The library is a space where a cultural record of the past and present is preserved and maintained.
The word library derives from the Greek composed of the prefix biblio- which means “book” and the suffix -teca that refers to a “closet”.
Libraries were a place where books were kept. It was only after the construction of the Alexandria library in the third century BC that libraries are transformed into an instrument designed to preserve the memory of humanity intact. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans wanted to print a cosmopolitan and tolerant ideal to this place of knowledge.
Today, the function of libraries is to facilitate user access to knowledge, create and maintain a coherent and orderly collection and encourage the creation of new cultural records.
The research function of libraries is based on four fundamental pillars:
- The conservation and preservation of the collection whose responsibility is the curator.
- The commitment to research and learning.
- The publication that includes the reproduction of a material and the participation in editorial processes.
- The creation and administration of spaces for users and collections.
The virtual or online library follows the same guidelines of a library but its collection is digitized or electronic support, such as eBooks. It is also characterized by not having a physical space to receive its users.
How a library is organized
Libraries are organized intellectually and visually generally by a librarian. The library’s collection includes documents with different media such as printed documents, audiovisual documents, computer and electronic documents.
The library collection has a spatial organization according to the type of document support. Printed books or documents are classified by genres and categories defined by the librarian. Some examples are:
- Contemporary narrative
- Universal history
- Exact Sciences
- Latin American literature
The libraries also have within their collection a section called reference works where they are grouped, in an accessible and wide place, reference material such as: dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlas, yearbooks, statistics, among others. This section must be constantly updated so as not to lose relevance.