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Need of Reference Services in Library

It is evident that Reference service is no doubt a must service in libraries. With the advent of Printing Press the collection increased in various forms. Readers were very few. Librarian is always supposed to know about the collection of the library. Reader also knows something or the reference of the reading material. In such case there is hardly any need of librarian’s help to the readers. But if reader is not aware with the new arrivals and other material or its contents, he needs the help of the Reference librarian. Moreover there is continuous growth of documents and it is very difficult for the reader to know the new documents and hence requires the help of the librarian for informations. There is knowledge explosion and it is very difficult to search the required information out of the millions of documents. Librarian organizes and controls the vast knowledge and presents it before the readers. It is just to trace the pearl in an ocean.Reference Services

Dr. S.R. Ranganathan stressed the following points to provide reference service.

1. Artificiality of Books: In modern time there is a large production of reading material and it is a continuing process. It is very difficult to organize the literature and understand the whole, by the reader. It is a tedious job. It involves huge funds and labour. Hence, it is necessary to understand the collection and provide reference service to the readers.

2. Complexity of Catalogue: Different libraries follow different catalogue code to prepare catalogue cards or cataloguing. Catalogue cards are arranged differently according to the nature of the code. Though library catalogue is prepared and used for providing necessary information regarding collection of the library, it is necessary to provide information to the newcomers about the library collection, which is possible by personal contact or reference service.

According to Dr. S.R. Ranganathan “Book selection, book order, periodical works, classification, cataloguing, accessioning, organization and display of books and charging and discharging will become fruitless unless proper reference service is done.” Indeed, reference service alone can lead to the ultimate fulfilment of the service of a library and of the ‘Five Laws of Library Science’.

There are many reasons for the need of effective reference service:

  • To save the time of the readers.
  • To present the existing literature containing new information.
  • To decentralization of new informations.
  • To modernise the new equipment and systems.
  • To implement five laws of library science.
  • To be aware of the various methods of the library.
  • To make the complexity understand classification and cataloguing.


Therefore, the difficulties come in the way and to remove them, to save time of the readers to make them aware of the library systems and to fulfil the objects of the library, reference service is the only tool.

This article is collected from:

  • Sharma, C. K. (2006). Reference Service and Sources. Atlantic Publishers & Dist.




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