Academic Library: Libraries in the educational institutions are concerned with the teaching and learning process experienced by specific communities.
a) Definition: A library which is an integral part of a college, university, or other post-secondary educational institution (higher education), administered to meet the needs of its students, faculty, and staff for scholarly information and research services is the academic library. Large college or university libraries often have separate libraries within individual academic departments or schools which have a collection devoted to their subject or discipline such as chemistry, mathematics etc.
i) College Library: The college library meets the legitimate needs and demand of all their users from senior teachers engaged in research to fresh students just entering. The library serves the reading, reference and research needs of the members of the college community.
ii) University Library: According to Donald Davinson library is the “soul” of a university, the sun around which all teaching revolves. The Radhakrishnan Commission in its report hailed the library as the very “heart of a university”, the “workshop of the scholar” and “the laboratory of the learned”.
b) Objectives: The general objectives of the academic libraries are:-
i) To serve the curricular, cultural and general education requirement of the academic community;
ii) To provide reference material at appropriate levels;
iii) To provide study areas of users;
iv) To provide a lending service appropriate to different types of users;
v) To provide an active information service.
These libraries are located on the campuses of colleges and universities and serve primarily the students and faculty of that institution and other academic institutions. Some academic libraries are also accessible to the general public in whole or in part, although borrowing privileges are often limited for users affiliated with the college or university only.
i) College Library: The college library aims to help young students in proper understanding of various disciplines, in preparing them for advanced studies, and for shouldering the higher responsibilities in future life. It also helps the students in getting acquainted with the library practices such as consulting catalogues, bibliographies, indexes, locating books, and other materials, etc.
ii) University Library: Its primary aim is to support the instructional and research programmes of the university and conservation of knowledge and ideas, teaching, research, publication, extension service and interpretation. The objective is to ultimately help produce leaders in the community in different fields of human activity- the inventors, discoverers and pioneers.
c) Collections: The collections of academic libraries reflect the courses offered and research undertaken within the institution. In recent times most of the academic libraries tend to use new computers, telecommunications equipment for access to the Internet, and online databases, E-Journal etc. Also as in the age of information explosion no college or university library can procure all published documents therefore the academic libraries can form a network on cooperative basis that would enable them to share the scarce and little-used materials required for advanced research.
i) College Library: The college libraries build up a balanced collection consisting of a wide variety of learning and teaching materials to satisfy varied curricular and extra-curricular activities of both students and teachers. The collections are selected and developed on the basis of educational philosophy and objectives of the institution, size and nature of the student body, size of the faculty and their needs for research materials. The collection includes text books and recommended books, books of advanced nature for teacher, a wide range of reference books, travelogues, biographies, learned periodicals.
ii) University Library: The collection of the university library includes materials to meet the needs of post-graduate students as well as resources of sufficient breadth and depth to support serious scholarship in all areas. The collection, in fact, embraces a wide variety of subjects for learning, teaching, research and publishing. It provides a general collection, rare materials, newspapers and periodicals, government publications, special materials such as theses, dissertations, archives, clipping, visual and audio-visual materials, digital objects, and so on.
d) Services: The academic library plays a central role in the academic work of students and faculty at colleges and universities and is often considered the most important resource of the institution of higher education. As students and faculty at colleges and universities may wish to conduct research within any conceivable academic discipline, the collections of academic libraries usually reflect a vast range of interests and formats. It has both a comprehensive collection to support formal or class room teaching as well as bears a representative collection of different research activities. Some of the universities maintain the largest libraries in the world.
Because of the complexity, range, and diversity of formats and information in academic libraries, they frequently offer orientation, library tour programs to introduce incoming students and faculty to the institution’s library services. These programs are designed to teach new users the effective ways to make use of a variety of reference tools and library search mechanisms. Even in some parts of the United States, college accreditation agencies require institutions to offer library-sponsored courses on information retrieval and evaluation.
i) College Library: The basic function of the college library is to assist its parent institution to carry out its programmes. It must serve the needs and requirements of teachers and students towards reading, study and research. Its educative function includes- providing materials to the college community, making materials easily accessible, arranging orientation programmes in the use of the library, providing bibliographical information to the faculty, arranging inter-library loan, and similar others.
ii) University Library: The university libraries provide ready access to materials and facilities such as translation, typing, photocopying. In an effort to provide more efficient service the university library often participates in co-operative undertaking in networking, consortia, interlibrary lending, co-operative and centralized cataloguing and compilation of bibliographies. By accumulating and organizing materials, the library serves as an invaluable aid in the conservation of knowledge and as an active force in teaching, research and extension programme of the university. It also provides a variety of library documentation and information services necessary for the success of the formal programmes of instruction. It also participates in the interpretative function of the university through assistance to the faculty and research staff.