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Public libraries exist in most nations of the world and are often considered an essential part of having an educated and literate population. Public libraries are distinct from research libraries, school libraries, or other special libraries  in that their mandate is to serve the public's information needs generally (rather than serve a particular school, institution, or research population), as well as offering materials for general entertainment and leisure purposes. Public libraries typically are lending libraries, allowing users to take books and other materials off the premises temporarily; they also have non-circulating reference collections. Public libraries typically focus on popular materials such as popular fiction  and movies, as well as educational and nonfiction materials of interest to the general public; computer and internet access is also often offered.

In addition to print books and periodicals, most public libraries today have a wide array of other media including music CDs, movies on video tape and DVD, as well as facilities to access the Internet and inter-library reservations. Readers' advisory is a fundamental public library service that involves suggesting fiction and nonfiction titles (often called "readalikes"). Public libraries may also provide other services, such as community meeting rooms, storytelling for infants, toddlers, and children, or after-school programs. In person and on-line programs for reader development, language learning, homework help, free lectures and cultural performances, and other community service programs are common offerings. One of the most popular programs offered in public libraries are summer reading programs for children, families, and adults. In rural areas, the local public library may have, in addition to its main branch, a mobile library service, consisting of one or more buses furnished as a small public library, serving the countryside according to a regular schedule.

Public libraries also provide materials for children that include books, videos and DVDs, music CDs, and other materials (both fiction and nonfiction), often housed in a special section. Child oriented websites with on-line educational games and programs specifically designed for younger library users are becoming increasingly common. Public libraries may also provide services for other particular groups, such as large print or Braille materials, Books on tape, young adult literature and other materials for teenagers, or materials in other than the national language (in foreign languages).

Librarians at most public libraries provide reference and research help to the general public, usually at a reference desk but can often be done by telephone interview. As online discussion and social networking allow for remote access, reference is becoming available virtually through the use of the Internet and e-mail. Depending on the size of the library, there may be more than one desk; at some smaller libraries all transactions may occur at one desk, while large urban public libraries may employ subject-specialist librarians with the ability to staff multiple reference or information desks to answer queries about particular topics at any time during regular operating hours. Often the children's section in a public library has its own reference desk.

Public libraries in some countries pay authors when their books are borrowed from libraries. These are known as Public Lending Right programs.
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review by . June 23, 2011
posted in Green Living
I love public libraries and would keep them around if I were in charge.     That may sound like a common statement, but in my case it's quite a generous compliment. I'm one of those heartless, evil libertarians rightists keep saying are unpatriotic and leftists keep saying are racist. (And no, I'm not especially unpatriotic or racist. I can see the angle on the first one because I think nationalistic traditions are given far more relevance than they need and I hate the idea of …
review by . February 10, 2010
posted in Green Living
Public libraries are the ultimate reusable resource
Even in this age where reduce, reuse and recycle are three ideas that are on the minds of many, one place may get overlooked for it's green services. I'll give you a hint ...Shhh... if you enjoy books, like to save money and are an eco-conscious person look no further than your local public library. Instead of purchasing a book, see if your local public library has it in stock. As you probably know, when you are finished with the book, just return it and repeat the process.  The best part is …
review by . September 23, 2009
Library 2
Here is one of those rare subjects I think just about all of us can agree on.  The public library is an absolutely indispensible part of any thriving community,  Libraries serve people of every age group in a variety of ways.  You might think that here in the digital age public libraries may have become less relevant.  Exactly the opposite is true.  The fact of the matter is that public libraries are busier today than ever before.  …
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2010
posted in Green Living
Our library has DVDs and Blu-rays. Movies, documentaries. Self help. How-to. The library is networked with over 30 other libraries in the area, so I can get just about anything I want for free, delivered to my branch library. It's like having Netflix. I put holds on several items and wait to see which ones come in first. I do this for books, too. Here's an extra tip. Browse Amazon.com for new books, movies, TV shows on DVD, etc. Then go to the library site and reserve the ones you want. Some take …
Quick Tip by . July 11, 2010
Caption
I believe that all public libraries should be cited as national treasures and given the necessary funding to thrive and help nourish the communities to which they belong. Libraries are depositories of information and opinions. Support your local libraries through your patronage and volunteerism and support the intellectual growth of your town! Books = knowledge = advancement of the species. Gee, not very subtle about this one, am I?
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
i volunteered at a local library for the summer reading program. I got to meet all kinds of people and had a lot of fun reading the books for the story time hour. Public libraries are a good resource for everyone and they need to be better funded.
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Some need restoration,new books.
review by . February 17, 2010
WorldCat.org is the world library catalog. Use WorldCat to find books in libraries near you.      Tip: Most US public libraries will give you a library card if you live in the same state. Get cards from libraries in cities near you. Create accounts on their websites. Use WorldCat to find a book you want to read. Click through to a library near you that has the book. Reserve the book. They will put it on the Hold shelf for you to pick up.      Review of WorldCat.org …
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Jay-Niles Memorial Library, Jay ME
Public Libraries
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