Academic libraries

An academic library is generally located on the campuses of colleges and universities and serve primarily the students and faculty of that and other academic institutions. Some academic libraries, especially those at public institutions, are accessible to members of the general public in whole or in part. Academic libraries are libraries that are hosted in post-secondary educational institutions, such as colleges and universities. The main functions of an academic library are to provide resources and research support for students and faculty of the educational institution. Specific course-related resources are usually provided by the library, such as copies of textbooks and article readings held on 'reserve' (meaning that they are loaned out only on a short-term basis, usually a matter of hours). Academic libraries offer workshops and courses outside of formal, graded coursework, which are meant to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed in their programs.[45] These workshops may include help with citations, effective search techniques, journal databases, and electronic citation software. These workshops provide students with skills that can help them achieve success in their academic careers (and often, in their future occupations), which they may not learn inside the classroom. The academic library provides a quiet study space for students on campus; it may also provide group study space, such as meeting rooms. In North America, Europe, and other parts of the world, academic libraries are becoming increasingly digitally oriented. The library provides a "gateway" for students and researchers to access various resources, both print/physical and digital.[46] Academic institutions are subscribing to electronic journals databases, providing research and scholarly writing software, and usually provide computer workstations or computer labs for students to access journals, library search databases and portals, institutional electronic resources, internet access, and course- or task-related software (i.e. word processing and spreadsheet software). They are increasingly acting as an electronic repos

tory for institutional scholarly research and academic knowledge, such as the collection and curation of digital copies of students' theses and dissertations. In library science, special collections (often abbreviated to Spec. Coll. or S.C.) is the name applied to a specific repository or department, usually within a library, which stores materials of a "special" nature, including rare books, archives, and collected manuscripts. Works kept in special collections (as opposed to the library's general collection) are typically stored there because they are unusually valuable, rare (possibly unique), or fragile, or because they should not, for some particular reason, be allowed to commingle with the library's other works. The primary function of a special collections department is to keep holdings safe and secure while remaining accessible. Special collections are usually closed stacks and the items usually noncirculating; the items are mostly accessible only to properly qualified interested researchers. These researchers- who must usually present IDs, letters of reference, and credentials to gain full access- are generally graduate students and faculty. Special collections materials are typically non-circulating (meaning that they cannot ordinarily be loaned out) and ideally should be stored in areas where the temperature, humidity, illumination, and other environmental conditions are carefully monitored, and adequate security provided to protect the materials from unauthorized access, theft, and vandalism. Special reading rooms are often provided to minimize the risk to holdings while being consulted by library users, and conditions on such use (such as the use of gloves, or prohibitions on flash photography or the use of writing implements with ink) are likely to be imposed in order to protect the works. Complete collections of hundreds or even thousands of books may be bequeathed to libraries in wills, on the condition that the collection be kept together within the library rather than dispersed throughout the general collection. Special collections departments are often able to accommodate such requests.