When most people think library, they almost always think books.
In the pre-internet world, libraries were the primary source of information for any topic under the sun. While the Internet has been evolving rapidly as the ultimate resource, libraries too have grown to provide more than just physical books and have extended their catalogs to e-books, audiobooks, and so much more.
And because our patrons sometimes need a physical library where they can check out materials or use licensed resources, we provide the following resources to help our patrons locate the nearest physical library to them, which could either be a(n) academic, digital, special, or public library.
libraries.org: A directory of libraries throughout the world
An international and searchable directory of library web catalogs. Offers many different ways to search for libraries. Maintained by Marshall Breeding, who is an independent consultant, speaker, and author. He was also the Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University till May 2012.
An easy-to-use and very library-friendly site offering a free searchable directory of public, state, presidential, college, and law libraries. Almost all the libraries listed are within the United States, but there is a listing of “National Libraries” as well.
Search for Public Libraries – Institute for Museum and Library Statistics (IMLS)
IMLS administers the Public Library Survey, which was formerly administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). From the information gathered, IMLS provides this excellent United States public library locator tool, which even lets you compare libraries.
Instead of searching for a library, WorldCat lets you search for books, videos, articles, and music in more than 10,000 library catalogs from around the world. Most recently, it also allows users to search for digital content like audiobooks. When you click on an item in your search, WorldCat senses your location (your IP address, really) and shows you the libraries closest to you with that item, often with links to that library’s homepage. One warning: the catalog information may not be up-to-date, although some libraries now use WorldCat as their catalog.
And If You Still Need Help…!
Libraries Around the World – from the ipl’s Resources by Subject Collection
The ipl has a great collection of links to state and national libraries around the world, along with some links that will provide additional assistance in finding a library inside and outside the United States.