Library Science

Public Library: Functions and Objectives

Public Library:

Public Library is defined as a library which is accessible to the public and generally funded from public source and may be operated by civil servant (Anil Kumar Dhiman and Yasoda Rani, 2011). Public library, as its name suggests, it is for the people, by the people and of the people. It exists from civilization of mankind and act as the important custodian of human culture, knowledge and social customs (Kaliya Perumal and Bahskarn, 2010).

UNESCO define public library as the local gateway to knowledge which provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision making in cultural development and social group. Public Library

The UNESCO manifesto also state that it should be an institution established under the clear mandate of law maintained fully from public fund, offering all its service free of cost and open for free and equal use by all members of the community irrespective of their age, sex, religion, language and structural level of education. The origin of the public library service vests in antiquity with the first recording of the human thought in the concept of a system or an institution which could preserve thought for future use which gradually came to be referred by the term library. Ever since the essential functions of all libraries remained the same collection, preservation and dissemination of knowledge (UNESCO manifesto, 2005).

Public library is a welfare centre which provides useful services to the community by fostering education, promoting culture, providing scope for healthy recreation and disseminates information to all section of the society. (Laila T Abraham, 2010). Public libraries are the community education centre with traditional style in a wider canvas, it provides socio-culture recreation and disseminating information to all section of the society. which often provide community information through the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). Public library provides relevant information sources and service which can support economic and social development. It has a crucial role in supporting educational institution in our society.

Government of India Advisory Committee on libraries with K P Sinha as the Chairman has defined Public Library as s Library:-

  • Which is financed for most part out of public funds.
  • Which is intended as a auxiliary educational institutions providing a means of self education which is endless.
  • Which houses learning materials giving reliable information freely and without partially or prejudice on as wide a variety of subject as will satisfy the interest of the readers.

Objectives of Public Library:

The basic objective of a public library is to provide information to the general public to satisfy their informative, education and recreational needs. The explosive growth of knowledge and the direct relation of information to development in all walks of human life have elevated public libraries as important centres which can undertake the vast and varied functions for development.

1.Personality Development:

Individuals can become more powerful in their vocations and professions utilizing the information stored in public library. Public library supply the right information to the right reader at the right time for their users keeping pace with the tremendous changes in all walk of life. People need develop their individual knowledge by reading exploring and studying materials on their own choice to base their own thinking as preface and supplement to competent discussion. Here lies the various importance of public libraries in promoting personality development activities.

2. Human Adjustment:

The impact of science and technology is effecting changes in all spheres of human life and assigns to public library role that it only can play. Today the personal life styles are changing, the existing social order, crumbling and in a fantastic new way in day to day life. Public libraries is the only institution which can help to adjust with the current trends to the majority of the population.

3. Spread of education:

Educational role of a library can hardly be over-emphasized, both as complementary in formal education and as the provider of informal education, which are essential for the development of people. Public library service is necessary for the presentation of universal literacy. Public library provides the following method to spread education.

• To help the lifelong education on and all to furnish up to date facts and information to one and all.

• To distribute in an unbiased and balanced way all shades of recorded views and thoughts to one and as a help in the discharge of their political functions in respect of Local, National and International affairs.

• To contribute the productivity by informing top management about the latest trends in diverse enterprises by pleasing back the minds of researchers, scientists and technicians.

• To preserve the literacy remains of humanity for posterity, as vehicles of culture and as a source material for research to work for all the continued social well being as the agency in charge of all socialised recorded thoughts.

• To assist people to contribute to the growth of knowledge that such use of knowledge as will promote personal and social well-being.

• To develop their creative and spiritual capabilities to make them more capable in their daily occupations to discharge political and social obligations and to become better members of home and community.

• To keep pace with progress in all fields of knowledge and education.

4. Self development:

Public Library provides the information to the common people quickly and in-depth. This information can help the present day world where invention and discoveries are flooding every day impelling them to have continues education for professional maturity. Public library has an most important role to play in social education and to prepare people for social adjustment.

5. Economic development:

Public library has to offer materials and services to the people to understand social phenomenon and thus live successful social life avoiding social evils. It provides opportunities to the people to understand social evils and methods to control them. (Kaliya Perumal and Baskaran, 2010).

6. Science and Technology:

Economic growth is depended on the application of science and technological advances and the spectrum of skill required at each stage of production. Public library make the domestic and International trade successful by supplying the manufacturer with information regarding the sources and nature of raw-material, means of transport, methods of management, costs of production market and agent distribution.

7. Culture and leisure:

Public Library helps cultural development in more than one way. It can promote a keener participation, enjoyment and appreciation of arts. It can act as cultural centre in collecting and preserving the cultural heritage of the locality and make it readily available to the people to enrich their cultural awareness.

Functions of public library:

Libraries are fulfilling the reading requirements of the each and every citizen to the fullest extent without making any discrimination on the basis of membership and thus it is considered as peoples University. It focuses on providing knowledge on all matters including academic and non — academic. Now —a-days Public Libraries are functioning as mobile – channels in providing knowledge to the people of rural and urban areas.

Public libraries are constantly serving community functions and are performing various important roles in educational, economic, political, social and cultural development of the country. Information, as the most important instrument that lead to explosive growth of knowledge and the direct relation of information to developments in all walks of human life have elevated the role of Public libraries in our society.

1.Centre for cultures:

Public library, being a part of a centre of education and information, is required to serve as a centre to promote local or regional culture. For this the Public library have to acquire all materials of mankind depicting this excellence in prose, poetry, drama, music, painting, dance and sculpture.

2. Centre for information:

All human being needs information, either individual or collective, and it is information transfer and information revolution through which culture change, and socio economic development of Nation is possible. Public Libraries are the local gateway to knowledge and it should provide information suiting needs of individual and groups. A country like India has rich human resources, which need to be made productive. Lack of Information and lack of free flow of information from the knowing to the unknowing are impending this effort public. Therefore libraries should provide information which suit the needs of door steps and in a language that can be understood easily.

3. Centre for education:

Education is a critical facts, its determining the peace and direction to development. Education is for complete living of man, so bread and butter aim is an inevitable aspect- hence the importance of vocation. It can play vital role to educate citizen by providing access to their collection in different formats and various service and to supplements formal education and support the informal education and continuing self education. In emerging country, public library is an education centre. It will promote education at all levels primary, secondary, higher, non-formal, adults, distant, vocational and so on. It has to serve as a centre for informal self education and opens its doors to all types of the people in a community without any consideration. Education is very important and essential commodity for all peoples.

Original Research Article:


Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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