Traditional libraries house printed materials such as books, periodicals and magazines. Many modern libraries include resource centers that offer expanded multimedia tools. Resource centers can also stand alone to serve a specific profession or group. For instance, independent teacher resource centers are commonly available to educators for researching, creating and developing class materials.

Traditional Libraries

Today's libraries usually include Internet and computer access.
Today's libraries usually include Internet and computer access.

Libraries are defined as institutions existing to provide reading materials and educational enlightenment. Public libraries offer free access to books, films, music, digital books, reference materials, study areas and other resources. Specialized libraries, such as law and medical libraries, cater to specific groups with concentrated materials. Modern libraries also include computer terminals for online research and use.

Independent Resource Centers

Teachers use resource centers to prepare for their classes.
Teachers use resource centers to prepare for their classes.

Resource centers can exist independent of a library. For example, teacher resource centers provide multimedia tools such as computers, video equipment, laminating machines, copiers, and art supplies. Educators can craft visual displays, develop lesson plans and polish instructional designs in a teacher's resource center.

Public Library and Resource Centers

Services, such as faxing, are offered at library resource centers.
Services, such as faxing, are offered at library resource centers.

Combined public library and resource centers intertwine traditional library offerings with enhanced public services. Books and printed materials are linked in the same buildings with resources for faxing, Internet connectivity, and even things such as notary public services.

Specialized Library Resource Centers

Some libraries and resource centers serve specific communities.
Some libraries and resource centers serve specific communities.

Some libraries are linked to resource centers for highly specialized purposes. For example, the State of Virginia has a library for the visually impaired. It includes such things as braille reading materials and audio books. The library also offers extended specialized services such as Braille note-takers, software for the visually impaired, folding canes and Braille paper.