The root-meaning of the world library is a room or a building containing a collection of books for reading purpose. The word Library derives from the Latin word liber, which means “book”. However, as there are now circulating or traveling libraries in many countries, the word has undergone a change in its meanings. By the word is now indicated a collection of books for reading and references.
There are four types of libraries: personal, public, institutional, and digital.
A personal library is one which belongs to a person, generally of sufficient means. Such libraries grow out of a person’s taste for knowledge and, sometimes for fashion. There are many people who own private libraries. Such libraries contain books on some particular subject or subjects chosen according to the taste and interest of their owners. Holbrook Jackson has said, “Your library is your portrait.”
A public library is one which is open to the public. In order to cater to the taste and interest of all classes of people, a public library has to contain books on diversifies subjects. Such libraries may be seen in large number in every country. Most of the libraries are managed subsidized by their state.
An institutional library is one which belongs to an institution such as university, college, school, chamber of commerce, or a governmental department. Such library is open only to the members of the institution concerned and, therefore, generally contains books which are needed by them.
A digital library has erupted as a new type of library, a decade ago. In the work of technological advancement, people are more inclined to digital libraries as such libraries can be accessed from anywhere by the means of internet. These libraries have extended collection of e-books on diversified subjects and topics.
As acquisition of knowledge depends mostly on reading, man has to read as necessarily as he has to eat. And Henry Ward Beecher has correctly said that “A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” Reading adds to what has been learned. It makes man strong and fit for the rude battles of life.
Libraries attract people to read and thus create the habit of reading and stimulating the thirst for acquiring more and more knowledge. The libraries help in the advancement of learning and expansion of knowledge.
The library has another very important use. No research work is possible without a well-equipped library containing valuable books of all ages, rare manuscripts, and old records. A library of this type is thus of incalculable help in throwing light on unearthed subjects.
Time passes in an unbroken continuity, as does the water of the river. The books of the libraries are a record of this continuity. Libraries, thus, enable us to know how human society has developed in thought and action, step by step.