Library Science

Brief overview of Different Library Services

Library Services:

A library is a service provider institution and the university library is no exception to it. University library is spring of knowledge and information provided will always be valued at a premium. In the modern significantly and socially vigilant society, especially when the grains of right to information are gaining much currency, the university libraries are sanguinely expected to be more responsive and interactive with their users.

The library service which brings the staff in contact with users to provide right information at right time and to help them in the finding out resources and providing required information should be emphasized.

Various kinds of services offered by libraries are:

1. Circulation Operation:

One of the prime functions of a university library is the circulation of documents or lending of library materials. Every library executes it and intends to satisfy its users’ Helen Geer has advocated that while embarking on a circulation system for a library it should be evaluated on the parameter of cost involved in its organization and administrations, improvement in reader’s service and reduction in costly records.

From the beginning to on-wards the world of librarianship has brought out following systems:

(i) Ledger system;

(ii)Permanent slip or card system;

(iii) Browne charging system;

(iv) Newark charging system;

(iv) Detroit charging system;

(v) Token charging system;

(vi) Photographic charging system;

(vii) Audio-charging system;

(viii) Visual-record charging system;

(ix) Tab charging system;

(x) Double call slip charging system; and

(xi) Computer-based charging system.


2. Reference Service:

According to Ranganathan, right contact means, contact between the right reader and the right book at the right time and in the right personal way„ “He is of the view that the establishment of such a contact is “the only available and effective method” of discharging the function of converting the users into habitual users. He has named that method as reference service. Thus, he adds that “Reference service is the establishing of contact between reader and book by personal service. Here emphasis is laid on personal service to each user to help him to find documents. Rothstein similarly defines it as “personal assistance given by the librarian to the individual reader in pursuit of information”. According to Hutchins, “Reference work includes the direct, personal aid within a library to persons in search of information for what ever purpose, and also various library activities especially aimed at making information as easily available as possible. A university library is supposed to perform the following functions: Teaching, research, publication, conservation of knowledge and ideas, extension and service, and interpretation. A university library is a sub-set of a university establishment. Thus, it exists to provide the objectives of its parent organization. In other words a university library should intend to spur up the function. The clientele mainly consists of students, teachers and research scholars. The requirement of the users is diverse-oriented. The service to be provided is listed below:

i. Instruction in the use of the library,

ii. Provision of general and specific information,

iii. Assistance in the location (or searching) of documents or use of library catalogue understanding of reference books,

iv. Literature search,

v. Reader’s advisory service,

vi. Compilation of bibliographies, preparation of indexing and abstracting service.

vii. Reservation of documents: In case a document has not been loaned, then a user who needs it can get it reserved, so that when the document is returned then the user can be informed and he can get it issued.

viii. Inter library loan: Inter-library loan refers to request for a document not available in the library. Whatever might be the nature of a library, but it should take advantage of borrowing books from other libraries.

ix. Holding of library exhibitions including display of new additions to the library, x. Maintenance of clippings, and

xi. Maintenance of vertical files containing pamphlets like prospectuses, report? etc.

The kinds and nature of reference services to be facilitated would hinge upon curriculum research programs, methodology of teaching and objective of university education.

3. Information Service:

The term information service has a wide ambit and is not restricted to a specific item of information provided on demand but also the provision of information in advance. There are numerous modes to forecast and predict the actual demand. Users approach to seeking information may cover bulletins, bibliographies, documentation lists, document delivery, annual reports, literature surveys, CAS, SDI, On-line searching, reports, etc.

Information service is prime activity in any kind of library. In university library, it is indispensable for researcher as well as faculty members and students.

4. Bibliographic Service:

Bibliography, today indicate a gamut of documents but mainly material arranged in a logical way to fulfill the needs on demand of users. The Oxford English Dictionary defines bibliography as the systematic description and history of books, their authorship, printing, publishing, editions, etc. To Esdaile, the bibliography was the art of recording books, and the science of making of books and their extant record. The usual attribute of these descriptions is that bibliographies list books in a systematic way to reveal the source of knowledge. The scope of marshaling of bibliographic records has been widened with the application of information technology. A bibliography is reduced by numerous limitations so as to restrict its size to a handy book form. There are no such constraints for electronic storage of bibliographic records. A bibliography may cover only a few thousand citations of books, but a database provides for unlimited scope. These are known to cover millions of such records and are updated at regular intervals; computers have assisted in compilation of bibliographic data through its transfer to electronic storage.

The bibliographies are distinguished in the character and in function. There are various types of bibliography available to fulfill the needs of their users.

i. Subject Bibliography.

ii. Historical Bibliography.

iii. Descriptive Bibliography.

iv. Comprehensive Bibliography.

v. Universal Bibliography, etc.


5. Abstracting Service:

The modern era is christened as era of information age, there is no branch of knowledge where so much of quantum of information has been generated. Therefore huge sources are documented but it creates problem of not only organizing the knowledge but also in selection of quality and important information products. An abstracting service intends to facilitate the summarization of new documents and inform the users about the topical areas of interest to them. The various kinds of abstracts are recognized by their scope on coverage. The commonly known abstracts are indicative and informative. Other kinds of abstracts are author abstract, locative abstract, telegraphic obstruct, auto abstract and, etc.

6. Indexing Service:

With the escalation in quantity and complexity of published literature, and with the awakening that information is of paramount significance for research, socio-economic development and decision-making, the utility of an Index has garnered wide acceptance sizeable improvement in quality and design of an index have been made to match the varied requirements of the users and in tandem act as a forceful communication link between the source of information and the user of information.

An index is an organized tool to the text of any reading matter or to the contents of other collected documentary materials, covering a series of entries, with headings shaped in alphabetical or other chosen order, and with references to reveal where each item indexed are located. Thus, it is cogently perceived that an index is a list systematically arranged providing enough details about each item, so that it can be figured and brought out.

There are various types of indexes:

i. Book indexes,

ii. Indexes of collections,

iii. Periodical indexes,

iv. Newspapers indexes,

v. Citation indexes

7. Current Awareness Service (CAS):

The researchers, students and faculty members are required to be abreast of the latest development in their respective areas to remain updated and to sustain the challenges of fast-growing competitive environment. Pertinent current information is available in newsletters, newspapers, journals and other micro-documents.

Vickery defines CAS as “more frequently and more adequately met by circulation than by retrieving current journals, newly received books and reports, abstract bulletins and the like being fed and scanned by users”. The Librarians

Glossary defines CAS as “a system, and often a publication, for notifying current documents to users of libraries and information services, e.g. selective dissemination services, bulletin, indexing service, current literature”.

8. Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI):

The term SDI was coined by Hans Peter Luhn for the first time in 1959. A service which is personal rather than common; it has evolved out of the development of key term indexes. Viewed as a ‘Personalized CAS’ SDI serves high interest areas. Luhn defines SDI as the service concerned with the “channeling of new ideas of information from whatever source to those points within the organization where the probability of usefulness, in connection with current work of interest, is high.

The SDI encapsulate a strategy to prepare users services manual and computerized methods are in operation mainly depending upon the level of automation of library services.

9. Reprographic Services:

The term reprography was used for the first time in 1954 as a generic term for all kinds of facsimile reproduction of documents, covering in its scope, processes and techniques related with photo copying, micro copying, blue printing, electro coping, thermo copying dycline reproduction, etc. In earlier times, all these processes and technique were called a copying which without doubt was wider in is ambit and did encompass copy-typing and duplicating in the offices, photocopying in the libraries and blueprinting in drawing office. According to Bose reprographic service is a group of mechanical devices whereby one or multiple copies of a document can be made through copying and duplicating process. But reprography covers not only devices but processes and techniques and also includes mechanical along with photographic, thermal and electronic processes too. Hawken’s defining is easy to appreciate. He states reprography as a term applied to draw attention to the copies of processes and methods applied for both copying and duplicating documents. The role of reprography is instrumental in communication. In the modern era, where there is aggrandizement of information, reprography facilities an information scientist to bring home to researcher, rightly at his desk, the literature pertinent to his area of subject from numerous sources.

10. Translation Service:

The development of nation hinges on the maximum usage of information within the length and breadth of country and outside.

There are numerous languages which have documented the pace of progress and achievement in various arenas of knowledge, western countries made significant scientific advances in the 20th century mainly in languages like English, German and French. In recent years, Japan has been acknowledged as bigwig in areas of economics and information. It is calculated that more than half of the global scientific and technical literature consist of 1.5 million items in languages other than English. A scientist prefers to use a document in his own language which will assist in applying it more conveniently. The way-out of the problem is to develop adequate infrastructure for getting the intended document-changed into a language familiar to the user. In university library milieu, this service is pertinent for researcher mainly for scientific research.

11. CD-ROM (Computer Disc-Read Only Memory) Service:

CD-ROM is one of the storage media developed due to information explosion has well as the urgency for quicker processing and accessing of information. CD-ROM is known to be revolution in information media. CD-ROM technology has proven itself as blessing for libraries in facilitating library service to the users. CD-ROM is more accessible for searching the information and as, it occupies less space and has large storing capacity, it is more suited for university libraries.70

12. On-line Services:

On-line system is also a revolution, in which the user is provided a seat at a terminal connected to database and has the capacity in interact with computer, shaping search strategy on the basis of response and the searcher has quick access to the database. The user can interrogate the computer directly. The output can be printed out or displayed on the screen. The computer acts as storage place for accumulation of information. Online indicate that users have access to information though the usage of video display and keyboard. The user can operate the keyboard, give the commands and the outcome can be revealed on video display or cathode ray tube. If the user read printed record then he has to push a button and record will be printed out. If the user has numerous indexes and abstracts available to search at a computer terminal, the contents of all those indexes and abstract is known as data-base.


  • Khan, A. M. (2009). Collection development, organization and services of central universities libraries in U P.
  • Geer, Helen Thoranton (1955),Charging Systems, ALA, Chicago, p. 4.
  • Ranganathan, S. R. (1961),Reference Service,2nd ed., Asia Publication, Bombay, p.68.
  • Hutchins, Margaret (1944),Introduction to Reference Work,American Library Association, Chicago, p. 10.
  • Esdaile A. (1969),Esdaile’s, Manual of Bibliography,Allen and Unwin, London.
  • Vichery,B.C. (1965),On Retrieval System Theory,Buterworths, London, p. 154
  • Harrod’s Librarians Glossary (1984), 5th ed. Grower pub. USA.
  • Luhn, H. P. (1961), “Selective Dissemination of New Scientific Information witii the Aid of Electronic Processing Equipment”,American Documentation,Vol. 12No.4, pp. 131-138.
  • Bose, H. (1972), “Reprography in Documentation”, in Goyal, S. P. (Ed.),Indian Librarianship, Scientific Books Store, Delhi, p. 29.
  • Hawken’s William R. (1966),Copying Methods Manual, ALA, Chicago, p. 35

Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *