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Collection of information resources in print or in other forms that is organized and made accessible for reading or study. The word derives from the Latin liber (book). The origin of libraries lies in the keeping of written records, a practice that dates at least to the 3rd millennium BC in Babylonia. The first libraries as repositories of books were those of the Greek temples and those established in conjunction with the Greek schools of philosophy in the 4th century BC. Today's libraries frequently contain periodicals, microfilms, tapes, videos, compact discs, and other materials in addition to books. The growth of on-line communications networks has enabled library users to search electronically linked databases worldwide. See alsolibrary science.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on library, visit Britannica.com.