revolution saw the confiscation in 1789 of church libraries and rich nobles' private libraries, and their collections became state property. The confiscated stock became part of a new national library – theBibliothèque Nationale. Two famous librarians, Hubert-Pascal Ameilhon and Joseph Van Praet, selected and identified over 300,000 books and manuscripts that became the property of the people in the Bibliothèque Nationale.[30] During the French Revolution, librarians were solely responsible for the bibliographic planning of the nation. Out of this came the implementation of the concept of library service – the democratic extension of library services to the general public regardless of wealth or education.[30]

[edit]Types

Many institutions make a distinction between a circulating or lending library, where materials are expected and intended to be loaned to patrons, institutions, or other libraries, and a reference library where material is not lent out. Modern libraries are often a mixture of both, containing a general collection for circulation, and a reference collection which is restricted to the library premises. Also, increasingly, digital collections enable broader access to material that may not circulate in print.

[edit]National libraries

National Library of Wales

national or state library serves as a national repository of information, and has the right of legal deposit, which is a legal requirement that publishers in the country need to deposit a copy of each publication with the library. Unlike a public library, they rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works. There are wider definitions of a national library, putting less emphasis to the repository character.[31][32] Many national libraries cooperate within the National Libraries Section of theInternational Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to discuss their common tasks, define and promote common standards and carry out projects helping them to fulfil their duties. National libraries of Europe participate in The European Library. This is a service of The Conference of European National Librarians (CENL). The first national libraries had their origins in the royal collections of the sovereign or some other supreme body of the state.

[edit]Research libraries

A research library contains an in-depth collection of material on one or more subjects.[33] A research library supports scholarly research and will generally include primary as well as secondary sources; it will maintain permanent collections and attempt to provide access to all necessary material. A research library is most often an academic or national library, but a large special library may have a research library within its special field and a very few of the largest public libraries also serve as research libraries. A large university library may be considered a research library; and in North America they may belong to the Association of Research Libraries.[34]

A research library can be either a reference library, which does not lend its holdings, or a lending library, which does lend all or some of its holdings. Some extremely large or traditional research libraries are entirely reference in this sense, lending none of their material; most academic research libraries, at least in the U.S., now lend books, but not periodicals or other material.

[edit]Reference libraries

A reference library does not lend books and other items; instead, they must be read at the library itself. Typically such libraries are used for research purposes, for example at a university. Some items at reference libraries may be historical and even unique. Examples of reference libraries include the British Library in London and the Bodleian Library atOxford University. Many libraries contain a "reference section", which holds books, such as dictionaries, which are common reference books, and are therefore not lent out.[35] Such references sections may be referred to as "reading rooms", which may also include newspapers and periodicals.[36]

Quaid-e-Azam Library in Bagh-e-Jinnah.

[edit]Public lending libraries

The public library of Police, Poland
A community library in Ethiopia

A public library provides services to the general public and usually makes at least some of its books available for borrowing. 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.

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 in GranthamLincolnshire, 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 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.[37] This finally marks the start of the public library as we know it. And these acts influenced similar laws in other countries, most notably the U.S. The first tax-supported public library in the United States was Peterborough, New Hampshire (1833) first supported by state funds then an "Act Providing for the Establishment of Public Libraries" in 1849.[38]

1876 is a well known year in the history of librarianship in the United States. The American Library Association was formed, as well as The American Library JournalMelvil Dewey 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 clubs. 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 Endowment founded in the 20th century.[39] They led the establishment of 75–80 percent of the libraries in communities across the country.[40]

In 1979 and 1991 White House Conferences on Library and Information Services were held to demonstrate the key role libraries play in American Democracy.[41]

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.[42] Dewey's classification system, although under heavy criticism of late,[citation needed] 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 and steel 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 had a huge impact on how the library operated. 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.

In China, there were 2,925 public libraries in 2011.[43]

Library 2.0, 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 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.[44] 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.

[edit]Academic libraries

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