This article follows on an investigation conducted by the Unit for Library and Information Research of the Human Sciences Research Council in 1981 for the Department of National Education. The article is limited to a consideration of the aim and functions of national library services. Matters such as the organisation and management of these services, the pros and cons of centralisation and decentralisation in particular circumstances, bringing services into line with modern demands, problem areas in existing services, the raison d'être of national library and information advisory councils alongside the management councils of national library services, legislation of these services, etc. have been excluded from the discussion.
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