Circulation is defined by Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary as “orderly movement through a circuit.” In a library, circulation is the orderly movement in the form of a process of lending books to borrowers and then accurately re-shelving them after they have been returned so that it can be retrieved by the next user.
The circulation department in a library is the department assigned the responsibility for keeping that “orderly movement through a circuit” orderly, flowing, and complete. The department’s basic function is to facilitate and monitor the circulation of books from the regular collection. In addition, the department is usually responsible for circulating some books from other collections and for circulating non book materials. The reserve book operation, in which books are circulated from a closed collection for limited time periods, is also often assigned to the circulation department.
The work of the circulation department includes a process of connecting people with things, especially books. The circulation department also has responsibility for the stacks, which constitute a significant portion of the library’s physical part. The primary function of the circulation department is to get materials to the readers expeditiously and the mechanism for circulation is a system which is designed to maximize the availability of books to all users, allowing each the greatest practicable use without causing other excessive delay; to supply other pertinent material when the desired book is not available in the library or is charged out. The circulation system should be easy for the users to use with accurate and highly current records, rapid in cancelling records and returning books to shelves, reasonably flexible for non professional staff to operate, and inexpensive. Circulation philosophy of a library derives from the library’s mission and goals or from its governing body. Commonly, this philosophy involves guaranteeing to a library’s clientele equal and fair access to the library’s collection. Today this philosophy also includes a desire to deliver materials is expressed through the actions of staff and the existence of appropriate procedures.
Today, circulation staff finds themselves with new formats aside from books, such as videos, CDs, laser discs, cassettes, and computer software. Libraries determine circulation policies and routines with the goal of providing maximum access to the materials. The circulation staff member sees his or her work through this ideal as it is expressed in library policies and individual attitudes .As the staff member becomes familiar with rules and regulations, the policy of the library with regard to their role is better understood.
Original Research Article:
- Khan, M. A. (2013). IPR in India and USA: Its impact on library services.