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On the Nature of Books

Introduction

Not all libraries are alike. They have different purposes and missions and as a result, offer different services, collect different types of material, and focus on a variety of different audiences. Use the links below to explore some of the many types of libraries and their collections.

The Saint John Free Public Library is, as its name implies, a public library in the city of Saint John [New Brunswick]. In fact, it is one of the oldest public libraries in Canada.

Any resident of New Brunswick can apply for a public library card and use it to access a wide variety of print and electronic resources.

The Legislative Library of New Brunswick is physically located in the Legislative Building in the provincial capital of Fredericton, New Brunswick. This Library concentrates on collecting materials which are particularly relevant and useful to the members of the Legislative Assembly including resources relating to New Brunswick social and political issues, and the province's history. Its collection is open to students, researchers, and others.

The Law Society of New Brunswick Libraries are an example of special libraries -- specialized in content, audience and services.

National Libraries

National libraries are funny critters. They all have their own personalities and quirks. The Library of Congress began when Thomas Jefferson donated his personal library. Its mission is "to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations." The Library of Congress offers public access to the American Memory Collection as well as many other digital collections. The British Library adds thousands of items to its collection every year and holds the world's largest collection of patent specifications and conference proceedings. Its Treasures in Full offers free, public access to Shakespeare in Quarto, Caxton's Chaucer, and the Gutenberg Bible. Denmark's Royal Library, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, comprises the National Library of Denmark, National Main Subject Library and University Library for the University of Copenhagen. It serves as the National Deposit Library for publications of international organizations, the Danish Museum of Books and Printing, and the National Archive for manuscripts and archives of Danes of cultural significance.

Contrary to popular belief, not even national libraries have every book published by the publishers from their respective countries. Still, they have amassed a tremendous body of knowledge within their walls, and now on the web, covering a wide variety of subjects from information policy to patents, from music to paintings, from newspapers to personal letters, from business to medicine.

Canada's national library, now called Library and Archives Canada, is no exception. Established by act of Parliament in 1953, it is an institution responsible for "collecting and preserving Canada's published heritage so that it's available for present and future generations of Canadians." Many of its holdings are available for interlibrary loan as a supplement to local collections around the globe.

The LAC holds a wide variety of Canadiana, maintaining such items as the Canadian Music Periodical Index, and offering a number of virtual exhibitions expand and enhance its physical collection. Though it emphasizes Canadian materials, the LAC web site provides an international flavour by offering its services to everyone, not just Canadians.

As do many other national libraries, the LAC has a special relationship with the country's publishing industry. The publishers section of the web site offers materials related to the intricacies of publishing everything from music to books.

For More on Libraries

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Created: 2004/11/21 Last updated: 2017/01/15
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