While the concept and term 'special library' came into use only in the early 1900s, the very first libraries in the world were what we would today recognize as special libraries.
"All libraries are special, but some are more special than others".
~ J. Leide
What is a special library? Why is one library more special than others?
Over the years, many definitions of special libraries have emerged and varied means of identification. Collection size, narrow fields of interest, staff size and an emphasis on personalized service have all been used at one time or another as identifiers.