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Information Literacy in the Digital Age by Melissa Wright, Teresa Welsh

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Library literacy: history, types, and roles

Libraries are the memories of mankind. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Early libraries

To understand what a library is, it is useful to know the history of libraries, how they developed over time, and what traditions of the early libraries continue in modern libraries. The word library is from the Latin liber, meaning ‘book,’ and a library has traditionally meant a collection of books.

The related term archive is from the Greek archeia, or place of archeion, a public office. The origin of the root word indicates it was originally a storehouse of government records. The Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science (ODLIS)1 defines archive as a storage facility that preserves historical, informational, ...

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