A Public Library is a social institution established by law, financed by public fund, open for all without any discrimination, for general and free diffusion of knowledge and information in the community. It is the obligation of government to establish a public library system throughout the country at national, state and local levels. Besides this, the rural and suburban areas should also be covered by branch and mobile libraries.
Definition of Public Library:
UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 1949 which was revised in 1972, a public library is-
i. Established under the “clear mandate of law.
ii. Maintained wholly from “public fund”.
iii. Levies no “direct charge” (fees) from its users for any of its services.
iv. Open “for free and equal “ use by all members of the community irrespective of race, color, caste, creed, religion, age, sex, nationality, language, status or level of educational attainments.
v. The local gateway to knowledge, provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision making and cultural development of the individual and social groups.
vi. An essential agent for the fostering of peace and spiritual welfare through the minds of men and women.
Dr.S.R. Ranganathan Public Library is “a public institution or establishment charged with the care of collection of books and the duty of making them accessible to those who require the use of them.”
This definition describes two functions of a library:
i) The care of a collection of books means protection and preservation of collection.
ii) To make them accessible in real sense so that the right person can get right information at the right time.
Objectives of public library:
The objectives of a public library are associated with its parent body i.e. community and its duty is to cater to the information and recreational needs of its users i.e. community members. The main objectives of a public library are as follows:
1. To provide up-to-date and authentic information on all subjects;
2. To provide services free of cost or at nominal rates to each member of the society without any discrimination;
3. To provide a harmless and elevating use of leisure;
4. To be responsible for preservation and development of cultural and antiquarian heritage of the community
Functions of Public library:
A modern public library performs different functions in the society to achieve its objectives and works as:
a. Information Dissemination Center
b. Life Long Learning Center
c. Community’s Intellectual Center
d. Recreation Center
e. Community’s Culture Preservation Center
f. Instrument of Social Change
g. Representative of Democracy
Selection Policies of Public Library.
Public library is a library provided wholly or partly from public funds, and the use of which is not restricted to any class of persons in the community but is freely available to all. Materials selection policies of a public library maintain some policies. Some of them may be as:
- To see that no race, nationality profession, trade, religion, school of thought, or local custom is over-looked.
- Every library collection should be buildup according to define plan.
- Knowing the general and special community, collection will be developed.