Change is one reality with which individuals, groups and organizations must constantly cope in order to survive. The needs for progressive changes in people’s attitudes and behaviours are essential for global acceptance. Nevertheless, for Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals, a change is often linked with modern information technologies and management issues. Over the past few decades, the nature of library environment and mode of service has changed drastically.
A library is a collection of sources, resources, services, and the structure in which it is housed; it is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution or a private individual. In the more traditional sense, a library is a collection of books. It can mean the collection, the building or room that houses such a collection or both. The term “library” has itself acquired a secondary meaning: “a collection of useful material for common use,” and in this sense is used in fields such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, electronics and biology.
Public and institutional collections and services may be intended for use by people who choose not to or cannot afford to purchase an extensive collection themselves, who need material-no individual can reasonably be expected to have or who require professional assistance with their research.
In addition to providing materials, libraries also provide the services of librarians who are experts at finding and organizing information and at interpreting information needs.
However, with the sets and collection of media other than books for storing information, many libraries are now also repositories and access points for maps, prints or other documents and various storage media such as microform (microfilm/microfiche), audio tapes, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, and video games. Libraries may also provide public facilities to access subscription databases and the Internet.
Thus, modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources. They are understood as extending beyond the physical walls of a building, by including material accessible by electronic means, and by providing the assistance of librarians in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of knowledge with a variety of digital tools.
The central mission of a library is to collect, organize, preserve and provide access to knowledge and information. In fulfilling this mission, libraries preserve a valuable record of the culture that can be passed down to succeeding generations. Libraries are an essential link in this communication between the past, present and future. Whether the cultural record is contained in books or in electronic formats, libraries ensure that the record is preserved and made available for later use. Libraries provide people with access to the information they need to work, play, learn and govern.
People in many professions use library resources to assist them in their work. People also use library resources to get information about issues of personal interests or to obtain recreational materials such as films and novels. Students use libraries to supplement and enhance their classroom experiences, to learn skills in locating sources of information and to all cultural institutions, the library provides information and services that are essential to learning and progress.
Libraries must assure the status of information market permitting a free commerce of thought to users, the consumers of this commodity of information. Information is a precious resource that has a finite lifetime. All along we have clamored merely for the right to freedom of speech and expression. Now we must insist upon right to information access. Those promote empowerment of people.
There is a scarcity of resources, putting lot of pressure on library services. Today, we need sustainable librarianship. Sustainability means to be able to sustain with reduced resources, by adopting innovative practices leading to economies of different kinds. Students need to be ascertained and motivated for better reading. This is possible only when there is a well-knit library attached to the college libraries and continues to perform traditional functions.
The information about libraries provides an overview of the different types of libraries and explains in detail their various collections, functions and services. It also profiles careers in library work, the educations of libraries and several professional organizations for librarians.
Basing on the objectives of the library, the libraries are classified into different categories like academic libraries, public libraries and special libraries etc.
Academic Libraries are the libraries established in academic institutions to support teaching and research activities of students, researchers and teachers. The academic library is a service center where professionalism of the staff manning it can come hardly to the clientele, be they the students or the teachers. The real worth and potential of a library is realized when the students feel compelled to be driven from the classroom to the library to quench the thirst that is created in the classroom.
Academic libraries must decide what focus they take in collecting materials since no single library can supply everything. When there are particular areas of specialization in academic libraries these are often referred to as niche collections. Although the library is a collection of information, sources, resources and services, and the structure in which it is housed, there are many types of libraries with their own distinct features and functions. Located on the campuses of colleges and universities, academic libraries serve primarily the students, faculty, and researchers. Some academic libraries, especially those at public institutions, are accessible to members of the general public as well.
The academic libraries include libraries in schools, colleges and Universities. All these cater to the needs of the academic community for supplementing the study and research programmes of the institutions and help to conserve and disseminate the knowledge.
Original Reference Article:
- Venkatasubbarao, M. (2013). Professional attitudes of librarians towards information and communication technology: a survey of engineering college libraries in north coastal Andhra Pradesh (Ph.D. Thesis). Andhra University, Departments: Department of Library and Information Science. http://hdl.handle .net/10603/8693