Sunday, October 18, 2009

LIS 6010 Blog: Types of Libraries

Types of Libraries: Special
MSN Encarta defines library as ‘collection of books and other informational materials made available to people for reading, study, or reference. The word library comes from liber, the Latin word for “book.” However, library collections have almost always contained a variety of materials. Contemporary libraries maintain collections that include not only printed materials such as manuscripts, books, newspapers, and magazines, but also art reproductions, films, sound and video recordings, maps, photographs, microfiches, CD-ROMs, computer software, online databases, and other media. In addition to maintaining collections within library buildings, modern libraries often feature telecommunications links that provide users with access to information at remote sites.’ (Microsoft Encarta, 2009)
Special libraries include almost any other form of librarianship, including those who serve in medical libraries, corporations, news agencies, or other special collections. The collection at held at these libraries will be specific to the industries that house that collection. The work may include solo work, such as research; corporate financing; developing a special collection for a museums, and extensive self-promotion to potential patrons.
It was during the Industrial Revolution libraries began to change and branch outside the educational boundaries, to meet industrial needs. Various organizations, industries and governmental agencies started their own private library collections. The collections the various groups started were to help them stay competitive in the fields of research and development. The collections were deemed necessary and were funded by various sources to keep them top in their field. In 1910 Nigeria established three special libraries to serve research officers at three different research companies and they were the first country to set up such libraries for research and development. By the 1990’s South Africa had over 600 special libraries to help in various fields of law, banking, agriculture, medicine, politics, and social sciences. (Microsoft Encarta, 2009) During the second half of the 20th century many places organizations and governments started their own libraries to keep a collection that would not be available in other libraries. These collections are often supported by the company, donations from outside agencies.
"Library (institution)," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2009 © 1997-2009 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Amy Smola said...

Although when most people think about libraries, they think first of the public library and then the school/academic library, I find the special libraries to be the most fascinating. I really don't know that much about them and enjoyed reading your post. The special library arena is kind of that land of limitless possibilities. It's like one of the first discussion assignments we had where we were asked to think up a job where we could use library knowledge. That was fun question and really got a lot of us thinking about what we would like to do in the future.

One of the books I checked out as a possibility for our book review is called "Career Opportunities in Library and Information Science." It contains a section on special libraries (well, on all types of libraries) and really gives some ideas for careers I had not though of. How about some of these jobs... art librarian, medical librarian, curator, law librarian.. There is such a range of jobs out there and so many possibilities with which to use a LIS degree. On a side note, I would recommend this book to people looking at a variety of library-related jobs. It was published just a few years ago and includes information like job descriptions, salary ranges, best geographical locations, advancement prospects, prerequisites, education required and tips for entry. It includes info on all types of library jobs, but I was drawn to the special libraries chapter.

Carvell, Linda (2005). Library and Information. New York: Checkmark Books.

DJ said...

Thanks Amy for your wonderful input. I never realized how many different groups and organizations had created special libraries. And that is a wonderful suggestion for a book to obtain further info.