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In the traditional sense of the word, a library is a collection of books and periodicals. It can refer to an individual's private collection, but more often it is a large collection that is funded and maintained by a city or institution. This collection is often used by people who choose not to, or cannot afford to, purchase an extensive collection themselves. However, with the collection or invention of media other than books for storing information, many libraries are now also repositories and access points for maps, prints or other artwork, microfilm, microfiche, audio tapes, CDs, LPs, video tapes and DVDs, and provide public facilities to access CD-ROM databases and the Internet.
Thus, modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources. More recently, libraries are understood as extending beyond the physical walls of a building, providing assistance in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of knowledge with a variety of digital tools.
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