“A house that has a
library in it has a soul”- Plato
“A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the
delivery room for the birth of ideas-A place where history comes to life”-
Library & Information Centre
is a place where the collection of information resources in print or in other
forms that is organized and made accessible for reading or study is kept.
International Organization for Standardization has defined library as
“irrespective of the title, any organized collection of printed books and
periodicals or of any other graphic or audio-visual materials, and the services
of a staff to provide and facilitate the use of such materials as are required
to meet the informational, research, educational or recreational needs of its
users”. (Krishan Kumar; 1987; 1)
Advances in Information Communication
Technology (ICT), particularly the World Wide Web (WWW) have seen the evolution
of the 4 automated library, electronic library, digital library, virtual
library, Hybrid library et
“A physical space such as a building, part of a building,
room or rooms or such a place having collection or collections of intellectual
or literary output of a society such as manuscripts, books, periodicals,
newspapers, pamphlets, written or printed records, tape, artifacts or any
literary and artistic materials for reading, reference, or lending
Initially, library was considered a storehouse of books. The main
function of a library was to preserve the human thought and knowledge of a
society. The ‘use’ or ‘utilization’ of the preserved knowledge was not evident.
But, as the society advanced, the use of the knowledge preserved in the
libraries became more evident.
Hence, the definition given by S. R. Ranganathan, father of
library science in India, is more appropriate from the perspective of use of
library material and its preservation. Ranganathan says “a library is a
public institution or establishment charged with the care of collection of
books and the duty of making them accessible to those who require to use
them”. Here, the term ‘book’ symbolizes the library collection which may
be books, periodicals, or any other material kept in a library.
The definition of a library, given by Ranganathan, helps us
understand the status of a library in the society. He designates the library as
a public institution. This status itself sets goals and objectives for a
library. Being a public institution, it has the responsibility to serve the
public without any reservation or biasness. Further, he says ‘care of
collection of books’ which refers to the organization, maintenance and
preservation aspects of the library materials so that it can serve the society
or community for a longer period.
library is therefore, a place where books are kept.
to S.R. Ranganathan “a
library is a public institution or establishment charged with the care of a
collection of books and the duty of making them accessible to those who require
the use of them.
to the New Encyclopedia Britannica which defines “Library is
a collection of books used for reading or study, or the building or room in
which such a collection is kept.
definition of library in the Dictionary for Library and Information Science given
as “Library is a collection or group of collections of books and/or
other materials organized and maintained for use (reading, consultation,
study, research, etc.).
A.L.A. Glossary of Library and
Information Science defines “Library is a collection of materials
organized to provide physical,
bibliographic and intellectual access to a target group, with a staff that is trained to provide sciences and programs
related to the information
needs of the target group”.
Library of today is more than a building or a room in which books are
kept. The contents of a modem library are diverse and most libraries of
today contain much more than books. They contain, besides books, graphic
and acoustic materials such as periodicals, pamphlets, reports,
newspapers, documents, manuscripts, photocopies, musical scores,
microfilms, maps, charts, atlases, etc. The library of today selects, collects
and also preserves. Simultaneously, it meets the demands of varying
tastes, environment etc.