Following the format of Fitzroy Dearborn's highly successful International Dictionary of Historic Places and International Dictionary of University Histories, the International Dictionary of Library Histories provides basic information for each institution - location and holdings - followed by an extensive (1,000-5,000 word) essay on its history as well as a Further Reading list. In addition, the dictionary includes introductory articles on the history of various types of libraries and a library history in various regions of the world.
The dictionary profiles more than 200 institutions from around the world, including the world's most important research libraries and other libraries with globally or regionally notable collections, innovative traditions, and significant and interesting histories. The essays take advantage of the growing scholarship of library history to provide insightful overviews of each institution, including not only the traditional values of these libraries but their innovations as well, such as developments in automated systems and electronic delivery.
The profiles will emphasize the unique materials of research in these institutions - archives, manuscripts, personal and institutional papers. The introductory articles on types of libraries include topics ranging from theological libraries to prison libraries, from the ancient to the digital.
An international team of more than 200 leading scholars in the field have contributed essays to the project.