Academic Library

An academic library is one that is attached to a higher education institution (HEI) and it serves two complementary purposes

  • Support the curriculum 
  • Aid in research of the university faculty and students

It is unclear as to how many academic libraries there are in total worldwide. An academic and research portal that is maintained by UNESCO links to a total of 3,785 libraries. In the past, the material for class readings, supposed to supplement lectures as instructed by the teacher, has been called reserves. Prior to electronic resources becoming so widely available, the reserves used to be supplied as actual books or photocopies of appropriate journal articles. However, modern academic libraries also provide access to electronic resources.

An academic library needs to determine a focus for collection development as comprehensive collections are not that feasible. Librarians do this by analyzing the needs of the faculty, student body, the mission and academic programs of the college or university and identifying what needs to be done. When there are certain areas of specialization within academic libraries, these are referred to as niche collections and they are often the basis of a special collection department. They may include original papers, artifacts written or created by a single author or regarding a specific subject, or artwork related to the same. Academic libraries are only one of the different types of libraries out there.

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