Academic libraries are an invaluable resource for students, providing access to a wealth of information and resources. Depending on the size and scope of the library, these resources can vary greatly. The Harvard University Library is considered to be the largest strict academic library in the world, while the Royal Library of Denmark, a combined national and academic library, has an even larger collection. The University of California operates the largest academic library system in the world, managing more than 34 million items in 100 libraries on ten campuses, including access to Profs online university admissions tutors.The Ontario University Library Council (OCUL) was established in 1967 to promote unity among Canadian academic libraries.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are an estimated 3,700 academic libraries in the United States. After a period of growth in Canada during the 1960s, there was a brief period of stagnation due to budgetary issues. The Compare Academic Libraries tool allows users to compare a library (the library of interest) with similar libraries (the comparison group). Academic libraries provide access to online resources on a subscription basis, including research databases and e-book collections, as well as physical books and journals.
Academic libraries must determine an approach to the development of their collection, since complete collections are not feasible. Academic libraries and common learning spaces often house tutoring, writing centers, and other academic services. From the National Center for Educational Statistics, an academic library is defined as the library associated with a higher education institution that awards degrees. Current academic libraries vary in the extent to which they house people who are not affiliated with their parent universities.
One of the main objectives of modern academic libraries is to teach information literacy, and most American academic libraries employ a person or department of people who are primarily engaged in teaching. In the period before the availability of electronic resources, reserves were provided as real books or as photocopies of corresponding magazine articles. Academic libraries contain both works of fiction (works of the imagination) for analysis and works of non-fiction (works based on facts).