A library is a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both. A library’s collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps,prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items. In Latin and Greek, the idea of bookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē (Greek: βιβλιοθήκη): derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.
The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing—the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered inSumer, some dating back to 2600 BC. Private or personal libraries made up of written books appeared in classical Greece in the 5th century BC. In the 6th century, at the very close of the Classical period, the great libraries of the Mediterranean world remained those of Constantinople and Alexandria.
A library is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution, a corporation, or a private individual. Public and institutional collections and services may be intended for use by people who choose not to—or cannot afford to—purchase an extensive collection themselves, who need material no individual can reasonably be expected to have, or who require professional assistance with their research. In addition to providing materials, libraries also provide the services of librarians who are experts at finding and organizing information and at interpreting information needs. Libraries often provide quiet areas for studying, and they also often offer common areas to facilitate group study and collaboration. Libraries often provide public facilities for access to their electronic resources and the Internet. Modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources. They are extending services beyond the physical walls of a building, by providing material accessible by electronic means, and by providing the assistance of librarians in navigating and analyzing very large amounts of information with a variety of digital tools.
Laredo (// lə-ray-doh; Spanish: [laˈɾeðo]) is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 236,091, making it the tenth-most populous city in the state of Texas and third-most populated on the Mexico–United States border, after San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas. Its metropolitan area is the 178th-largest in the U.S. and includes all of Webb County, with a population of 250,304. Laredo is also part of the cross-border Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area with an estimated population of 636,516.
Because Laredo is 95.6 percent Hispanic and Latino, it is one of the least ethnically diverse cities in the United States. When economic diversity, household diversity and social class diversity, are considered, Laredo is rated the 19th least diverse city overall out of the 313 largest cities in the nation.
Laredo’s economy is based on international trade with Mexico. Most major transportation companies have a facility in Laredo. The city’s location on the southern end of I-35 close to the manufacturers in northern Mexico promotes its vital role in trade between the two nations. Laredo International Airport is within the Laredo city limits, while the Quetzalcoatl International Airport is nearby in Nuevo Laredo on the Mexican side.