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The Library: Knowledge Centre of the Past, Present and Future


Admission requirements



This multi-faceted course will survey the full range of the library’s tasks today. Through all its historical transformations the library has always remained a crucial centre for the collection, storage and dissemination of knowledge. Topics will be treated by experts in the field and include the theory and practice of collection development, storage, access and (financial) management; information services; the history of libraries; library materials (from manuscripts to printed and electronic documents); the digital back office; research and development; digitisation and copyright and licensing issues.

Course objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the position of libraries in the information age

  • Gain a broad understanding of the development of libraries and their tasks and materials in the past, present and future

  • Gain an understanding of the four main tasks of a library: acquisition, cataloguing, preservation and providing access

  • Getting familiar with the digital back office

  • Gain a broad understanding of current issues: digitisation, library finances, copyright, licensing principles


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.

Assessment method

A review (25%) and a final paper (75%).



Reading list

To be announced.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply


Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Co-ordinator of Studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.