Library

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A library is a collection of sources, resources, and services, and the structure in which it is housed; it is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution, or a private individual. In the more traditional sense, a library is a collection of books. It can mean the collection, the building or room that houses such a collection, or both. The term "library" has itself acquired a secondary meaning: "a collection of useful material for common use." This sense is used in fields such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, electronics and biology. It can also be used by publishers in naming series of related books, e.g. The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology. Libraries most often provide a place of silence for studying.

Public and institutional collections and services may be intended for use by people who choose not to — or cannot afford to — purchase an extensive collection themselves, who need material no individual can reasonably be expected to have, or who require professional assistance with their research. In addition to providing materials, libraries also provide the services of librarians who are experts at finding and organizing information and at interpreting information needs.

Today's libraries are repositories and access points for print, audio, and visual materials in numerous formats, including maps, prints, documents, microform (microfilm/microfiche), audio tapes, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, video games, e-books, e-audiobooks and many other electronic resources. Libraries often provide public facilities to access to their electronic resources and the Internet.

Thus, modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources. They are extending services beyond the physical walls of a building, by providing material accessible by electronic means, and by providing the assistance of librarians in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of information with a variety of digital tools.

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