Library: Definition and Types - QS Study
QS Study

Library is a room or building containing books for reading or reference. In general sense, however, the emphasis is on the collection of books, whether stationed under a roof or not. Libraries are divisible into three kinds-personal, public and institutional. The first type implies individual ownership and exclusive right of access. A private person of sufficient means, both out of thirst for reading and fashion may collect a series of books on different subjects and place them in a corner of his residence or office. Such a collection is called his library. Private libraries of real quality and use were owned in the past by British Lords and Zemindars and Maharajas of this sub-continent. Many of them possessed more and better books than some of our present college libraries. With the growth of industrial society, private library began to decay, until at last in our time the institution is nearly extinct. In western countries private library is, however, yet an index of culture and therefore, maintained by the cultured section of the industrial and commercial magnates. In our country small-scale private libraries are possessed by solvent middle-class people, particularly lawyers, officers and educationists.

The second type that is public library is the order of the day. It is to be seen in large number in every country. A public Library may comprise a fen hundreds of books and be housed. In a thatched cottage or posses lacs of valuable books and occupy one of the magnificent buildings of the land. Whatever as size and situation, a public library, by its nature, is open to the public in general. Accordingly it contains books of different varieties and subjects with a view to responding to the varying need and taste of its readers. Almost every country has its state-managed public libraries. The British Museum Library of London and the Central Library of Moscow are examples of this class. The primary function of a public library is to lend books but in any library worth the name there is spacious reading accommodation where readers mat sit with relax and study for hours together.

The third of the kind is the institutional library, as it may be called, because it is maintained by some institution- a college, university, union, club, government department etc.