University and college libraries have the common quality of being academic institutions whose responsibilities consist wholly or partly in catering for students under instruction. There are nevertheless considerable differences between the functions, and consequently between the architectural requirements, of a university library, restricted in its ambitions only by the possible future needs of a mixed academic society, and those of a college library, with its smaller size and more limited scope. Disregarding youth and poverty as irrelevant to the present purpose, these limitations of scope and size may result either from a less advanced or a more specialized curriculum, or from a combination of both conditions. But in spite of this contrast it would be misleading to treat the needs of colleges as wholly divergent from those of universities, because the possibility of development ought to be kept constantly in view. The recent history of modern university libraries in the British Isles can be summarized as progress from collegiate architecture and administration to a status nearly resembling that of the great national libraries, under the almost universal handicap of want of foresight on the part of the original planners.
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