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I wouldn’t start from here … provision and use of UK libraries

Claire Creaser

Introduction

The question ‘How many libraries are there in the UK?’ is, on the surface, a simple one. It is not simple to answer, however, as there is no simple definition of what is a ‘library’. The Oxford English Dictionary definition begins, ‘a place set apart to contain books for reading, study, or reference’,1 but goes on for several paragraphs to incorporate the collection itself, circulation functions and materials other than books. This is perhaps a necessary definition, but may not be a sufficient one, as the concept of the ‘library’ has become much wider than this in the digital age, with virtual libraries and provision of information of all kinds increasingly ...

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