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Definition: National libraries


National libraries are libraries which, irrespective of their title, are responsible for acquiring and conserving copies of all significant publications published in the country and functioning as a "deposit" library, either by law or under other arrangements. They may also normally perform some of the following functions: produce a national bibliography; hold and keep up to date a large and representative collection of foreign literature, including books about the country in which the library is situated; act as a national bibliographical information centre; compile joint catalogues; publish the retrospective national bibliography. Libraries called "national" but whose functions do not correspond to the above definition should not be placed in the "national libraries" category.
Final report of the LEG on cultural statistics in the EU, Eurostat Working Papers, 2000 Edition