Public library
Overview
A public library is a library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 that is accessible by the public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 and is generally funded from public sources (such as tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 money) and operated by civil servant
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

s. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries. The first is that they are supported by taxes (usually local, though any level of government can and may contribute); they are governed by a board to serve the public interest; they are open to all and every community member can access the collection; they are entirely voluntary in that no one is ever forced to use the services provided; and public libraries provide basic services without charge.

Public libraries exist in many countries across the world and are often considered an essential part of having an educated and literate population.
Encyclopedia
A public library is a library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 that is accessible by the public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 and is generally funded from public sources (such as tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 money) and operated by civil servant
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

s. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries. The first is that they are supported by taxes (usually local, though any level of government can and may contribute); they are governed by a board to serve the public interest; they are open to all and every community member can access the collection; they are entirely voluntary in that no one is ever forced to use the services provided; and public libraries provide basic services without charge.

Public libraries exist in many countries across the world and are often considered an essential part of having an educated and literate population. Public libraries are distinct from research libraries
Research library
A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects . A research library will generally include primary sources as well as secondary sources...

, school libraries
School library
A school library is a library within a school where students, staff, and often, parents of a public or private school have access to a variety of resources...

, and other special libraries
Special Libraries Association
Special Libraries Association is an international professional association for library and information professionals working in business, government, law, finance, non-profit, and academic organizations and institutions....

 in that their mandate is to serve the general public's information needs (rather than the needs of a particular school, institution, or research population). Public Libraries also provide free services such as preschool story times to encourage early literacy, or book clubs to encourage appreciation of literature in adults. Public libraries typically allow users to take books and other materials off the premises temporarily; they also have non-circulating reference
Reference
Reference is derived from Middle English referren, from Middle French rèférer, from Latin referre, "to carry back", formed from the prefix re- and ferre, "to bear"...

 collections and provide computer and Internet access to patrons.

"The public library is an excellent model of government at its best. A locally controlled public good, it serves every individual freely, in as much or as little depth as he or she wants."

Services offered

In addition to print book
Book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...

s and periodicals, most public libraries today have a wide array of other media including audiobooks, e-books, CD
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

s, cassettes, videotape
Videotape
A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram...

s, DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s, and video games, as well as facilities to access the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 and inter-library loans (borrowing items from other libraries). Readers' advisory is a fundamental public library service that involves suggesting fiction and nonfiction titles (often called "readalikes").

Public libraries may also provide other services, such as community meeting rooms, storytelling sessions for infants, toddlers, preschool children, or after-school programs, all with an intention of developing early literacy skills and a love of books. In person and on-line programs for reader development, language learning, homework help, free lectures and cultural performances, and other community service programs are common offerings. One of the most popular programs offered in public libraries are summer reading programs for children, families, and adults. In rural areas, the local public library may have, in addition to its main branch, a mobile library
Bookmobile
A bookmobile or mobile library is a large vehicle designed for use as a library. It is designed to hold books on shelves so that when the vehicle is parked the books can be accessed by readers. It usually has enough space for people to sit and read books inside. Mobile libraries are often used to...

 service, consisting of one or more buses furnished as a small public library, serving the countryside according to a regular schedule.

Public libraries also provide materials for children, often housed in a special section. Child oriented websites with on-line educational games and programs specifically designed for younger library users are becoming increasingly popular. Services may be provided for other groups, such as large print or Braille
Braille
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two...

 materials, Books on tape, young adult literature
Young adult literature
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature , also juvenile fiction, is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The Young Adult Library Services of the American Library Association defines a young adult as "someone between the...

 and other materials for teenagers, or materials in other than the national language (in foreign languages).

California and Nevada now offer a new service called Link+. This new program links county libraries across the two states, allowing patrons access to books their library may not have in their collection.

Librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

s at most public libraries provide reference and research help to the general public, usually at a reference desk but can often be done by telephone interview. As online discussion
Online discussion
Online discussion is a relatively new form of communication, facilitated usually by computer networks. The first such communications were on mainframe-based systems such as the PLATO and CONFER systems in the early to mid 1970s. By the mid 1980's, dial-up bulletin board systems or "BBS's" run by...

 and social networking allow for remote access, reference is becoming available virtually through the use of the Internet and e-mail
E-mail
Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

. Depending on the size of the library, there may be more than one desk; at some smaller libraries all transactions may occur at one desk, while large urban public libraries may employ subject-specialist librarians with the ability to staff multiple reference or information desks to answer queries about particular topics at any time during regular operating hours. Often the children's section in a public library has its own reference desk.

Public libraries are also increasingly making use of web 2.0 services, including the use of online social network
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

s by libraries.

Public libraries in some countries pay authors when their books are borrowed from libraries. These are known as Public Lending Right
Public Lending Right
A Public Lending Right program, is a program intended to either compensate authors for the potential loss of sales from their works being available in public libraries, or as a governmental support of the arts, through support of works available in public libraries, such as books, music and...

 program.

Digital divide


As more commercial and governmental services are being provided online (e-commerce and e-government), public libraries increasingly provide Internet access for users who otherwise would not be able to connect to these services.

Part of the public library mission has become attempting to help bridge the digital divide
Digital divide
The Digital Divide refers to inequalities between individuals, households, business, and geographic areas at different socioeconomic levels in access to information and communication technologies and Internet connectivity and in the knowledge and skills needed to effectively use the information...

. A study conducted in 2006 found that "72.5 percent of library branches report that they are the only provider of free public computer and Internet access in their communities". A 2008 study found that "100 percent of rural, high poverty outlets provide public Internet access, a significant increase from 85.7 percent last year".

The American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

 (ALA), addresses this role of libraries as part of "access to information" and "equity of access"; part of the profession's ethical commitment that "no one should be denied information because he or she cannot afford the cost of a book or periodical, have access to the internet or information in any of its various formats."

In addition to access, many public libraries offer training and support to computer users. Once access has been achieved, there still remains a large gap in people's online abilities and skills. For many communities, the public library is the only agency offering free computer classes and information technology learning. As of 2008, 73.4 percent of public libraries offered information technology training of some form, including information literacy skills and homework assignment help. A significant service provided by public libraries is assisting people with e-government access and use of federal, state and local government information, forms and services.

Internationally, public libraries offer information and communication technology
Information and communication technologies
Information and communications technology or information and communication technology, usually abbreviated as ICT, is often used as an extended synonym for information technology , but is usually a more general term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of...

 (ICT) services, giving "access to information and knowledge" the "highest priority." While different countries and areas of the world have their own requirements, general services offered include free connection to the Internet, training in using the Internet, and relevant content in appropriate languages. In addition to typical public library financing, non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

s (NGOs) and business fund services that assist public libraries in combating the digital divide.

Origins as a social institution

The culmination of centuries of advances in the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, moveable type, paper, ink, publishing
Publishing
Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information—the activity of making information available to the general public...

, and distribution
Distribution (business)
Product distribution is one of the four elements of the marketing mix. An organization or set of organizations involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user.The other three parts of the marketing mix are product, pricing,...

, combined with an ever growing middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

, increased commercial activity and consumption, new radical ideas, massive population growth and higher literacy rates forged the public library into the form that it is today. Public libraries are not a new idea; Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 made scrolls in dry rooms available to patrons of the baths, and tried with some success to establish libraries within the empire. Naturally, only those few that could afford an education would be able to use the library, where those less than rich or without control of money; women, children and slaves could not. In the middle of the 19th century, the push for truly public libraries, paid for by taxes and run by the state gained force after numerous depressions, droughts, wars and revolutions in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, felt mostly by the working class. Matthew Battles states that:
"It was in these years of class conflict and economic terror that the public library movement swept through Britain, as the nation's progressive elite recognized that the light of cultural and intellectual energy was lacking in the lives of commoners".

Libraries had often been started with a donation, an endowment or were bequeathed to various, parishes, churches, schools or towns, and these social and institutional libraries formed the base of many academic and public library collections of today. Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

 had the biggest influence in financing libraries in the United States of America, from the east to west coast. From just 1900 to 1917, almost 1,700 libraries were constructed by Carnegie's foundation, insisting that local communities first guarantee tax support of each library built.

The establishment of circulating libraries by booksellers and publishers provided a means of gaining profit and creating social centers within the community. The circulating libraries not only provided a place to sell books, but also a place to lend books for a price. These circulating libraries provided a variety of materials including the increasingly popular novels. Although the circulating libraries filled an important role in society, members of the middle and upper classes often looked down upon these libraries that regularly sold material from their collections and provided materials that were less sophisticated. Circulating libraries also charged a subscription fee, however the fees were set to entice their patrons, providing subscriptions on a yearly, quarterly or monthly basis, without expecting the subscribers to purchase a share in the circulating library.

Circulating libraries were not exclusively lending institutions and often provided a place for other forms of commercial activity, which may or may not be related to print. This was necessary because the circulating libraries did not generate enough funds through subscription fees collected from its borrowers. As a commerce venture, it was important to consider the contributing factors such as other goods or services available to the subscribers.

Many claims have been made for the title of "first public library" for various libraries in various countries, with at least some of the confusion arising from differing interpretations of what should be considered a true "public library". Difficulties in establishing what policies were in effect at different times in the history of particular libraries also add to the confusion.

The first libraries open to the public were the collections of Greek and Latin scroll
Scroll
A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

s which were available in the dry sections of the many buildings that made up the huge Roman baths of the Roman empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. However, they were not lending libraries.

The "halls of science" run by different Islamic sects in many cities of North Africa and the Middle East in the 9th century were open to the public. Some of them had written lending policies, but they were very restrictive. Most patrons were expected to consult the books on site.

The later European university libraries were not open to the general public, but accessible by scholars.

United Kingdom

The earliest public library in England was established at the London Guildhall
Guildhall Library
The Guildhall Library is administered by the Corporation of London, the government of the City of London, which is the historical heart of London, England. It was founded in the 1420s under the terms of the will of Lord Mayor Dick Whittington...

 in 1425.

17th century

In the early years of the 17th century, many famous collegiate and town libraries were founded throughout the country. Francis Trigge Chained Library
Francis Trigge Chained Library
Francis Trigge Chained Library is a library in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England which was founded in 1598.In 1598 Francis Trigge, Rector of Welbourne in Lincolnshire, arranged for a library to be set up in the room over the South Porch of St. Wulfram's Church, Grantham for the use of the clergy and...

 of St. Wulfram's Church, Grantham
Grantham
Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the East Coast Main Line railway , the historic A1 main north-south road, and the River Witham. Grantham is located approximately south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately east of Nottingham...

, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

 was founded in 1598 by the rector of nearby Welbourne. Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

 City library was established in 1608 (six years after Thomas Bodley
Thomas Bodley
Sir Thomas Bodley was an English diplomat and scholar, founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.-Biography:...

 founded the Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library , the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library...

, which was open to the "whole republic of the learned" and 145 years before the foundation of the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

), and Chetham's Library
Chetham's Library
Chetham's Library in Manchester, England is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom. Chetham's Hospital, which contains both the library and Chetham's School of Music, was established in 1653 under the will of Humphrey Chetham , for the education of "the sons of honest,...

 in Manchester, which claims to be the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, opened in 1653. Other early town libraries of the UK include those of Ipswich
Ipswich
Ipswich is a large town and a non-metropolitan district. It is the county town of Suffolk, England. Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell...

 (1612), Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 (founded in 1613 and opened in 1615), and Leicester
Leicester
Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

 (1632). Shrewsbury School also opened its library to townsfolk.

In Bristol, an early library that allowed access to the public was that of the Kalendars or Kalendaries, a brotherhood of clergy and laity who were attached to the Church of All-Hallowen or All Saints. Records show that in 1464, provision was made for a library to be erected in the house of the Kalendars, and reference is made to a deed of that date by which it was "appointed that all who wish to enter for the sake of instruction shall have 'free access and recess' at certain times".

Early 18th century

At the turn of the 18th century, libraries were becoming increasingly public and were more frequently lending libraries. The 18th century saw the switch from closed parochial libraries to lending libraries. Before this time, public libraries were parochial in nature and libraries frequently chained their books to desks. Libraries also were not uniformly open to the public. In 1790, The Public Library Act would not be passed for another sixty-seven years. Even though the British Museum existed at this time and contained over 50,000 books, the national library was not open to the public, or even to a majority of the population. Access to the Museum depended on passes, of which there was sometimes a waiting period of three to four weeks. Moreover, the library was not open to browsing. Once a pass to the library had been issued, the reader was taken on a tour of the library. Many readers complained that the tour was much too short. At the turn of the century, there were virtually no public libraries in the sense in which we now understand the term i.e. libraries provided from public funds and freely accessible to all. Only one important library in Great Britain, namely Chetham's Library
Chetham's Library
Chetham's Library in Manchester, England is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom. Chetham's Hospital, which contains both the library and Chetham's School of Music, was established in 1653 under the will of Humphrey Chetham , for the education of "the sons of honest,...

 in Manchester, was fully and freely accessible to the public. However, there had come into being a whole network of library provision on a private or institutional basis. Subscription libraries, both private and commercial, provided the middle and middle to upper class with a variety of books for moderate fees.

The increase in secular literature at this time encouraged the spread of lending libraries, especially the commercial subscription libraries. Commercial subscription libraries began when booksellers began renting out extra copies of books in the mid-18th century. Steven Fischer estimates that in 1790, there were 'about six hundred rental and lending libraries, with a clientele of some fifty thousand. The mid to late 18th century saw a virtual epidemic of feminine reading as novels became more and more popular. Novels, while frowned upon in society, were extremely popular. In England there were many who lamented at the 'villanous profane and obscene books' and the opposition to the circulating library, on moral grounds, persisted well into the 19th century. Still, many establishments must have circulated many times the number of novels as of any other genre. In 1797, Thomas Wilson wrote in The Use of Circulating Libraries: "Consider, that for a successful circulating library, the collection must contain 70% fiction". However, the overall percentage of novels mainly depended on the proprietor of the circulating library. While some circulating libraries were almost completely novels, others had less than 10% of their overall collection in the form of novels. The national average at the turn of the century hovered around novels comprising about 20% of the total collection. Novels varied from other types of books in many ways. They were read primarily for enjoyment instead of for study. They did not provide academic knowledge or spiritual guidance; thus they were read quickly and far fewer times than other books. These were the perfect books for commercial subscription libraries to lend. Since books were read for pure enjoyment rather than for scholarly work, books needed to become both cheaper and smaller. Small duodecimo editions of books were preferred to the large folio editions. Folio editions were read at a desk, while the small duodecimo editions could be easily read like the paperbacks of today. Much like paperbacks of today, many of the novels in circulating libraries were unbound. At this period of time, many people chose to bind their books in leather. Many circulating libraries skipped this process. Circulating libraries were not in the business of preserving books; their owners wanted to lend books as many times as they possibly could. Circulating libraries had ushered in a completely new way of reading. Reading was no longer simply an academic pursuit or an attempt to gain spiritual guidance. Reading became a social activity. Many circulating libraries were attached to the shops of milliners or drapers. They served as much for social gossip and the meeting of friends as coffee shops do today.

Another factor in the growth of subscription libraries was the increasing cost of books. In the last two decades of the century, especially, prices were practically doubled, so that a quarto work cost a guinea
Guinea (British coin)
The guinea is a coin that was minted in the Kingdom of England and later in the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom between 1663 and 1813...

, an octavo
Octavo
Octavo to is a technical term describing the format of a book.Octavo may also refer to:* Octavo is a grimoire in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett...

 10 shillings or 12 shillings, and a duodecimo cost 4 shilling
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

s per volume. Price apart, moreover, books were difficult to procure outside London, since local booksellers could not afford to carry large stocks. Commercial libraries, since they were usually associated with booksellers, and also since they had a greater number of patrons, were able to accumulate greater numbers of books. The United Public Library was said to have a collection of some 52,000 volumes-–twice as many as any private subscription library in the country at that period. These libraries, since they functioned as a business, also lent books to non-subscribers on a per-book system.

Private subscription libraries

Private subscription libraries functioned in much the same manner as commercial subscription libraries, though they varied in many important ways. One of the most popular versions of the private subscription library was a gentleman's only library. The gentlemen's subscription libraries, sometimes known as proprietary libraries, were nearly all organized on a common pattern. Membership was restricted to the proprietors or shareholders, and ranged from a dozen or two to between four and five hundred. The entrance fee, i.e. the purchase price of a share, was in early days usually a guinea, but rose sharply as the century advanced, often reaching four or five guineas during the French wars; the annual subscription, during the same period, rose from about six shillings to ten shillings or more. The book-stock was, by modern standards, small (Liverpool, with over 8,000 volumes in 1801, seems to have been the largest), and was accommodated, at the outset, in makeshift premises–-very often over a bookshop, with the bookseller acting as librarian and receiving an honorarium for his pains. The Liverpool Subscription library
Subscription library
A subscription library is a library that is financed by private funds either from membership fees or endowments...

 was a gentlemen only library. In 1798, it was renamed the Athenaeum when it was rebuilt with a newsroom and coffeehouse. It had an entrance fee of one guinea and annual subscription of five shillings. While no records survive of the commercial library lendings, we have the Bristol Library's continuous record of borrowings ( in seventy-seven folio volumes) from 1773 to 1857. An analysis of the registers for the first twelve years provides some fascinating glimpses of middle-class reading habits in a mercantile community at this period. The largest and most popular sections of the library were History, Antiquities, and Geography, with 283 titles and 6,121 borrowings, and Belles Lettres, with 238 titles and 3,313 borrowings. Far below came Theology and Ecclesiastical History, Natural History and Chemistry, Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Miscellanies, Mathematics, etc., and Medicine and Anatomy, all with fewer than 100 titles. The most popular single work was John Hawkesworth's Account of Voyages ... in the Southern Hemisphere (3 vols) which was borrowed on 201 occasions. The records also show that in 1796, membership had risen by 1/3 to 198 subscribers (of whom 5 were women) and the titles increased five-fold to 4,987. This mirrors the increase in reading interests. A patron list from the Bath Municipal Library shows that from 1793 to 1799, the library held a stable 30% of their patrons as female.

It was also uncommon for these libraries to have buildings designated solely as the library building during the 1790s, though in the 19th century, many libraries would begin building elaborate permanent residences. Bristol, Birmingham, and Liverpool were the few libraries with their own building. The accommodations varied from the shelf for a few dozen volumes in the country stationer's or draper's shop, to the expansion to a back room, to the spacious elegant areas of Hookham's or those at the resorts like Scarborough, and four in a row at Margate.

Private subscription libraries held a greater amount of control over both membership and the types of books in the library. There was almost a complete elimination of cheap fiction in the private societies. Subscription libraries prided themselves on respectability. The highest percentage of subscribers were often landed proprietors, gentry, and old professions.

Towards the end of the 18th century and in the first decades of the nineteenth the need for books and general education made itself felt among social classes created by the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. The late 18th century saw a rise in subscription libraries intended for the use of tradesmen. In 1797, there was established at Kendal what was known as the Economical Library, "designed principally for the use and instruction of the working classes." There was also the Artizans' library established at Birmingham in 1799. The entrance fee was 3 shillings. The subscription was 1 shilling 6 pence per quarter. This was a library of general literature. Novels, at first excluded, were afterwards admitted on condition that they did not account for more than one-tenth of the annual income.

Rate-supported libraries

Although by the mid-19th century, England could claim 274 subscription libraries
Subscription library
A subscription library is a library that is financed by private funds either from membership fees or endowments...

 and Scotland, 266, the foundation of the modern public library system in the UK is the Public Libraries Act 1850
Public Libraries Act 1850
The Public Libraries Act 1850 was an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which first gave local boroughs the power to establish free public libraries...

. Prior to this, the municipalities of Warrington
Warrington
Warrington is a town, borough and unitary authority area of Cheshire, England. It stands on the banks of the River Mersey, which is tidal to the west of the weir at Howley. It lies 16 miles east of Liverpool, 19 miles west of Manchester and 8 miles south of St Helens...

 and Salford established libraries in their museums, under the terms of the Museums Act of 1845
Museums Act 1845
The Museums Act 1845 was an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which gave the town councils of larger municipal boroughs the power to establish museums.-Historical background:...

.Warrington Municipal Library opened in 1848. Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Salford Museum and Art Gallery, in Peel Park, Salford, Greater Manchester, first opened to the public in November 1850 as the "Royal Museum & Public Library". One of the most important appreciation is that it serves as the first public library in the UK to provide free access to people...

 first opened in November 1850 as "The Royal Museum & Public Library", as the first unconditionally free public library in England. The library in Campfield
Castlefield
Castlefield is an inner city area of Manchester, in North West England. The conservation area which bears its name is bounded by the River Irwell, Quay Street, Deansgate and the Chester Road. It was the site of the Roman era fort of Mamucium or Mancunium which gave its name to Manchester...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 was the first library to operate a free lending library without subscription in 1852. Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

 lays claims to being the first municipality to adopt the Public Libraries Act 1850 (which allowed any municipal borough with a population of 100,000 or more to introduce a halfpenny rate to establish public libraries—although not to buy books), but theirs was the eleventh library to open, in 1857, being the eleventh in the country after Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, Bolton
Bolton
Bolton is a town in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. Close to the West Pennine Moors, it is north west of the city of Manchester. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the...

, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
Kidderminster is a town, in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately seventeen miles south-west of Birmingham city centre and approximately fifteen miles north of Worcester city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town...

, Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, Birkenhead
Birkenhead
Birkenhead is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in Merseyside, England. It is on the Wirral Peninsula, along the west bank of the River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool...

 and Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

. The Scottish-American philanthropist and businessman, Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

, helped to increase the number of public libraries from the late 19th century.

County libraries are a later development which were made possible by the establishment of County Councils in 1888. They normally have a large central library in a major town with smaller branch libraries in other towns and a mobile library service covering rural areas.

Canada

In 1779 Frederick Haldimand
Frederick Haldimand
Sir Frederick Haldimand, KB was a military officer best known for his service in the British Army in North America during the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War...

, the Governor of Québec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

, founded the first subscription library in Canada. Until then, Canada’s libraries were mostly religious institutions, and the general public was not admitted. However, even though “Haldimand's library, like other subscription libraries, appealed primarily to an urban elite”, it was the nation’s first step towards the public library as it is known today. Haldimand’s library later merged with the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec
Literary and Historical Society of Quebec
-External links:*, managed by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec.*, virtual exhibit on the history of Canadian learned societies.*, virtual library containing all publications from 1824-1924....

 (established in 1824), which displays the original Québec Library collection within its library. This and similar association/social libraries were examples of early prototypes of public libraries. They were public in that membership was allowed regardless of class or religion, and many in Canada eventually evolved into free public libraries.

"Subsequently legislative collections were established in 1791 in Upper and in 1792 in Lower Canada ; and in 1796 the first public library was founded in Montreal. In 1800, libraries were established in King's College, Nova Scotia, and at Niagara, where the first public library in Upper Canada operated for twenty years, in spite of losses during the War of 1812.".

In Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

 in 1883, following the efforts of Colonel James Domville in procuring a collection of materials to replace the many private collections lost in the Great Fire of Saint John, New Brunswick
The Great Fire of Saint John, New Brunswick
The Great Fire was an urban fire that destroyed much of Saint John, New Brunswick in June 1877. On 20 June when a spark fell into a bundle of hay in Henry Fairweather's storehouse in the York Point Slip area. Nine hours later the fire had destroyed over and 1,612 structures including eight...

 the first free, tax-supported public library was established. Guelph, Ontario
Guelph, Ontario
Guelph is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Known as "The Royal City", Guelph is roughly east of Waterloo and west of downtown Toronto at the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 7. It is the seat of Wellington County, but is politically independent of it...

 and Toronto, Ontario opened public libraries that same year as well. Due to Canada’s size and diversity, the development of the modern Canadian public library was more of a slow evolution than a quick transition as each of the provinces’ specific conditions (geographic, economic, cultural, demographic, etc.) had first to be addressed. The public library therefore took on many forms in Canada’s earlier years; the three most prevalent of these forms were school-district libraries, Mechanics Institutes, and association/social libraries (see reference to Literary and Historical Society of Quebec
Literary and Historical Society of Quebec
-External links:*, managed by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec.*, virtual exhibit on the history of Canadian learned societies.*, virtual library containing all publications from 1824-1924....

 above).

In 1850, school-district libraries were initiated in Canada. Public servant Joseph Howe
Joseph Howe
Joseph Howe, PC was a Nova Scotian journalist, politician, and public servant. He is one of Nova Scotia's greatest and best-loved politicians...

 started one in Nova Scotia, and politician Egerton Ryerson
Egerton Ryerson
Adolphus Egerton Ryerson was a Methodist minister, educator, politician, and public education advocate in early Ontario, Canada...

 started one in Ontario. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island followed suit in 1858 and 1877, respectively. The hope was that both children and adults could benefit from the local school authorities, where financial assistance was provided from colonial legislatures, but the departments of education proved to be too centralizing for locals and this practiced was phased out . Mechanics Institutes also contained libraries that the working class could access inexpensively. The first Canadian library of its kind was established in 1828 in Montréal, Québec. Other communities took up this idea as well – notably those in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

, Toronto, Ontario and Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...

. Like the school-district libraries, these institutes eventually ceased or were replaced by public libraries.

The public library that opened in Toronto, Ontario, was mostly due to a campaign by city alderman John Hallam. James Bain became the first chief librarian, and built a comprehensive collection of Canadian literature and history. The Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is a public library system based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest public library system in Canada and in 2008, had averaged a higher...

 was one of the first libraries to choose free status, and it was the largest of them all. Its development flourished after 1900 when Carnegie grants began to aid in building construction and the expansion of collections and services. During this time, open access and children’s departments were introduced, and standard cataloguing and classification systems were adopted. Many of the original branches, funded by a Carnegie grant, still stand and continue to be operated by the Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is a public library system based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest public library system in Canada and in 2008, had averaged a higher...

. Other provinces were affected by Carnegie as well and followed Ontario’s lead in legislating tax support for library services. British Columbia acted in 1891, Manitoba in 1899, Saskatchewan in 1906, and in Alberta, the first legislation officially passed by the legislative assembly was the Library Act. The act was passed March 15, 1907. The next provinces to follow were New Brunswick in 1929, Newfoundland in 1935, Prince Edward Island in 1936, Nova Scotia in 1937, Québec in1959, and then the Northwest Territories in 1966.

As they stand today, public libraries in Canada are “governed by provincial statues and are primarily financed by municipal tax revenues and other local income, with provincial grants supplementing local funding. [They are also] the responsibility of a local or regional library board with authority to appoint or dismiss employees, control library property, establish policies, and budget for library operations.”
Though the services offered vary from local branch to local branch, public libraries in Canada are not only places to read and borrow books; they are also hubs of community services, such as early reading programs, computer access, and tutoring and literacy help for children and adults..

Throughout the years, Canadian libraries have been subject to the political and economic influence of the nation. During World War II, public libraries experienced development setbacks, but expansion resumed in 1945. Then, in the 1960s, Canadian public libraries felt the benefits of the era’s emphasis on education – service expanded, buildings were remodeled or constructed from scratch, and Centennial Grants were provided in order to improve the system. This period of growth ended the inflationary period in the 1970s and the two recessions during the 1980s. However, in the late 1990s this trend reversed and the National Core Library Statistics Program reported in 1999 that public libraries served 28.5 million municipal residents – a total of 93% of the Canadian population. Nevertheless, in 2011 the tides turned for public libraries in Canada once again, specifically in Toronto. The city is now undergoing a heated debate regarding Mayor Rob Ford
Rob Ford
Robert Bruce "Rob" Ford is the 64th and current Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was first elected to city council in the 2000 Toronto municipal election, and was re-elected to his council seat in 2003 and again in 2006...

’s proposed budget cuts for the Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is a public library system based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest public library system in Canada and in 2008, had averaged a higher...

, which is currently one of the most efficient public library systems in all of North America.

Mexico

In 1646, Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, bishop of Puebla
Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

 and Viceroy of New Spain, expelled the Jesuits from New Spain, and with the confiscated books founded the "Biblioteca Palafoxiana"–the first public library in New Spain. It was in Puebla and open to all readers.

The Palafoxian library exists today and is the only library in the world with the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 Memory of the World certification. It has some of the oldest books in both North
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

.

United States

As the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 developed from the 18th century to today, growing more populous and wealthier, factors such as a push for education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and desire to share knowledge led to broad public support for free libraries. In addition, money donations by private philanthropists
Philanthropy
Philanthropy etymologically means "the love of humanity"—love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of "what it is to be human," or "human potential." In modern practical terms, it is "private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of...

 provided the seed capital to get many libraries started. In some instances, collectors donated vast book collections.

William James Sidis
William James Sidis
William James Sidis was an American child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic abilities. His IQ was estimated to be between 250 and 300 - one of the highest ever recorded - he entered Harvard early at age 11, and as an adult was conversant in over 40 languages and dialects...

 in The Tribes and the States
The Tribes and the States
The Tribes and the States is a book written by American child prodigy William James Sidis that outlines the history of the Native Americans, focusing mostly on the Northeastern tribes and continuing up to the mid-19th century. It was written around 1935 but was never published for lack of...

claimed the public library, as such, was an American invention. But exactly what constitutes a "free public library" is subject to dispute, and the term "invention" doesn't seem applicable to the many facets of an institution such as a library. Throughout history, knowledge in different forms has been shared in different ways. Writing was recorded on papyrus and stored in scrolls and kept in vast libraries such as the Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria
The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the...

 in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. In ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, knowledge was passed by one person reading aloud to a group of scribes from a text; this resulted in sometimes different and error-prone versions of the same text. Monks in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 copied manuscripts by hand. After the invention of the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 by Johann Gutenberg, books became prevalent, and different institutions such as universities and governments and churches found ways to keep and share them.

There are disputes about which was the first public library in the nation. Early American cities such as Boston and Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

 and New York had the first organized collections of books, but which library was truly "public" is subject to dispute. Sidis
William James Sidis
William James Sidis was an American child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic abilities. His IQ was estimated to be between 250 and 300 - one of the highest ever recorded - he entered Harvard early at age 11, and as an adult was conversant in over 40 languages and dialects...

 claims the first public library was Boston's in 1636, although the official Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is a municipal public library system in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, the first large library open to the public in the United States, and the first public library to allow people to...

 was organized later in 1852. In 1698, Charleston's
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 St. Philip's Church Parsonage had a parish library.

In 1731, Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 and his friends, sometimes called "the Junto", operated the Library Company of Philadelphia partly as a means to settle arguments and partly as a means to advance themselves through sharing information. Franklin's subscription library allowed members to buy "shares" and combined funds were used to buy more books; in return, members could borrow books and use the library. Today, the Library Company
Library Company of Philadelphia
The Library Company of Philadelphia is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded by Benjamin Franklin as a library, the Library Company of Philadelphia has accumulated one of the most significant collections of historically valuable manuscripts and printed material in...

 continues to exist as a nonprofit, independent research library
Research library
A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects . A research library will generally include primary sources as well as secondary sources...

.

A town in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 wanted to name itself Franklin
Franklin, Massachusetts
The Town of Franklin is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 31,635 at the 2010 census.-History:Franklin was first settled by Europeans in 1660 and was officially incorporated during the American Revolution. The town was formed from the western part of the town...

 in honor of the famous Pennsylvanian, and in return, Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 donated books for use by local residents; while Franklin had been asked to donate a church bell instead, he declined on the basis that "sense" was preferable to "sound." One source considers the Franklin library in Massachusetts to be the first public library in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Another source claims the library in Darby, Pennsylvania
Darby, Pennsylvania
Darby is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States, along Darby Creek southwest of downtown Philadelphia. It has a public library founded in 1743 and a cemetery more than 300 years old. The Quakers lived there early in the colonial era. Darby was settled about 1660 and was...

 which opened in 1743 is the "oldest continuously operating free public library" in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. But other libraries claim to be the first public library, including the Scoville library
Scoville library
Scoville Memorial Library was established in 1803 in Salisbury, Connecticut. The Library was the first in the United States open to the public free of charge....

 in Salisbury, Connecticut
Salisbury, Connecticut
Salisbury is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The town is the northwest-most in the State of Connecticut. The MA-NY-CT Tri-State Marker is located just on the border of Salisbury...

, which was established in 1803. The library in the New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 town of Peterborough
Peterborough, New Hampshire
Peterborough is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,284 at the 2010 census. Home to the MacDowell Art Colony, the town is a popular tourist destination....

 claims to be the first publicly-funded library; it opened in 1833. And a library in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 in the town of Arlington
Arlington, Massachusetts
Arlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, six miles northwest of Boston. The population was 42,844 at the 2010 census.-History:...

 claims to have had the first free children's library; it opened in 1835.
Finances

In the trend from private to public libraries, big city libraries had the largest book collections and the most funding. The forerunner of the New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

 in Manhattan was a library established by the Earl of Ballamont around 1700. A newspaper described the call for the "first public librarian" demanding that "he must not be too young, for this would render him liable to be despised by the youth" and "he must be of an even temper" with "great diligence" and "sufficient learning" and "have a genius peculiarly adapted to the calling." In 1849, the library was officially established, and consolidated in 1901. Today, it is considered to be one of the most important public libraries in the nation.

New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 governor and book lover Samuel J. Tilden
Samuel J. Tilden
Samuel Jones Tilden was the Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency in the disputed election of 1876, one of the most controversial American elections of the 19th century. He was the 25th Governor of New York...

 bequeathed millions to build the New York Public Library. He believed Americans should have access to books and a free education
Education in New York City
Education in New York City is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. The city's public school system, the New York City Department of Education, is the largest in the world, and New York is home to some of the most important libraries, universities, and research centers in...

 if desired. In 2005, the library offered the "NYPL Digital Gallery" which made a collection of 275,000 images viewable over the web; while most of the contents are in the public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

, some images are still subject to copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 rules. In 1902, one account suggested "the village library is growing more and more an indispensable adjunct to American village life."

Around the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

 donated over $60 million, which was a vast fortune in 20th century dollars, to build over 2,811 free public library buildings in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. They were often known as Carnegie libraries
Carnegie library
A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems...

. Carnegie envisioned that libraries would "bring books and information to all people."

Libraries have been started with wills from other benefactors; for example, the Bacon Free Library in South Natick, Massachusetts was founded in 1881 after a benefactor left $15,000 in a will; it has operated as a public library since then.

Once the idea of the public library as an agency worthy of taxation was broadly established during the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries, librarians through actions of the American Library Association and its division devoted to public libraries, the Public Library Association, sought ways to identify standards and guidelines to ensure quality service.

In 2009, with the economic downturn, many public libraries have budget shortfalls. The library in Darby, Pennsylvania
Darby, Pennsylvania
Darby is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States, along Darby Creek southwest of downtown Philadelphia. It has a public library founded in 1743 and a cemetery more than 300 years old. The Quakers lived there early in the colonial era. Darby was settled about 1660 and was...

 found expenses were greater than revenues from local property taxes, state funds, and investment income; it was on the risk of closing, according to a newspaper report. Many public libraries face budgetary problems; the report noted that "tax dollars that support them are dwindling as property tax
Property tax
A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...

 revenue declines along with home values and sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

es fall as consumers
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 spend less. As local funding drops, libraries are turning to their endowments and draining the investments." Many libraries have foundations behind them to support them financially, and rely on the help of well-heeled donors as well as local corporations for funds.
Services

Most public libraries today are supported by tax monies from local and state governments, and some have foundations to support them with additional capital. Libraries lend books and materials freely, but charge fines if materials are returned late or damaged. Libraries often keep many historical documents relevant to their particular town, and serve as a resource for historians in some instances; for example, the Queens Public Library kept letters written by unrecognized Tiffany lamp
Tiffany lamp
A Tiffany lamp is a type of lamp with many different types of glass shade. The most famous was the stained leaded glass lamp. Tiffany lamps are considered part of the Art Nouveau movement.- History :...

 designer Clara Driscoll, and the letters remained in the library until a curator discovered them.

In 2009, big city libraries have multiple branches and offer numerous services. For example, the Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is a municipal public library system in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, the first large library open to the public in the United States, and the first public library to allow people to...

 has 26 neighborhood branches and offers free Internet service; it has two restaurants and an online store which features reproductions of photographs and artwork; and it promotes itself with a website. It answers more than one million reference questions annually. The library uses wireless technology software networks to offer more services and keep costs under control. The Boston library offers digitized content, video, a wider range of formats and, as a result, "research documents now have broader accessibility within the community and around the world," and help communities by offering public access computers, mobile Wi-fi access, and free job search tools.

Libraries promote cultural awareness; in Newark, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

, the public library celebrated black history with exhibits and programs. Libraries also partner with schools and community organizations to promote literacy and learning. One account suggested libraries were essential to "economic competitiveness" as well as "neighborhood vitality" and help some people find jobs.

Some library buildings are notable for their particular architectural styles; in the town of Beaver Dam
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Beaver Dam is a city in Dodge County, Wisconsin, United States, along Beaver Dam Lake and the Beaver Dam River. The population was 16,243 at the 2010 census, making it the second largest city in Dodge County, and the largest city fully located within the county. It is the principal city of the...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, architects designed the Williams Free Library
Williams Free Library
The Williams Free Library is a public building in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. It was the first public library in the United States to have open stacks...

 in the style of Richardsonian Romanesque
Richardsonian Romanesque
Richardsonian Romanesque is a style of Romanesque Revival architecture named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose masterpiece is Trinity Church, Boston , designated a National Historic Landmark...

.

France

The National Library of France is one of the oldest libraries in the world still in service today as it traces its origin to the royal library founded at the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

 by King Charles V
Charles V
Charles V may refer to:* Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor , also Charles I of Spain* Charles V of Naples , better known as Charles II of Spain* Charles V of France , called the Wise...

 in 1368, but at the time it was conceived as the private library of the French kings and it opened to the public only in 1692, during the reign of Louis XIV.

Claude Sallier
Claude Sallier
Claude Sallier was a French ecclesiastic and philologist, as well as professor of Hebrew at the Collège royal and garde des manuscrits of the Bibliothèque du Roi.- France's first public library :...

, the philologist and churchman, had an idea that was advanced for its era—to make culture accessible to all. From 1737 to 1750 he made books available to the town of Saulieu
Saulieu
Saulieu is a commune in the Côte-d'Or department in the Burgundy region in eastern France.Capital of the Morvan, and found in the Morvan Regional Park, Saulieu is located to the southeast of Paris on the RN6 road.-History:...

, forming France's first public library.

The pioneer of modern public libraries in France was Eugène Morel
Eugène Morel
Eugène Morel was a French librarian, writer and literary critic. One of the founders of the Association of French Librarians, Morel contributed greatly to the development of French libraries and librarianship in the 19th and early 20th centuries.-Biography :Morel graduated as a lawyer from the...

, a writer and one of the librarians at the Bibliothèque nationale. He put forward his ideas in the 1910 book La Librairie publique.

Italy

The Malatestiana Library , also known as the Malatesta Novello Library, is a public library dating from 1452 in Cesena
Cesena
Cesena is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, south of Ravenna and west of Rimini, on the Savio River, co-chief of the Province of Forlì-Cesena. It is at the foot of the Apennines, and about 15 km from the Adriatic Sea.-History:Cesena was originally an Umbrian...

, Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna
Emilia–Romagna is an administrative region of Northern Italy comprising the two historic regions of Emilia and Romagna. The capital is Bologna; it has an area of and about 4.4 million inhabitants....

 (Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

). It was the first Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an civic library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

, i.e. belonging to the Commune
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

 and open to everybody. It was commissioned by the Lord of Cesena, Malatesta Novello
Malatesta Novello
Domenico Malatesta, best known as Malatesta Novello was an Italian condottiero, a member of the Malatesta family.-Biography:He was born at Brescia, the son of Pandolfo III Malatesta and Antonia da Barignano...

. The works were directed by Matteo Nuti of Fano
Fano
Fano is a town and comune of the province of Pesaro and Urbino in the Marche region of Italy. It is a beach resort 12 km southeast of Pesaro, located where the Via Flaminia reaches the Adriatic Sea...

 (a scholar of Leon Battista Alberti) and lasted from 1447 to 1452.

Poland

The Załuski Library  was built in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 1747–1795 by Józef Andrzej Załuski and his brother, Andrzej Stanisław Załuski, both Roman Catholic bishops. The library was open to the public and indeed was the first Polish public library, the biggest in Poland and one of the earliest public libraries in Europe. In 1794, the library was looted on orders from Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

. Much of the material was returned in the period of 1842-1920, but once again the library was decimated during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 during the period following the Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

. The Załuski Library was succeeded by the creation of the National Library of Poland
National Library of Poland
The National Library of Poland is the central Polish library, subject directly to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland....

 (Biblioteka Narodowa) in 1928.

Australia

Library services in Australia developed along different paths in the different States. In 1809 the Reverend Samuel Marsden
Samuel Marsden
Samuel Marsden was an English born Anglican cleric and a prominent member of the Church Missionary Society, believed to have introduced Christianity to New Zealand...

 advertised in England for donations to help found a 'Lending Library for the general benefit of the inhabitants of New South Wales'. The library would cover 'Divinity and Morals, History, Voyages and Travels, Agriculture in all its branches, Mineralogy and Practical Mechanics'. No Public Library came to fruition from this although some of the books brought to the colony after this call survive in the library of Moore Theological College
Moore Theological College
Moore Theological College, otherwise known simply as Moore College, is the theological training seminary of the Diocese of Sydney in the Anglican Church of Australia...

.

The place of Public Libraries was filled by Mechanics' Institutes
Mechanics' Institutes
Historically, Mechanics' Institutes were educational establishments formed to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men...

, schools of arts, athenaeums and literary institutes. Some of these provided free library services to visitors. However lending rights were available only to members who were required to pay a subscription.

In 1856, the Victorian
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 colonial government opened the Melbourne Public Library (now the State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria is the central library of the state of Victoria, Australia, located in Melbourne. It is on the block bounded by Swanston, La Trobe, Russell, and Little Lonsdale streets, in the northern centre of the central business district...

). This was however purely a reference library. In September 1869, the New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 (NSW) government opened as the Free Public Library, Sydney (now the State Library of New South Wales
State Library of New South Wales
The State Library of New South Wales is a large public library owned by the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located in Macquarie Street, Sydney near Shakespeare Place...

) by purchasing a bankrupt subscription library. In 1896, the Brisbane Public Library was established. The Library's collection, purchased by the Queensland Government from the private collection of Mr. Justice Harding.

In 1932, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, funded a survey (The Munn-Pitt Report) into Australian libraries. It found 'wretched little institutes' which were 'cemeteries of old and forgotten books'. There was also criticism of the limited public access, poor staff training, unsatisfactory collections, lack of non-fiction, absence of catalogues and poor levels of service for children. Lending libraries in Sydney (NSW) and Prahran (Victoria) were praised as examples of services which were doing well, but these were seen as exceptions.

In NSW, The Free Library Movement was established in response to the Munn-Pitt Report. This collection of (amongst others) concerned citizens, progress associations, returned servicemen and trade unions advocated a system of public libraries to serve the needs of all people. The birth of the movement took place at a public meeting in the Chatswood-Willoughby School of Arts, Sydney, in 1935. George Brain
George Brain
George William Brain was an Australian politician and member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He was the longest-serving member for Willoughby, serving from 1943 until his retirement in 1968. Brain was recognized as one of the primary forces in establishing the Free Library Movement in...

, President of the Middle Harbour Progress Association, ran the meeting. George Brain initiated the resolution which brought the Free Library Movement into existence in NSW as well as the election of provisional office bearers, including himself as Honorary Secretary. This movement was stalled by the onset of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1939.

In 1943, the Queensland Parliament
Parliament of Queensland
The Parliament of Queensland is the legislature of Queensland, Australia. According to the state's constitution, the Parliament consists of the Queen and the Legislative Assembly. It is the only unicameral state parliament in the country, the upper chamber, the Legislative Council, having been...

 passed the Libraries Act, establishing the Library Board of Queensland to manage the operations of the Public Library of Queensland
State Library of Queensland
The State Library of Queensland is a large public library provided to the people of the State of Queensland, Australia, by the state government. Its legislative basis is provided by the Queensland Libraries Act 1988...

, and coordinate and improve library facilities throughout the State of Queensland.

In November 1943, at the official opening of the new Public Library of New South Wales building, William McKell, the New South Wales Premier, announced that the Library Act would be fully proclaimed from 1 January 1944.

After the war, and with George Brain now in NSW parliament as a principle advocate for the Free Library Movement, the passing of Library Acts in NSW and the other states at the end of the war marked the beginning of modern public libraries in Australia.

Even after the war, the development of free lending libraries in Australia had been agonizingly slow: it was not until the 1960s that local governments began to establish public libraries in suburban areas.

Currently there are 1402 Australian public libraries plus 78 mobile libraries. Australians generate more than 110 million library visits per year (that is about 9 million visits per month).There are more than 9.9 million library members (or 46% of the population), more than 41.5 million items to use and borrow, plus more than 11,600 computers for public use. It costs $882.3 million to run Australian public libraries. They return at least $2.6 billion-worth of community benefits. All this costs Australians $830 million - just over 10c a day each with a benchmark for best practice funding being 20c per day.

The 2007 Americans for Libraries Council (ALC) report on library valuation stated, ‘A benefit-to-cost ratio of 3:1 or better is common among the library valuation studies ALC reviewed. Because this type of economic analysis is commonly used across industries and businesses, it puts libraries into an evaluative framework that permits comparisons with other types of organizations. When this occurs, public libraries consistently outpace other sectors, such as transportation, health, and education, on the efficient use of tax dollars.’

Funding problems

Most public libraries rely heavily on local government funding. Some proactive librarians have devised alliances with patron and civic groups to supplement their financial situations. Library "friends" groups, activist boards, and well organized book sales supplement government funding. With the cost of running local government increasing at a rate far above inflation, libraries are compelled to look beyond the tax base of the communities they serve.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, among other countries, libraries in financially-strapped communities compete financially with other public institutions, such as police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

, firefighter
Firefighter
Firefighters are rescuers extensively trained primarily to put out hazardous fires that threaten civilian populations and property, to rescue people from car incidents, collapsed and burning buildings and other such situations...

s, and school
School
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

s.

Many communities are closing down or reducing the capability of their library systems, at the same time balancing their budgets. Jackson County, Oregon
Jackson County, Oregon
-National protected areas:* Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument* Crater Lake National Park * Klamath National Forest * Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest * Umpqua National Forest -Demographics:...

 (US), closed its entire 15-branch public library system for six months in 2007, reopening with a with a private-public 'partnership' and a reduced schedule. This example of a funding problem followed the failure to pass of a bond measure and cessation of federal funding for counties with dwindling timber revenue, in a state with no sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

. In December 2004, Salinas, California
Salinas, California
Salinas is the county seat and the largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Salinas is located east-southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River, at an elevation of about 52 feet above sea level. The population was 150,441 at the 2010 census...

 almost became the first city in the United States to completely close down its entire library system. A tax increase passed by the voters in November 2005 allowed the libraries to open, but hours remain limited. The American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

 says media reports it has compiled in 2004 showed some $162 million in funding cuts to libraries nationwide.

Survey data suggests the public values free public libraries. A Public Agenda
Public agenda
Public Agenda is a New York City-based non-profit organization engaged in non-partisan research projects in subjects ranging from education to government leadership. The organization was founded by social scientist Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance...

 survey in 2006 reported 84 percent of the public said maintaining free library services should be a top priority for their local library. Public libraries received higher ratings for effectiveness than other local services such as parks and police. But the survey also found the public was mostly unaware of financial difficulties facing their libraries.

Recently, many US cities, including Philadelphia, New York, Trenton and San Diego, have been facing the issue of making job cuts and service reductions in order to save money. Most of these cities have decided to cut library funding by closing down several branches and cutting hours and staff members in the branches that will remain open. Philadelphia, however, has decided to keep their 54 branches open. In order to save money during this financial crisis, Mayor Michael Nutter has proposed to cut funding for recreational parks and decrease the budget for police and fire services. Nutter has announced that the Philadelphia public library
Free Library of Philadelphia
The Free Library of Philadelphia is the public library system serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.-History:History of the Free Library of Philadelphia: Initiated by the efforts of Dr...

 branches will not be affected by the budget cuts at this time.

In various cost-benefit studies libraries continue to provide an exceptional return on the dollar. A 2008 survey discusses comprehensively the prospects for increased funding in the United States, saying in conclusion "There is sufficient, but latent, support for increased library funding among the voting population."

Public libraries, long supported by various government entities, have seen a decline in monetary support for several decades, due to various influences. The American Library Association states that 41% of states saw a decline in state budgets for public library funding in 2009

Cases in point are the libraries in Salinas, California
Salinas, California
Salinas is the county seat and the largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Salinas is located east-southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River, at an elevation of about 52 feet above sea level. The population was 150,441 at the 2010 census...

, Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

, and Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

, but there are many other long-standing public libraries now having to find new sources of income to keep them operating.
  • In California, the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 removed the property tax as a source of funding for libraries, school programs, and other public services ]. This action provided tax relief for homeowners on one hand, but forced severe budget cuts to the services they enjoyed.
  • The cost of creating, maintaining, and upgrading electronic hardware, networks, and resources has put a strain on many library budgets.
  • The cost of printed matter
    Printed matter
    Printed matter is a term to describe printed material produced by printers or publishers, such as books, magazines, booklets, brochures and other publicity materials and in some cases, newspapers...

     such as books and magazines has risen over time, while funding has remained static or declined.

See also

  • History of Public Library Advocacy
    History of Public Library Advocacy
    Public libraries in the American Colonies can be traced back to 1656, when a Boston merchant named Captain Robert Keayne willed his collection of books to the town. Many of the early colonists had brought books with them from England....

  • Library science
    Library science
    Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...

  • Librarian
    Librarian
    A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

  • Public space
    Public space
    A public space is a social space such as a town square that is open and accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons. For example, no fees or paid tickets are required for entry, nor are the entrants...

  • List of libraries
  • Public Library Advocacy
    Public Library Advocacy
    Public library advocacy is support given to a public library for its financial and philosophical goals or needs. Most often this takes the form of monetary or material donations or campaigning to the institutions which oversee the library...

  • Social Networking and UK Libraries
    Social Networking and UK Libraries
    Libraries in the UK are increasingly engaging with Social networking tools, both as a way of reaching patrons, and as a place where patrons can access social networking sites for their own use. Every public library in the UK provides computers for patrons...


Further reading

  • Barnett, Graham Keith (1987) Histoire des bibliothèques publiques en France de la Révolution à 1939; traduit de l'anglais par Thierry Lefèvre et Yves Sardat. Paris: Promodis (Translation of: The history of public libraries in France from the Revolution to 1939, London: Library Association, 1973)
  • Bobinski, George S. (1969) Carnegie Libraries: their history and impact on American public library development. Chicago: American Library Association ISBN 0-8389-0022-4
  • Garrison, Dee (1979) Apostles of Culture: the public librarian and American society, 1876-1920. New York: Free Press ISBN 0-02-693850-2
  • Jones, Barbara M., "Libraries, Access, and Intellectual Freedom", American Library Association, 1999.
  • Kelly, Thomas (1966) Early Public Libraries: a history of public libraries in Great Britain before 1850. London: Library Association
  • McCook, Kathleen de la Peña (2011), Introduction to Public Librarianship, 2nd ed. New York, Neal-Schuman.
  • Minow, Mary; Lipinski, Tomas A., "The Library's Legal Answer Book", American Library Association, 2003.
  • Stockham, K. A., ed. (1969) British County Libraries: 1919-1969. London: André Deutsch ISBN 0-233-96111-9

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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