Rare Book and Special Collections in Overview: Producing a National Directory

Karen Attar


Describing library collections by location is nothing new. In the mid-nineteenth century, Luther Farnham published A Glance at Private Libraries, about libraries in the Boston area of the United States. Reginald Arthur Rye produced his highly praised Students’ Guide to the Libraries of London in England just over fifty years later. That we, no less than our forebears, value such discovery tools collocating collections is evident from their continued publication, whether in print or, more recently, electronic form. National, annual library directories still produced include The American Library Directory. In Britain, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)’s Libraries and Information Services in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, a list of libraries by sector with contact details, remains available.

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