Find Massachusetts libraries, such as state, town, city, public, private, college and university library branches. Libraries provide information on applications, borrowing books, ebooks, library programs, online databases and research.
A Library is an institution that stores and makes available collections of books, periodicals, electronic databases, and other information sources to either the general public or a specific group of patrons. Library collections may also include musical recordings, films, and other cultural materials. In addition to making their physical and electronic collections available to patrons, Libraries organize and sponsor a wide range of programs and activities that complement their collections.
Most Public Libraries are county or local government operations. While registration and a library card are usually required, access to most of the materials and services offered at a Public Library is generally free. Physical items may be borrowed and electronic materials accessed without an additional fee. While registration and the issuance of a card may be limited to residents of the jurisdiction served by a Public Library, most Libraries honor cards from other Public Libraries and many participate in programs that allow for inter-library loans. In larger jurisdictions, the Public Library may consist of a main Library building with additional satellite facilities referred to as Library Branches.
In addition to the general collections found in a Public Library, special collections may be available that emphasize local history and institutions or unique aspects of the community. Special collections may have value as historical artifacts and may not be available for circulation outside of the Library facility.
Public Libraries make computers available on site for patrons' research activities and to provide access to their electronic databases and publications. Public Libraries also frequently offer programs and services that support patrons in job searches, genealogy research, small business development, or legal research. Book readings by authors and a variety of entertainment events may also be presented, such as musical performances, poetry readings, and children's events.
Academic Libraries are typically housed at colleges and universities primarily for the benefit of students and faculty, though some may open their collections and services to residents of the surrounding communities.
State Libraries primarily serve as repositories for state documents to support research by state employees and legislators, though they are also open to the general public.