UNIVERSITY libraries may be thought of both as general libraries and as agglomerations of special libraries, and, since even those which concentrate their collections in a single building have certain specialized subdivisions, each will be found to display both characteristics in greater or lesser degree. The problem of the University Librarian is not so much to reconcile these two points of view as to extract the greatest possible benefit from the divergence of technique which each connotes. Most librarians would be glad enough, if only for administrative reasons, to abolish their departmental libraries, each of which is of course in its own way a special library; but nearly all of us have them and it so happens that the University of Bristol has them in large numbers. Since Bristol is to have the honour of welcoming the Aslib Conference next autumn, a brief description of the library system of the University may be of interest to special librarians; and if this article says much about the past, something of the future, and but little of the present, the reason is that from some indication of what it has done and what it hopes to do some opinion may be formed of the value of what it is doing now—and that is a thing which all who attend the conference will be able to see and judge for themselves if they so desire.
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