Education Bug - a complete listing of educational resources
PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRIVATE SCHOOLS SCHOOL DISTRICTS COLLEGES PUBLIC LIBRARIES JOBS BLOG RESOURCES


Follow EducationBug on Twitter

Library Services



This article provides information about library services such as circulation, references, children's collections, special collections, computer/Internet access, and other special programs. Be aware that not all libraries offer all of these services.

Because public libraries are those whose services most people are able to access, this article will survey the services that these institutions offer. These services include certain resources that are accessed on-site only, and others that allow patrons access to materials that may be removed from the premises.

Circulation

Circulation is one of the most important functions of the library. It allows a single copy of a work to be used by multiple patrons, who use their library card to borrow it for a pre-determined period. Often there is a small fine for each day the item is late in being returned and a replacement charge if it is not returned. Materials that circulate from libraries include books, magazines, video and audio recordings, and other items, such as games and toys from the children’s department.

One of the things that changed in the recession, according to a Harris Poll released in September, 2008, is that 2008 showed a relatively sharp increase in the number of library cards - the identification needed to take materials out from the library. As of 2008, 68% of all adults in the United States have library cards, up from 63% in 2006.

Although the percentage is very close across the entire range of income levels, difference show up across other dimensions. Seventy-five percent of college graduates and post-graduates have library cards, while only 61% of people with a high school education or less have them. And it’s interesting to note that only 63% of Independents and 67% of Republicans have library cards, while 71% of Democrats have them.

The Harris poll reported that people primarily borrowed books from the library, followed by CDs and videos. The following chart shows the states with the greatest number of materials per capita. The averages are 2.78 print materials per capita; 157.19 audio materials per 1,000 population; 158.67 video materials per 1,000 population; and 6.28 print subscriptions of serial publications per 1,000 population.

#

State

Number of Print Materials Per Capita

1

Maine

5.48

2

Nebraska

5.19

3

Massachusetts

5.04

4

Vermont

4.80

5

Kansas

4.72

6

Wyoming

4.72

7

New Hampshire

4.69

8

South Dakota

4.57

9

Indiana

4.46

10

Connecticut

4.42

#

State

Number of Audio Materials Per 1,000 population

1

Ohio

339.25

2

Indiana

279.15

3

New York

278.18

4

Wyoming

274.00

5

Utah

249.33

6

Illinois

229.43

7

Nebraska

227.70

8

Vermont

221.21

9

Wisconsin

221.19

10

Iowa

216.98

#

State

Number of Video Materials Per 1,000 population

1

Ohio

377.57

2

Indiana

307.13

3

Kansas

301.72

4

Vermont

272.29

5

Wisconsin

268.68

6

Alaska

266.45

7

Connecticut

264.92

8

Maine

242.81

9

Iowa

240.84

10

Wyoming

239.83

#

State

Number of Serial Subscriptions Per 1,000 population

1

Ohio

13.79

2

New Hampshire

13.30

3

Iowa

12.82

4

Vermont

12.13

5

Nebraska

11.83

6

New York

10.72

7

Indiana

10.42

8

Illinois

10.32

9

Kansas

10.27

10

Wisconsin

9.97

Notice that Vermont and Indiana are on all four lists.

Reference

The reference section of a library contains materials that are used within the library. Some of these items are characterized by being needed infrequently, and some are quite heavy or bulky. The types of materials in this section are encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, bibliographies, almanacs, atlases, concordances, telephone directories, handbooks and manuals, gazetteers, and directories.

Children’s Collection

Many libraries have a children’s collection, which often has subsets of materials including games and toys, audio and video materials, picture books, early readers, middle grades books, a non-fiction section, and young adult literature. Often, the children’s collection is in a special room or area that is arranged and decorated to make it welcoming and accommodating for its target audience. It is usually staffed by librarians with a specialty in children’s materials.

Special Collections

This title is used for collections of materials that are rare, unique, fragile, or particularly valuable for one reason or another. It could include original manuscripts, items of local origin or relating to the region, or rare books. A library’s special collection is kept separate from other materials, and this may serve a variety of purposes. The special collection may have restricted access, have certain conditions of use, or require housing in special areas in which, for example, temperature and humidity are controlled. Not every library has special collections.

Computer/Internet Access

From students doing homework assignments to citizens filling out tax forms to patrons accessing the library’s online catalog, computers have come to have an essential place in the library. Many libraries now have public computers, often with a sign-up and a specified time-limit so that this resource can be fairly shared by all who need it.

Special Programs

Libraries often offer special programs, including bookmobiles that bring library resources into neighborhoods that are far from the building. They may also offer summer reading programs to encourage children to keep up their reading during the summer, story hours, speakers, workshops, and other programs.

Sources

harvester.census.gov

ala.org