University libraries in the United States

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The United States contains some of the largest academic libraries in the world. Among the most notable collections are those at Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University, the University of California, and the University of Texas. Many others were founded more recently, and are consequently on a much smaller scale.

Contents

History

The first colleges in the United States were intended to train members of the clergy. The libraries associated with these institutions largely consisted of donated books on the subjects of theology and the classics. In 1766, Yale had approximately 4,000 volumes, second only to Harvard. [1] Access to these libraries was restricted to faculty members and a few students: the only staff was a part-time faculty member or the president of the college. [2] The priority of the library was to protect the books, not to allow patrons to use them. In 1849, Yale was open 30 hours a week, the University of Virginia was open nine hours a week, Columbia University four, and Bowdoin College only three. [3] Students instead created literary societies and assessed entrance fees in order to build a small collection of usable volumes often in excess of what the university library held. [3]

Around the turn of the century, this approach began to change. The American Library Association was formed in 1876, with members including Melville Dewey and Charles Ammi Cutter. Libraries re-prioritized in favor of improving access to materials, and found funding increasing as a result of increased demand for said materials. [4]

Academic libraries today vary in regard to the extent to which they accommodate those who are not affiliated with their parent universities. Some offer reading and borrowing privileges to members of the public on payment of an annual fee; such fees can vary greatly. The privileges so obtained usually do not extend to such services as computer usage, other than to search the catalog, or Internet access. Alumni and students of cooperating local universities may be given discounts or other consideration when arranging for borrowing privileges. On the other hand, access to the libraries of some universities is absolutely restricted to students, faculty, and staff. Even in this case, they may make it possible for others to borrow materials through inter-library loan programs.

Libraries of land-grant universities generally are more accessible to the public. In some cases they are official government document repositories and so are required to be open to the public. Still, members of the public are generally charged fees for borrowing privileges, and usually are not allowed to access everything they would be able to as students.

Largest academic libraries

The 20 largest academic libraries in the United States by number of volumes, in millions:

RankInstitutionLibrary Holdings (Volumes, millions) (2019) [5]
1 Harvard University 19.287
2 University of Michigan 15.739
3 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign 15.251
4 Yale University 14.890
5 Columbia University 14.520 [a 1]
6 University of California, Los Angeles 13.729
7 University of California, Berkeley 12.939
8 University of Chicago 12.315
9 University of Texas at Austin 11.877
10 University of Wisconsin-Madison 11.697
11 Indiana University Bloomington 10.921
12 Princeton University 10.150
13 Cornell University 10.006
14 University of Washington 9.500
15 Pennsylvania State University 9.237
16 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 9.175
17 Ohio State University 8.937
18 University of Colorado 8.877
19 University of Pennsylvania 8.680
20 New York University 8.619

See also

Footnotes

  1. Columbia University Libraries is closely affiliated with Barnard Library of Barnard College, the Gottesman Libraries of Teachers College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary Library, whose collections total to over one million volumes, but are not included in the ARL count.

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Academic library

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The University of British Columbia Library is the library system of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The library is one of the 124 members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). In 2017, UBC Library ranked 29th among members of the ARL for the number of volumes in library, making it the third largest Canadian academic library after the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta. However, UBC Library ranked 23rd for the titles held and second in Canada, and had a materials expenditures of $13.8 million, placing it 44th.

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Michigan State University Libraries

Michigan State University Libraries is the academic library system of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. The library system comprises nine branch locations including the Main Library. As of 2015-16, the MSU Libraries ranked 26th among U.S. and Canadian research libraries by number of volumes and 11th among U.S. and Canadian research libraries by number of titles held.

Mary J. Booth Library, named after University Librarian Mary Josephine Booth, serves the students, faculty and staff of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

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University of Toronto Libraries

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind only Harvard and Yale. The system consists of 44 libraries located on University of Toronto's three university campuses: St. George, Mississauga and Scarborough. This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of 215 graduate programs, over 60 professional programs, and more than 700 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million print volumes in 341 languages, the library system currently provides access to 150,467 journal titles, millions of electronic resources in various forms and almost 30,000 linear metres of archival material. More than 150,000 new print volumes are acquired each year.

University of Chicago Library

University of Chicago Library is the library system of the University of Chicago, located on the university's campus in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the tenth largest academic library in North America, with over 11.9 million volumes as of 2019. The library also holds 65,330 linear feet of archives and manuscripts and 245 terabytes of born-digital archives, digitized collections, and research data.

Texas Tech University academics

Texas Tech University, often referred to as Texas Tech or TTU, is a public, coeducational, research university in Lubbock, Texas, United States. Texas Tech offers 150 bachelor's, 104 master's, and 59 doctoral degree programs through 11 academic colleges, a graduate school and a school of law.

Princeton University Library Main library system of Princeton University

Princeton University Library is the main library system of Princeton University. With holdings of more than 7 million books, 6 million microforms, and 48,000 linear feet of manuscripts, it is among the largest libraries in the world by number of volumes. The main headquarters of the university system is the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library building, named after tire magnate Harvey Firestone. Additionally, Princeton is part of the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) along with Columbia Libraries, Harvard Library and New York Public Library.

University of Minnesota Libraries

The University of Minnesota Libraries is the library system of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, operating at 13 facilities in and around Minneapolis–Saint Paul. It has over 7 million volumes and 119,000 serial titles that are collected, maintained and made accessible. The system is the 17th largest academic library in North America and the 20th largest library in the United States. While the system's primary mission is to serve faculty, staff and students, because the University is a public institution of higher education its libraries are also open to the public.

Jane Bancroft Cook Library

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The Boston Library Consortium (BLC) is an academic library consortium based in the Boston area with nineteen member institutions across New England.

References

  1. Budd, John M. (1998). The Academic Library: its context, its purpose, and its operation . Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited. pp.  30–31.
  2. McCabe, Gerard; Ruth J. Person (1995). Academic Libraries: their rationale and role in American higher education . Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp.  1–3.
  3. 1 2 Budd (1998), p. 34
  4. McCabe (1995), pp. 1-3.
  5. Mian, Anam; Roebuck, Gary (2020). ARL Statistics 2018-2019. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries. p. 45.