GeneralLibrary Science

Functions and objectives of special library

Special Library


In 20th century with the development of industrial, technological and scientific advances the concept of special libraries came in to existence. The growing need for specialized information further development and research came to play a vital role in the expansion of special libraries.
Special Library is a library, which collects updated and comprehensive information on the subject concerned with the parent organization and disseminate this information promptly to the people associated with the organization on demand and in anticipation. Besides this, one other factor is that a special library developes its major collection on some special subject or field.
American Library Association (ALA) glossary of library and Information Science- special library is “a library established, supported and administered by a business firm, private corporation, association, government agency, or other special interest group of agency to meet the information needs of its members or staff in pursuing the goals of the organization. Scope of collections and services is limited to the subject interest of the host or parent organization.”

“A library or information center, maintained by an individual, corporation, association, government agency or any other groups; or, a specialized or departmental collection within a library.”- Harrods Librarian Glossary.

Special library may be define as ” A library established, supported and administered by a business firm, private corporation, association, government agency or other special interest group or agency to meet the information needs of its members or staff in pursuing the goals of the organization. scope of collections and services is limited to subject interest of the host or parent organization.”

Special Library
For example: National Science Library, National Library of Medicine, Libraries of government and non-government organizations like Parliament Library etc.

Objectives of Special Library:

The main objectives of a special library are as follows:
1. It serves the information needs of its parent body;
2. It disseminates updated and significant information in the concerned field;
3. It gives pinpointed information promptly;
4. It provides desired information to its users on demand and mostly in anticipation;
5. The users also get new ideas and inspiration to initiate new projects.

Functions of special library:

A special library performs primarily the following functions:
  • It selects and procures documents and other sources of relevant information;
  • It processes the procured information or documents with the help of classification, cataloguing, shelf arrangements etc. to make them easily available for the users;
  • It subscribes to a good number of journals related to its area;
  • It provides indexing and abstracting services to the users to save their time;
  • It provides reference services to the users by telephone, by post or by email;
  • It gives current awareness service (CAS) regarding new arrivals and latest services to the users;
  • It provides Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) services to the users as per their subject interest and requirement;
  • It also gives document delivery service to its user;
  • It brings out library bulletins weekly/ fortnightly/ monthly to keep the users up to date with latest information;
  • It gives translation services to provide the desired information to the users in their convenient language;
  • It also provides internet as well as internet facility to the users in order to access the library collection and catalogue at their desktop;
  • It responds to the reference queries and make retrospective search of literature as per users demand;
  • It compiles bibliographies, union catalogues, documentation lists, newspaper-clippings, accession lists etc. to save the time of its users; and
  • It provides inter library loan facility to the users.

Book Selection policy of Special Library

Special Library is a library or information center, maintained by an individual, corporation, association, government agency or any other group; or a specialized or department collection within a library. For the development of its collection, special library maintain some selection policies. This includes:
  1. Selection policies of special library must be established within the form of the libraries stated objectives.
  2. The subject coverage special libraries collection must be intensive and extensive. The collection mixed the current anticipated information requirements of library clientele.
  3. It is advisable to have a library committee consisting of specialist who can give advice on book selection and purchase.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

9 Comments

  1. Thank you this blog is very helpful, I just registered with the University of Kwa-zulu Natal (South Africa) for a masters in library and information science and humbly request you for mentorship and guidance as a take on this project.

  2. Thank you Mr. Ashikuzzaman for this brief piece on special libraries. It is apt and quite beneficial.

  3. So how do librarians of special library’s ensure that the collections in the respective libraries meets the needs of the users

  4. thank you so much for the data nand information it is very helpfull.Im doing Records Management and Information Science at Kwekwe polytechnic in Zimbabwe

  5. am grateful sir. I always love your write up in the field of librarianship. it’s long I have passion in this profession, I just like adequate support. but I still thank God.

    thanks for this once again.

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