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A library is a collection of sources of information and similar 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. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items. In Latin and Greek, the idea of a bookcase 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 in Sumer, some dating back to 2600 BC. Private or personal libraries made up of written books 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 of Constantinople and Alexandria.
- 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 questions from users (using structured reference interviews), instructing users, and developing library programming. Reference may be further broken down by user groups or materials; common collections are children's literature, young adult literature, and genealogy 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.
- 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
- Barnard, T. D. F. (ed.) (1967). Library Buildings: design and fulfilment; papers read at the Week-end Conference of the London and Home Counties Branch of the Library Association, held at Hastings, 21st-23 April 1967. London: Library Association (London and Home Counties Branch)
Terry Belanger. Lunacy & the Arrangement of Books, New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Books, 1983; 3rd ptg 2003,
- Bieri, Susanne & Fuchs, Walther (2001). Bibliotheken bauen: Tradition und Vision = Building for Books: traditions and visions. Basel: Birkhäuser
- Ellsworth, Ralph E. (1973). Academic Library Buildings: a guide to architectural issues and solutions. 530 pp. Boulder: Associated University Press
- Fraley, Ruth A. & Anderson, Carol Lee (1985). Library Space Planning: how to assess, allocate, and reorganize collections, resources, and physical facilities. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers
- Irwin, Raymond (1947). The National Library Service [of the United Kingdom]. London: Grafton & Co. x, 96 p.
- Lewanski, Richard C. (1967). Lilbrary Directories [and] Library Science Dictionaries, in Bibliography and Reference Series, no. 4. 1967 ed. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press. N.B.: Publisher also named as the "American Bibliographical Center".
Robert K. Logan with Marshall McLuhan. The Future of the Library: From Electric Media to Digital Media. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
- Mason, Ellsworth (1980). Mason on Library Buildings. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press
- Monypenny, Phillip, and Guy Garrison (1966). The Library Functions of the States [i.e. of the U.S.A.]: Commentary on the Survey of Library Functions of the States, [under the auspices of the] Survey and Standard Committee [of the] American Association of State Libraries. Chicago, Ill.: American Library Association. xiii, 178 p.
- Orr, J. M. (1975). Designing Library Buildings for Activity; 2nd ed. London: Andre Deutsch
- Thompson, Godfrey (1973). Planning and Design of Library Buildings. London: Architectural Press
Herrera-Viedma, E.; Lopez-Gijon, J. (2013). "Libraries' Social Role in the Information Age". Science. 339 (6126): 1382. doi:10.1126/science.339.6126.1382-a.
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