A Library For All: Types of Libraries

There are thousands of libraries worldwide, each serving its community as well as it can. Some are massive, like the Library of Congress, and others are small, like the Lake Odessa Public Library. There are old academic libraries like the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, and specialty libraries like The College Of Physicians Of Philadelphia: The Historical Medical Library.

According to LISedunetwork.com, the four types of libraries are as follows:

  1. Academic Library
  • According to the ALA website, Academic libraries “serve colleges and universities, their students, staff, and faculty.”
  • Their librarians are involved in the following tasks regularly:
    • “Consult with individuals in analyzing, identifying, and fulfilling their information needs
    • Create campus-wide information literacy programs and deliver classroom instruction to strengthen information literacy skills.
    • Select, organize, and facilitate access to information in a variety of formats.
    • Keep abreast of technological advancements and develop strategies to take advantage of them.
    • Plan, implement, and administer computer-based systems, electronic databases design and manage Web sites.
    • Collaborate with classroom faculty, computer specialists, and instructional developers.
    • Contribute to effective teamwork among colleagues.
    • Participate in and lead public relations efforts to promote and raise funds for academic libraries.”
  1. Special Library
  • According to com, a special library “serves a particular group of people, such as the employees of a firm or government department, or the staff and members of a professional or research organization. Such a library deals essentially in information (Krishan Kumar; 1987; 72).”
  1. Public Library
  • According to the public library page of com, public libraries are “social institutions established by law, financed by a public fund, open for all without any discrimination, for general and free diffusion of knowledge and information in the community. It is the obligation of the government to establish a public library system throughout the country at national, state, and local levels. Besides this, the rural and suburban areas should also be covered by branch and mobile libraries.”
  • It serves as an educational, informational, and socio-economic leveling hub of community endeavors and wellness.
  1. National Library
  • Best defined by IFLA as “the guardians of a country’s national cultural heritage. They collect, preserve and make available a country’s history to all of its citizens and open a window on that country to people all over the world.”
  • As we know from my posts about Ukrainian libraries, these institutions are supposed to be protected from war and attacks by international law.

By Gretchen Hendrick Gardella, MLIS

Gretchen Hendrick Gardella is a Librarian with administrative, research, and vast technical skills. Ms. Gardella brings over 16 years of experience working in academic and public libraries to the discussion.