Four types of libraries

Libraries are of different kinds and provide different services. For the layperson, a library is a library, the same thing that holds books and other items meant for reading and borrowing. However, libraries are of different categories. There is a public library, there is a school library, there is an academic library, and there is a corporate library. Despite their differences, though, they have one thing in common: the name library. 


As their name indicates, public libraries serve the general public irrespective of their age group. They collect and keep items deemed beneficial for the public. Their collection development policy is based on acquiring books and other items that suit the needs of the general public. Based on analysis and surveys, they purchase books and other items for the public to benefit from. They keep in their buildings both fiction and non-books, permitted for circulation, meaning the public can borrow them using membership cards. They can also check out auto-visuals, using the same membership card. Also, the public libraries hold reference materials, restricted to in-house use only. These are costly, voluminous materials with invaluable information. So, the public cannot sign them out, but they can read/use them on-site.

 School libraries are dissimilar to public libraries. The former is for the general public, the latter is for a special clientele. It is for students and teachers, to support learning and teaching endeavours. The school library’s collection is fully geared towards students and their teachers. Therefore, the school libraries held items are smaller and more specific than the public libraries. Moreover, the school libraries branch out into various categories, depending on the school levels they serve. Some may serve only primary schools, some may serve intermediate schools, while others can serve high school students. Nonetheless, in settings where primary and junior high schools are combined, the libraries hold items meant for both.

 Academic libraries, as their name suggests, are more advanced. They exist for post-secondary and postgraduate clients. They procure and keep items appropriate for college and university students, as well as their teachers or professors. Holdings of these libraries are program or faculty-specific materials. The aim is to support students with their studies and help teachers get resources for what they teach. Unlike the public libraries, only students can borrow from the academic libraries. There might be some exceptions, however. 

 The last category is the corporate library. Every big company or corporation has a library. Corporate libraries are common in developed countries, where technology and advancements are on the rise. With carefully selected materials, the corporate libraries assist executives, experts, and staff members of the particular company. For example, engineering companies have libraries mainly geared toward engineering books, while a petroleum company has a library filled with books and other items on petroleum, its exploration, production, and marketing.

  It is clear from this explanation that the four libraries are on varied footings, each one catering to specific patrons. Instead of saying customer or client, patron is the proper term used for a library user. On the whole, all four different libraries exist to initiate and increase knowledge.

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