Role of Libraries in Modern era, Shifting towards E-Resources

As social beings, we cultivate relationships with our family members, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues, among others. We invest efforts in enhancing these connections, striving to demonstrate the value of these relationships. Furthermore, we broaden our social network by establishing new connections.

In a parallel manner, institutions, including those of a social nature, maintain relationships with their customers, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders. They not only demonstrate their utility but also enhance their competency. This is particularly crucial for organizations, especially social entities funded by the public for public service.

Role of Libraries

The Five Laws of Library Science were formulated by Dr. S. R. Ranganathan, a renowned Indian librarian and mathematician. These laws serve as guiding principles for library professionals and are fundamental to the philosophy of library science. Here are the Five Laws of Library Science:

  1. Books Are For Use:
    • This law emphasizes the primary purpose of books and library resources, which is to be utilized by readers. The value of a book is realized only when it is actively used and serves the information needs of its readers.
  2. Every Reader His/Her Book:
    • This law suggests that libraries should strive to match every reader with the most suitable book. It underscores the idea that each individual has unique reading interests and needs, and the library’s role is to provide access to a diverse collection that caters to these varied preferences.
  3. Every Book Its Reader:
    • This law complements the second law by stating that every book has a potential audience or reader. It implies that libraries should aim to make books available to the readers who would find them relevant and useful, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive approach to library services.
  4. Save the Time of the Reader:
    • This law recognizes the importance of efficiency in library services. It encourages librarians to organize and catalog materials in a way that minimizes the time readers spend in locating the information they seek. The goal is to enhance the accessibility and usability of library resources.
  5. The Library Is a Growing Organism:
    • This law views the library as a dynamic and evolving entity. It highlights the need for libraries to continuously expand and update their collections to keep pace with the changing informational needs of their users. The library should adapt and grow to remain a vital resource in the community.

These laws provide a conceptual framework for librarians to ensure effective library services and user satisfaction. They are considered foundational principles in the field of library and information science.

Likewise, a library, being a social institution, nurtures relationships with its users, providing them with services, and with other libraries whose resources it utilizes.

Moving on to the discourse on library science, Dr. Ranganathan advocates for adopting a shop analogy in libraries to implement the laws of library science. The first law, “Books are for use,” is reinforced when libraries acknowledge that their existence is justified by the extent to which their books are utilized by readers. The third law, “Every book its reader,” underscores the importance of bringing books to users since books cannot move to their users.

To achieve this, libraries employ public relations and extension services to reach the community effectively. Extension services aim to increase the number of users and maximize the use of resources, while public relations inform the public about the library’s resources, services, and their significance.

The obligation of a library includes seeking feedback from users about its utility and service quality and expanding its reach by attracting new users and collaborating with other libraries.

Extension services encompass various programs such as reading initiatives, translation of manuscripts, reading circles, intellectual centers, library talks, exhibitions, story hours, festivals, fairs, displays of new books, mobile services, quiz programs, and the celebration of Books Week.

Public relations in libraries involve creating awareness and understanding among the public. It is a science through which libraries consciously fulfill their social responsibilities, gain public recognition, and secure approval for success. Public relations programs aim to create library consciousness, highlight the existence and services of libraries, and help individuals in their self-education.

The facets of library public relations include an overview of public wishes and aspirations, planning, library products, promoting the library, and web marketing. Various methods and techniques, such as press releases, news sheets, library bulletins, window displays, radio broadcasts, posters, personal talks, and library surveys, are employed in public relations programs.