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An academic library is a
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
that is attached to a higher education institution and serves two complementary purposes: to support the curriculum, and to support the research of the university faculty and students. It is unknown how many academic libraries there are worldwide. An academic and research portal maintained by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
links to 3,785 libraries. According to the
National Center for Education Statistics The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the part of the United States Department of Education The United States Department of Education (sometimes shortened to the ED, ED or DoEd) is a United States Cabinet, Cabinet-level depart ...
, there are an estimated 3,700 academic libraries in the United States. In the past, the material for class readings, intended to supplement lectures as prescribed by the instructor, has been called reserves. In the period before electronic resources became available, the reserves were supplied as actual books or as photocopies of appropriate journal articles. Modern academic libraries generally also provide access to electronic resources. Academic libraries must determine a focus for collection development since comprehensive collections are not feasible. Librarians do this by identifying the needs of the faculty and student body, as well as the mission and academic programs of the college or university. When there are particular areas of specialization in academic libraries, these are often referred to as niche collections. These collections are often the basis of a special collection department and may include original papers, artwork, and artifacts written or created by a single author or about a specific subject. There is a great deal of variation among academic libraries based on their size, resources, collections, and services. The
Harvard University Library The Harvard Library is the umbrella organization for the Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success fo ...
is considered to be the largest strict academic library in the world, although the
Danish Royal Library The Royal Library ( da, Det Kongelige Bibliotek) in Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2020, the city had a population of 794,128 with 632,340 in Copenhagen Municipality ...
—a combined
national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...

national
and academic library—has a larger collection. Another notable example is the
University of the South Pacific The University of the South Pacific (USP) is a public research university with locations spread throughout a dozen countries in Oceania. Established in 1968, the university is organised as an intergovernmental organisation and is owned by the g ...
which has academic libraries distributed throughout its twelve member countries. The
University of California The University of California (UC) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university, research university system in the U.S. state of California. The system is composed of the campuses at University of Califor ...
operates the largest academic library system in the world, it manages more than 34 million items in 100 libraries on ten campuses.


History


United States

The first colleges in the United States were intended to train members of the clergy. The libraries associated with these institutions largely consisted of donated books on the subjects of theology and the classics. In 1766,
Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
had approximately 4,000 volumes, second only to
Harvard Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard
. Access to these libraries was restricted to faculty members and a few students: the only staff was a part-time faculty member or the president of the college. The priority of the library was to protect the books, not to allow patrons to use them. In 1849,
Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
was open 30 hours a week, the
University of Virginia The University of Virginia (U.Va. or UVA) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisat ...

University of Virginia
was open nine hours a week,
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of ...

Columbia University
four, and
Bowdoin College Bowdoin College ( ) is a Private college, private liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine, Brunswick, Maine. At the time Bowdoin was chartered, in 1794, Maine was still a part of the Commonwealth of M ...
only three.Budd (1998), p. 34 Students instead created
literary societies A literary society is a group of people interested in literature. In the modern sense, this refers to a society that wants to promote one genre of writing or a specific author. Modern literary societies typically promote research, publish newslet ...
and assessed entrance fees in order to build a small collection of usable volumes often in excess of what the university library held. Around the turn of the century, this approach began to change. The
American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
was formed in 1876, with members including
Melvil Dewey Melville Louis Kossuth "Melvil" Dewey (December 10, 1851 – December 26, 1931) was an influential American librarian and educator, inventor of the Dewey Decimal Classification, Dewey Decimal system of library classification, a founder of the Lake ...

Melvil Dewey
and
Charles Ammi Cutter Charles Ammi Cutter (March 14, 1837 – September 6, 1903) was an American librarian A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made acce ...
. Libraries re-prioritized in favor of improving access to materials, and found funding increasing as a result of increased demand for said materials. Academic libraries today vary in regard to the extent to which they accommodate those who are not affiliated with their parent universities. Some offer reading and borrowing privileges to members of the public on payment of an annual fee; such fees can vary greatly. The privileges so obtained usually do not extend to such services as computer usage, other than to search the catalog, or Internet access. Alumni and students of cooperating local universities may be given discounts or other consideration when arranging for borrowing privileges. On the other hand, access to the libraries of some universities is absolutely restricted to students, faculty, and staff. Even in this case, they may make it possible for others to borrow materials through inter-library loan programs. Libraries of land-grant universities generally are more accessible to the public. In some cases, they are official government document repositories and so are required to be open to the public. Still, members of the public are generally charged fees for borrowing privileges, and usually are not allowed to access everything they would be able to as students.


Canada

Academic libraries in Canada are a relatively recent development in relation to other countries. The very first academic library in Canada was opened in 1789 in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Academic libraries were significantly small during the 19th century and up until the 1950s, when Canadian academic libraries began to grow steadily as a result of greater importance being placed on education and research. The growth of libraries throughout the 1960s was a direct result of many overwhelming factors including inflated student enrollments, increased graduate programs, higher budget allowance, and general advocacy of the importance of these libraries. As a result of this growth and the Ontario New Universities Library Project that occurred during the early 1960s, 5 new universities were established in Ontario that all included fully catalogued collections. The establishment of libraries was widespread throughout Canada and was furthered by grants provided by the Canada Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which sought to enhance library collections. Since many academic libraries were constructed after World War Two, a majority of the Canadian academic libraries that were built before 1940 that have not been updated to modern lighting, air conditioning, etc., are either no longer in use or are on the verge of decline. The total number of college and university libraries increased from 31 in 1959-1960 to 105 in 1969-1970. Following the growth of academic libraries in Canada during the 1960s, there was a brief period of sedation, which was a primary result of some major budgetary issues. These academic libraries were faced with cost issues relating to the recently developed service of interlibrary lending and the high costs of periodicals on acquisition budgets, which affected overall acquisition budgeting and ultimately general collections. Canadian academic libraries faced consistent problems relating to insufficient collections and overall lack of coordination among collections. Academic libraries within Canada might not have flourished or continued to be strengthened without the help of outside organizations. The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) was established in 1967 to promote unity among Canadian academic libraries. The Ontario College and University Library Association (OCULA) is attached to the Ontario Library Association (OLA) and is concerned with representing academic librarians in regards to issues that are shared in the academic library setting.


Modern academic libraries

Academic libraries have transformed in the 21st century to focus less on physical collection development and more on information access and digital resources. Today's academic libraries typically provide access to subscription-based online resources, including research databases and ebook collections, in addition to physical books and journals. Academic libraries also offer space for students to work and study, in groups or individually on "silent floors," and reference and research help services, sometimes including virtual reference services. Some academic libraries lend out technology such as video cameras, iPads, and calculators. To reflect this changing focus, many academic libraries have remodeled as
Learning Commons Learning commons, also known as scholars' commons, information commons or digital commons, are learning spaces, similar to libraries and classrooms that share space for information technology, remote or online education, tutoring, collaboration, con ...
. Academic libraries and learning commons often house tutoring and writing centers and other academic services. A major focus of modern academic libraries is
information literacy The Association of College & Research Libraries The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals. It ...
instruction, with most American academic libraries employing a person or department of people dedicated primarily to instruction. Many academic institutions offer faculty status to librarians, and librarians are often expected to publish research in their field. Academic librarian positions in the United States usually require an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited institution. The
Association of College and Research Libraries The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals. It is dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic ...
is the largest academic library organization in the United States.


See also

*
Academic journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of w ...
*
Google Scholar and academic libraries Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine A search engine is a software system A software system is a system of intercommunicating software component, components based on forming part of a computer system (a combination of Compu ...
* Internet search engines and libraries *
Research library A research library is a library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs o ...
*
Research Libraries GroupThe Research Libraries Group (RLG) was a U.S.-based library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or electroni ...
*
Research Libraries UK Research Libraries UK (RLUK) (formerly CURL) comprises 32 university libraries, 3 national libraries A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, public ...
*
Library assessmentLibrary assessment is a process undertaken by libraries to learn about the needs of users (and non-users) and to evaluate how well they support these needs, in order to improve library facilities, services and resources. In many libraries successful ...
*
Trends in library usage With over 17,000 libraries A library is a curated 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 ...


Notes and references


Further reading

* Bazillion, Richard J. & Braun, Connie (1995) ''Academic Libraries as High-tech Gateways: a guide to design and space decisions''. Chicago: American Library Association *--do.-- --do.-- 2nd ed. --do.-- 2001
Jürgen Beyer, « Comparer les bibliothèques universitaires », ''Arbido newsletter'' 2012:8
* Ellsworth, Ralph E. (1973) ''Academic library buildings: a guide to architectural issues and solutions'' 530 pp. Boulder: Associated University Press * Giustini, Dean (2011, 3 May) Canadian academic libraries' use of social media, 2011 update eb log post Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20110512080605/http://blogs.ubc.ca/dean/2011/05/canadian-academic-libraries-use-of-social-media-2011-update/ *Hamlin, Arthur T. (1981). ''The University Library in the United States: Its Origins and Development.'' Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. *Hunt, C. J. (1993) "Academic library planning in the United Kingdom", in: ''British Journal of Academic Librarianship''; vol. 8 (1993), pp. 3–16 *Shiflett, Orvin Lee (1981). ''Origins of American Academic Librarianship.'' Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Pub. Corp. * Taylor, Sue, ed. (1995) ''Building libraries for the information age: based on the proceedings of a symposium on The Future of Higher Educational Libraries at the King's Manor, York 11–12 April 1994''. York: Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, University of York {{DEFAULTSORT:Academic Library Types of library