A library is a collection of books on various subjects. A private library belongs to an individual. A public library is meant for the use of all people who pay subscription to it and are enrolled as members. There are also free public libraries.
A private library reflects the taste or the personal likes and dislikes of its owner. Here books are selected according to the owner’s judgment and requirements. Hence it usually has a bias in favor of some particular subject or subjects.
Often a good private library is donated to the people after the owner’s death.
Public libraries may be meant for general reader, and this contains books on all subjects. Or, they may have books of a specialized nature.
Public libraries may be open to all or they may be open to a select membership. The University Library is meant for the use of the teachers and the students of the University. Schools and Colleges also have libraries which are used by the teachers and the students of the particular institutions to which they belong.
Libraries and their Readers
A library has many uses and it is the duty of everyone to be attached to a library. We, in India, have a bad reputation as readers of books. In our Schools and Colleges we generally confine ourselves to the study of textbooks. Sometimes we do read books outside the syllabus, but they are usually novels. If we are members of a good library, we may be attracted by a variety of books. Lists of new books published by a library are a perpetual temptation to its readers. There is also the librarian, one of whose duties is to guide the readers in the choice of books.
Why Libraries are Necessary
Libraries are a necessity for all people who boast of some culture. It is impossible for anyone to purchase all the books that are published. In a library we can select the subject in which we are interested. A good library also purchases books selected or recommended by the readers. Hence membership of a library gives one the opportunity of becoming familiar with a large number and variety of books.
Management of Libraries
In a good library the librarian is always a helpful person. Himself a lover of books, he is able to advise and guide the readers in the use of the library. Hence the proper management of libraries is a necessary part in any drive for the spread of education. It should be one of the first concerns of Ministry of Education. In our country every village should have at least one library where the people can go for knowledge and information.
In order to make books available to the largest number of people, travelling libraries have been instituted. Baroda took the lead in this direction. Books are carried in motor vans and distributed to their readers in village according to their requisition, or choice.
An adjunct of a library which greatly increases its utility is the readers’ conferences that are so much in vogue in Soviet Libraries. Readers meet together and discuss the latest publications, as well as various local and even personal requirements. It helps to stimulate intellectual curiosity and makes the people mentally alert. It raises cultural standards. It also keeps the librarians informed of the needs of readers. A spirit of co-operation is established between the library and its users.
The Importance of Library
The atmosphere of a library is an incentive to study. When one finds so many readers intent on books, one naturally develops a desire to read on one’s own account. It is thus that the library habit is created and developed among casual readers. The importance of Library cannot be exaggerated. We cannot do better than to create and develop a library movement in our country, and foster among casual readers a widespread demand for library and a habit of using libraries for knowledge as well as for recreation.