Bricks and Bytes: Libraries in Flux
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The community has had need for a building—especially if it is a national library—to denote symbolically as well as literally the existence of a national published archive, announcing that the nation has a history of achievement, invention, exploration, and industry. In London, the library concentrates on providing direct access to readers, usually through primary sources in reading rooms. The commercial and financial relationship between producers of information, publishers, libraries, and library users may also need to change. Librarians cannot realistically proceed without the support of publishers, and they need a model for deposit and access that will provide some benefits to publishers. In the traditional print-on-paper setting, libraries have played a key role in the democratic process as well as the scientific process by insuring that information is universally available. National libraries will continue to care for large and varied collections of books and written manuscripts.