Library is the store-house of knowledge for posterior use. Human knowledge can be recorded and preserved in different media. Some years back, documents written or printed in paper were considered as the best medium. But with the development of science and technology today electronic multimedia have been widely used for preservation of knowledge in the libraries of any kind whether it may be public, academic, national or special library. Since the beginning of civilization human beings have been putting emphasis on storing of information in different ways. However it must be admitted that libraries in ancient times were not like those of the present days. Libraries are dynamic and grow along with human civilization. The urge of social, economic, intellectual and cultural improvement necessitates the development of different kinds of libraries.
Since knowledge and information are so vital for all round development, libraries that handle and manage knowledge and information are invaluable indeed. The present knowledge society has been, as understood, characterized by the competition, the supply and demand for knowledge to meet the varied and complex needs of the individuals, which are expected from the library. Dissemination of right information to the right reader /user at the right time is the dictum of all the library and information centers. In short library is an agency for dissemination of information. The basic function of library is education. The purpose of a library in modern society is to educate the community in a wider sense. Libraries play a very important role in the educational process of formal and non-formal learning, in research and development, in cultural activities, in spiritual and ideological realms, in recreation and entertainment etc. With the spectacular advances in information technology and increasing categories of users and their information needs in different situations, modern society is heading towards an information society in which the central instrument of change, force and direction of change are knowledge and information.
Types of Library:
According to the mode of services rendered to the readers; libraries are broadly divided into four types:
1. Academic Library,
2. Special Library,
3. Public Library, and
4. National Library.
Academic library is the library which is attached to academic institutions like schools, colleges and universities. An academic library serves more specifically the students, research scholars, teachers and staff of the academic institution. Main objective of an academic library is to give maximum learning materials to its clientele so that they may be fully educated in their respective level. Academic libraries are categorized into school libraries, college libraries and university libraries.
A. School Library: A school library is a learning laboratory, providing a variety of instructional media, essential for optimum support of the education programme. The purpose of the school library is to attain the objectives of the educational programme. It concerns with the development of effective methods of thinking, inculcation of social attitudes, acquisition of important information and promoting growth and development among the children. The function of the school library is to help the students in the process of their self-discovery, to adopt high ideals in life, improve scholastic efficiency through self-study and to develop the capacity for critical thinking.
B. College Library: College performs an important function in educational process. A college without a library is like a tree with no roots. The status of every college is measured through the position of the library that it maintains. Hence every college library should become a teaching instrument in itself. A college library is expected to support the objectives of the college. Thus, the basic function of a college library is to assist its parent body to carry out its programmes.
C. University Library: A library is more important in a University, because a library can do without a University where as a university cannot function without a library. A university library is an integral part of the institution. It is primarily maintained for the benefit of students, officers, faculty members and for those who are engaged in research work. It plays a very important role in the national life of the community by acquiring material for educational use for the benefit of students and teaching departments.
Special library became popular since the beginning of 20th century. A special library is one which serves a particular group of people, such as the employees of a firm of government department, or the staff and members of a professional or research organization. Such a library deals essentially in information (Krishan Kumar; 1987; 72)
A public library (also called circulating library) is a library which is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources (such as tax money) and may be operated by the civil servants. Taxing bodies for public libraries may be at any level from local to national central government level. The public library is an excellent model of government at its best. A locally controlled public good, it serves every individual freely, in as much or as little depth as he or she wants. (Wikipedia)
A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works. A National Library is that library which has the duty of collecting and preserving the literature of the nation within and outside the country, Thus, National Library are those libraries whose community is the nation at large.