Public Library Management - Quick Guide

Public Library Management - Overview

Libraries came into being to serve the poor people who could not afford to buy expensive reading material, and for researchers who needed special reference material for their studies. However, a library is more than just a center for getting access to your favorite books, journals, and magazines. Public libraries hold a vast and organized collection of printed or electronic reading material that can be delivered to a defined set of recipients by the library staff.

Libraries in general provide a range of services from preservation, collection, circulation, organization, and retrieval of information, which is either in printed or digital format. As public libraries became a popular place to gain and share knowledge, Public Library Management emerged as a separate discipline. In this tutorial, we will learn how public libraries are managed.

What is a Public Library?

A public library provides information and basic allied services to the general public. It is an organization that is established, financed, and supported by the community, either through local, regional, or national government or through some other organization.

Public Library

Public libraries are operated by paid staff and provides all basic support required while delivering the knowledge resource in the form of a variety of media to the public. It serves access to knowledge and information through a wide array of resources and services.

The knowledge and information at the public library are equally available to all its members irrespective of their race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, or economic and employment status.

Traditional Libraries

Traditional libraries keep the printed knowledge resources, require users to be physically present to avail them, and the staff to handle and shelf the tangible knowledge resources.

  • Academic Library − It aids college and university students, and the staff and faculty. The institutions with large strength of students and staff can have their own libraries set up inside the campus. These libraries are organized on the basis of subjects.

  • Public Library − It serves the general public of all demographics. These libraries have different departments for toddlers, children, teens, and adults.

  • School or College Library − It is provided in the school or college premises. It serves the students of all grades starting from kindergarten to the highest grade offered by the school.

  • Special Library − It is located at corporate offices, private businesses, President’s house, old-age homes, orphanages, law firms, and the government. It targets a particular set of population in specialized environment.

New-Age Libraries

In today’s world of Internet communication, the readers can find their desired information in a few clicks. They don’t necessarily have to visit the library premises to avail or change the knowledge resources. Libraries now provide various kinds of library services, taking advantage of the advancement of technology.

Digital Library

It is very precisely the library that contains all knowledge resources stored in digital format. For example, a library of pdf or ePub format books and magazines, music collection of type MP3/MP4, or documentary archives collection of .mov/.avi files. This library is also equipped with the tools to retrieve desired digital information from the vast pool.

For example, the most well-known digital libraries today are YouTube, iTunes for Apple, Vudu, Google Play that provide a large collection of video information that user can download from.


An e-library maintains a collection of various knowledge resources stored in analog format (such as tapes or cassettes or gramophone disks) as well as digital format such as CDs, DVDs, or Hard Disks. This term is less preferred in the domain of today’s libraries, as the format of storing and retrieving information is prominently turning into only digital.

Virtual Library

A virtual library is a collection of knowledge resources available on one or more computers. In such a library, the entire collection is stored at a location and an entry point to the collections is provided from every computer connected to it. The users are not aware of the physical location of the knowledge resources but they can access it.

Five Laws of Library Science

In 1931, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan, an Indian librarian proposed five laws of Library Science. They are as follows −

  • Books are for use − The books should be used for knowledge enhancement and wisdom more than just preserving them.

  • Every reader his/her book − Every subscriber of the public library should be able to get the knowledge element of his/her interest.

  • Every book its reader − Each knowledge element in the public library has its corresponding reader.

  • Save time of the reader − The time required for accessing, preserving, organizing, and circulating the knowledge element shall be minimum.

  • The library is a growing organism − This law suggests that the library has to keep on increasing with respect to its physical space, knowledge element, and readership.

Public Library Mngmt - General Structure

People like to visit libraries not only for enhancing their knowledge but also for browsing through new books or music, access important and expensive reading material that they cannot buy otherwise, and for spending their leisure time in a constructive manner. Every reader or researcher likes to visit a well-managed library.

A library is an institution where people spend time browsing through the collection of books, music, or videos. They spend time there for reading or finding out the required information. Hence libraries need to provide some basic amenities for their subscribers and working staff.

When it comes to forming a library building, the following questions need to be answered −

  • What type of subscribers are going to use the library?

  • How many people should it accommodate?

  • What kind of technical support is required to be given under service?

  • How is the library going to react to future changes?

  • What more than the basic services the library is going to give: Cafeteria, Screening, and Conference?

  • Where will the patrons and librarians interact?

The structure of public library should reflect its services and should be flexible enough to accommodate new services.

Public Library Management - A Brief History

Public Libraries in India

India has a long history in the field of education and wisdom of the seekers. During ancient Vedic period before 1200 AD, the pupils used to stay at Ashrama (house of Guru) and use various manuscripts which used to be preserved for the use of expanding their wisdom in various disciplines. During the 6th century, Nalanda University records to have a huge public library with three buildings of nine story each.

During the medieval period of 1200 AD to 1750 AD, the Mughal king Babar started a public library in 1526. His son Humayun set up a library at Agra Fort that had a huge collection of manuscripts and calligraphies. Under his lineage, Akbar improved the management of library and started a library for women at Fatehpur Sikri. It was estimated that the library used 24,000 books at the time of his death.

During the British rule after the year 1750, a large number of universities opened and libraries were established in India. Today there are various public libraries at the state and the city level, which employ state-of-the-art technology for their management.

Public Libraries in the USA

During 1665, the public libraries started emerging in American colonies when many early colonists brought books from England. Reverend Thomas Bray established nearly 70 libraries in American colonies during 1695 to 1704.

Later, Sir Benjamin Franklin established the Library Company of Philadelphia. Books were made books available for all those common people who subscribed for membership. The first public library was started as Peterborough Town Library in 1833. In 1854, Boston Public Library was opened on the support of taxes paid by people. Later, the development of American Library picked up, which is a full-fledged library today.

Public Libraries in the UK

Public libraries started emerging in the UK during the 16th century. Today, there are more than 3,300 public libraries in the UK. Norwich City library was established in 1608. In 1653, Chetham's Library was founded at Manchester, which asserts to be the oldest public library in UK. The most noted and frequented public library named the British Library was established in 1753. Most of the libraries today are engaged in digitizing the printed knowledge to be accessed by the users from any corner of the world.

Public Library Management - Common Terms

The following table provides a list of terms that are frequently used in Public Library Management, along with their meaning.

Term Meaning
Added Entry It is an access point in a catalog or bibliography other than the main entry. It may be briefer than the main entry.
Almanac An annual calendar that describes the daily information about upcoming events.
Appendix The printed information at the end of the book.
Annotation An explanatory note added in the bibliography.
Archive A collection of historical records about people, places, and events taken place.
Bibliography It is the list of references used in a book or article. If they are long, they may be published separately in the form of books or online.
Citation Short description of a piece of text (book, article, or web page) which is quoted or used as a source.
Concordance It is an alphabetical list of important words used in a piece of work, with respective immediate context.
Bibliographic Coupling It is a measure to establish a similarity relationship between documents. It occurs when two written works reference a common third work in their bibliographies.
Call Number It is a unique alphanumeric number that represents the subject matter of a knowledge element and indicates its location on the shelf.
Catalog A systematic database with detailed information about all the knowledge resources in the library.
Circulate To issue the library material to the users.
Current Periodicals Most recent issue of a magazine or journal a library receives.
Copyright A legal right of an author, editor, composer, publisher, or distributor to publish, produce, sell, or distribute the literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work exclusively.
Gray Literature It is the material published outside a commercial or academic publishing. It is produced at all levels of government, academics, business, and industry in print and electronic formats, but it is not controlled by commercial publishers.
Holdings All knowledge resources such as books, journals, magazines, audio/video material, and maps owned by a public library.
Knowledge Resources in Library Books, Computer files, Music CDs, Records, Audio and Video CDs/DVDs, Maps are different kinds of knowledge resources in library.
Indexing List of items arranged in a specific approach.
Basic Subject Most fundamental subject.
Cataloguing Recording a list of knowledge resources with specific approach and corresponding details of each knowledge resource.
Page A library page is a person responsible for shelving books, minor repairs, tiding, and some other allied work.
Shelving Putting back the books/other items of the library from where they belong after the users have used it.
Patron A person giving financial support to institution, cause, or other person.

Public Library Management - HRM

Human Resource Management is the process of hiring skilled employee and developing the employee further with the intention of organizational benefits.

Skills Required by Public Library Staff

The following skills are mandatory for the public library staff −

  • Educational qualification
  • Technical knowledge and training
  • Communication skill
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Problem solving skill

Communicating about Vacancy in Public Library

The HR manager needs to describe the requirements for the vacant post in terms of educational prerequisites and the kind of work the prospective employee is expected to do. The HR manager then communicates these requirements to the people by publishing adverts in appropriate media channels such as newspapers, magazines, notice boards in the library, or on the web.

Selecting and Recruiting the Library Staff

The HR manager receives and compiles responses from all the interested applicants. He/she then separates all the eligible candidates and schedules interview for them. On the best judgement of candidate’s educational qualification, attitude, nature, and capabilities, he/she then selects the most feasible candidate.

Training and Development of the Library Staff

The new staff member needs to undergo orientation program that makes him/her smoothly tune to the responsibilities, culture, systems, and work premises. Sometimes the seasoned staff members also need to undergo training of new systems. Training is vital for developing the staff member to suit to the library’s needs.

Performance Appraisal

The HR manager needs to assess the performance of all the staff members and delivers rewards or perks in terms of money, benefits, or promotion in the post. The performance appraisal is conducted annually or half-yearly depending on the policies set by the top brass of the library.

Organizational Structure

Within a public library, the number of departments can vary depending upon its size, budget, space, and its strength in terms of the number of members.

Library management and administration is a multifaceted work of organizing, preserving, collecting, circulating, and maintaining the printed or digital resource of knowledge. It involves managing and recruiting the staff, training and developing the staff members,managing funds, and overall functioning of the library.

Take a look at the following hierarchy chart. It shows the most basic organizational structure of a public library −

Public Library Director

Library Authority

A library authority can be an individual or a group of individuals that manages all the activities of the library as an institution such as directing, controlling, motivating, deciding, and coordinating.

Library Committee

A public library has an advisory committee that guides the operations of library, plans and monitors the overall progress of library, and is responsible for fund raising.

Types of Library Committees

Here are the common types of library committee −

  • Ad hoc Committee − It is a special committee of participants with foresight and intellect to perform special jobs pertaining to library growth, supervision, and management. The people in the committee take rapid and intelligent decisions though less independently.

  • Elected Committee − It is a body of people elected by a larger committee that delegates decision-making and operations. The elected committee needs to report to the larger parent committee.

  • Self-sustaining Committee − It is the body of people who created the library. It has sole authority to control the funds and library management.

  • Executive Committee − It is the committee to which the library authority delegates complete decision rights in some crucial matters. This committee is one which has full powers in those matters and it need not report to its library authority.

  • Reporting Committee − It decides some policies within certain extents. It needs to report to the authority and get approval.

  • Recommending Committee − It has no real power for decision-making or operations. It can recommend proposals on library government, which the library authority approves.

Roles of Public Library Departments

The roles of various public library departments are as follows −

  • Public Library Director − Establishes strategies, policies, and goals.

  • PL Administration − Handles overall library operations, enforces policies set by director and planning.

  • Maintenance − Ensures smooth running of facilities by housekeeping, and maintaining ground, electrical gadgets, and plumbing.

  • Public Relations − Engages into promotions, informing the public about upcoming events, crisis management.

  • Archives and Collection Services − Acquires, catalogues, manages, and preserves important records, sets serial numbers or barcodes, handles the rare or fragile knowledge resources with due care.

  • Circulation Services − Manages issuing and receiving returned material, tracks fines and dues by users due to late return or loss of material.

  • IT Services − Manages library network, computers, and audiovisual devices, updates software.

Care & Preservation of Library Resources

The library resource users as well as the staff needs to be aware of the way the library material needs to be handled and they should follow the guidelines with due care. Care and prevention prolongs the valuable knowledge resource kept in the library, may it be in the print or the digital format.

For care and preservation of library material, the given rules are followed −

  • Stitching in time − Repairing the minor damages while they are small.

  • Encouraging proper handling − Training the staff on the type of material, its durability, and the care required for the knowledge resources.

  • Communicating clearly − There should be a clear communication among staff members about responsibilities of caring and preserving.

  • Readiness − Assessing the risk and equipping the library for handling disasters such as fire breaking out. Prohibiting smoking and drinking in the areas where knowledge resources are stored and accessed.

Public Library Management - Finance

Finance is the backbone of any public library. Library managers need to control the operations as well as monitor and manage the finances of the institution. Public library financial activities involve the job of managing funds, budgeting, and controlling costs. It also involves the growth of assets.

Sources of Funds for Public Library

Public libraries can get funds from the following sources −

  • National funds that are distributed to states or provinces.

  • The municipal corporation gives municipal funds to public library, which were generated from car parking, taxes, and other tools of revenue generation. The librarians need to apply for these funds.

  • Private donations, which are given by the charity services and interested individuals.

Sometimes, funds are raised in-house by conducting auctions for sale of knowledge resources.

Functions of Public Library Finance Department

The following are the functions handled by the finance department of a public library −

  • Financial reporting to directors, managers, and staff.

  • Budget preparation and allocation

  • Managing annual audit

  • Managing all receipts

  • Preparing taxes and other governmental filings

  • Reporting to donors and granting agencies

The Finance Cycle of a Public Library

The finance cycle of a Public Library covers the following general steps −

Finance Cycle
  • Planning − Management team tries to find out what needs to be done in the library, which are incomplete projects and new projects. It then recommends the findings to the directors. Assess upcoming expenses on those projects. Directors and review it and set goals for a specific time period such as a year.

  • Budgeting − Consider all incomes and all costs, and the costs required for ongoing operations. Review and analyze income and costs of last year in numbers. Estimate income and costs for new financial/fiscal year.

    • Income Sources − Allocations from government, Friends circles’ contribution, grants, donations, fundraising booksale, fines, and fees.

    • Expenses − Fuel, library material, staff salaries.

  • Operating − Execute the scheduled plan.

  • Reporting − Produce monthly and annual reports to monitor the progress of the financial activities. It records the opening balance, transaction, and the closing balance for each fund. A balance sheet gives an overall financial picture of the library.

Resources Mobilization in Public Library

There are various ways the public library managers can mobilize library resources. To know how the resources are mobilized one first needs to know −

What is Resource Mobilization?

It is a collective term used for the process of generating income from different resources as well as readiness of the library to deliver the knowledge resources efficiently and economically to the user.

Ways of Fundraising

The library managers need to chalk out an effective resource mobilizing strategy and execute it efficiently to raise funds for the library. The following are some ways of resource mobilization −

  • Contacting a donor agency for financial support.

  • Conducting fundraising programs and events, inviting guests to attend and request donations for the library.

  • Keeping donation boxes at the happening places such as banks, social gatherings, and other public areas to request for donation. This practice generates smaller amount, but it is appreciable.

  • Setting collection points for the donations in kind such as furniture, vehicles, stationery, and tools.

  • Requesting for volunteer support for library from colleges and schools.

  • Fundraising from selling a publication, and offering buying schemes.

Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Public Library

Under the limited funds available, a public library must utilize its budget wisely. Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) is a comparative analysis of the costs and effectiveness of services provided by the public libraries. This tool also aids the management to take decisions of allocating budget and determining which all services to provide. It is generated in terms of ratio.

Cost Effective Analysis = (Costs new – Costs old) / (Effect new – Effect old)

Cost Benefit Analysis of Public Library

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is conducted to determine how poor or how excellent the execution of any plan has turned out. It measures all the positive and the negative outcomes of a program in monetary terms.

CBA is helpful when it comes to decision-making on investment and comparing two or more alternatives.

Benefit Cost

An alternative is chosen by library managers only when Benefits > Costs.

Total Cost – Total Benefit = Net Benefit


  • if the Net Benefit is +ve, then the Cost Benefit is +ve.

  • if the Net Benefit is –ve, then the Cost Benefit is -ve.

Public Library Annual report

The annual report of a public library normally contains the following information −

  • The statement of mission of the library

  • Letter from the chairperson from the board of directors/trustees

  • A letter from the CEO of the library

  • A couple of testimonials of the patrons

  • A couple of testimonials of the subscribers

  • Pictorial timeline depicting achieved milestones tagged with short description of achievements

  • The numbers and charts depicting revenues generated and funds used during a financial year

  • The consolidated statement of activities and financial position

  • The list of donors, directors, and library branches

Public Library Mngmt - Information Sources

Today everyone is engaged in handling, consuming, and exchanging a lot of information. Though information is an indispensable part of our lives, we are seldom aware of what the term information exactly stands for. Information is the facts or news we gain or provide. It is the mean of knowledge that is employed to realize an intended function.

Public libraries are a kind of information center, where they store, process, manage, and serve information on the demand of users.

What are Information Sources?

An Information Source is nothing but a place, person, or a thing from where the information originates. The quality of the information depends directly upon the type of information resource we choose.

There are three types of information sources −

Primary Information Sources

Primary sources of information are original and in their raw form. It is the first-hand account of information and hence the most reliable source. It is most accurate and covers all the details.

For example, Journals, Conference Volumes, Patents, Research Reports, Gray Literature, Thesis, Diaries, Letters, Novels, Poems, Plays, Speeches, Artefacts, Archeologica Evidences, Eyewitnesses, Photographs, Recorded interviews, Music, Art pieces, Legislation and Policy Documents, and Parliamentary Papers.

Secondary Information Sources

This is the interpreted or evaluated version of the primary information source hence they are deviated from the original version. It is mostly accurate but with loss of some details. It is more reliable than the tertiary information source.

For example, newspapers, magazines, bibliographies, encyclopedia, directory, geographical source, text book, critics, index and abstract.

Tertiary Information Sources

It is the information source based on primary and secondary information. It is less reliable in terms of facts and details. For example, Film Documentaries, Manuals, Chronologies, Almanacs, and Guide books.

Information Formats

The formats of information literally depict the way in which the information is stored and retrieved. Here are the three formats in which the information can be distributed −

  • Print Format − It is the information published on the paper either hand written or printed. For example, Books, Serials, Magazines, Official publications.

  • Electronic Format − It is the format where information is recorded, stored, and retrieved by means of computer technology. For example, CDs/DVDs, Websites, DOXs and PDFs, and databases with search facility.

  • Audio-Visual (AV) Format − It is the information format that involves sound, images, and motion pictures. For example, Television and PowerPoint slides.

Information Users and their Needs

As an information providing center, public libraries need to be more concerned about delivering the right information to the right users efficiently. The librarian must precisely deliver the knowledge element that matches with the user’s request for information.

Various information seekers such as Professors, Researchers, Entrepreneurs, Technologists, Scientists, Managers, Students, and general public around the world try to find the information of their interest in the library.

Steps in Information Seeking

The following is the course of actions a user undertakes to seek the information −

  • Identify objective or function that needs to be done. (To know about AI)

  • Define the kind of information need. (Books, Internet)

  • Access information center and resource. (Go to library, find resources on AI)

  • Acquire information. (Take the books, browse the Internet for information)

  • Use information. (Read, know, and take notes)

  • Experience satisfaction/dissatisfaction. (Realize the objective)

The need of information varies depending upon user’s profession, responsibilities, duties, prior knowledge, and interests. The manner in which the information is sought affects the success of the intended objective.

Knowledge Organization

The term Knowledge Organization (KO) originated in the field of Library Information Science (LIS) around 1900. KO is vital for the success of any public library. The term has different meanings with perspectives from different fields. In a broader perspective, KO implies classifying information socially, and defining concepts and relations between them.

In the LIS domain, KO has a meaning related to handling and managing knowledge resources systematically so that they become easily accessible.

What is Knowledge Organization?

In the context of public library, KO involves describing documents, indexing and cataloging, classifying and organizing the knowledge resources such as databases, archives, maps and other knowledge sources in various formats. It is conducted by information specialists, archivists, subject specialists, as well as computer algorithms.

Knowledge Organization

Knowledge Organization – Different Approaches

There are various approaches to knowledge organization. They are as follows −

The Traditional Approach

It is the classification systems used in libraries and databases, including DDC, LCC and UDC (going back to about 1876). Melvil Dewey, a businessman tried to find out a standardized solution to manage library collections efficiently. He developed Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) that aided the library administrator more than the library user. The traditional approach of KO depends upon −

  • The principle of controlled vocabulary (avoiding synonyms and homonyms as indexing terms by using standardized vocabulary)

  • The Cutter’s rule about specificity (rule says that it is always the most specific, most appropriate expressions that should be referred in the vocabulary. This way the retrieving of topics is most predictable)

  • The Hulme’s principle of literary warrant (If the periodic system or notations of Chemistry can be used for classification)

  • Principle of organizing from the general to the specific. (Arrange from general subjects to specific subjects)

The Facet-Analytical Approach

This approach was propounded by Dr. Ranganathan around 1933. This approach is further developed by the British Classification Research Group. Given subjects or book titles are analyzed for a few common categories termed as facets. Dr. Ranganathan proposed his Personality, Matter, Energy, Space and Time (PMEST) formula −

  • Personality => Unique characteristic of a subject

  • Matter => Physical material with which a subject is composed

  • Energy => Any action occurring with respect to the subject

  • Space => Geographic location of a subject

  • Time => The period associated with a subject

Today, this technique is used in exchanging metadata and developing web-pages using XML.

The Information Retrieval (IR) Tradition

This approach was founded in the mid-20th century around 1950. It optimistically assumes that the user query contains all the information needed to search. It is based on statistical averages and it does not consider different types of queries and algorithms can serve different users with varied interests.

User-Oriented Approach

This approach gained influence around 1970s. It is more user-friendly.

Bibliometric approach

It was developed in 1963. It is mainly based on the use of bibliographical references for organizing networks of papers, articles, or web pages. This approach employs bibliographic coupling. This approach can be used to provide candidate terms for thesauri and supplementary terms.

The Domain Analytic Approach

This approach came around 1994. This approach recognizes a dilemma — In order to select the term, one needs to have a prior understanding of the field. On the contrary, in order to understand the field, one needs to know the term. This approach tries to solve this dilemma using iterative methods.

Types of Documents

A document is a written, drawn, or recorded thought on paper or other material. There are various types of documents −

Conventional Documents

These documents are recorded by writing, typing, printing, or some near-printing process, essentially in natural language in various scripts on silk, cloth, bark, leaves, walls, and paper. Maps are also conventional documents.

  • Volume − A field of embodied thoughts spread across multiple papers or other material fastened or combined together.

  • Macro Document − The document that embodies macro thought in one or more volumes.

  • Host Document − Macro document viewed from the perspective of document forming part of the same.

  • Micro document − The document that embodies micro thought, usually forms a part of the host document.

  • Periodic Publications − The document with attributes of periodicity, year of publication, and volume number.

  • Supplement − It can be a periodic, a book, or a special supplement.

  • Books − It can be of simple, composite, ordinary or artificially composite types.

  • Restricted Document − The document intended to be distributed only to selected institutions and individuals.

  • House Document − The document produced by a commercial, industrial, or other similar institution and intended for use only within it.

  • Private Document − The document intended only for private circulation.

  • Secret Document − The document intended not to be circulated beyond a named group of users.

  • Copyright Document − The document abided to the copyright encumbrance, which cannot be reproduced without the consent of the owner of the copyright.

  • Non-copyright Document − The document free from copyright encumbrance and available to be reproduced without anyone’s consent.

Neo-Conventional Documents

They include data of natural sciences, patents, standards, specifications, reaction or molecular formulae in Chemistry, medical data, and news regarding social sciences are all forms of Neo-Conventional Documents.

  • Standard − Research, Layman, Elementary, and Reporting are typical standards.

  • Patent − Government authority for excluding competitors to claim, make, or sell an invention.

  • Data − Specifications and facts.

Non-Conventional Document

They include the following types −

  • Audio Document
  • Visual Document
  • Audio-Visual Document

Cataloging of Documents

The first cataloging of books must have come into existence when it became difficult to remember the location and other details of the library material from a sufficiently large collection of material only by memory.

Cataloging is the systematic listing and organization of the knowledge resources such that they can be retrieved easily.

Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR)

AACRs cover the description of and the provision of access points for all the library materials commonly collected today. The American Library Association from US and the Library Association from UK, who both were working to develop catalogs formally agreed in 1904 to cooperate in setting cataloging rules.

The first edition of AACR was published in North American texts and British texts in 1967. Both texts of AACR contained three parts: Part I of Entry and Heading, Part II of Description, and Part III of rules for Non-book materials.

Cooperative Cataloging Council (CCC)

The CCC is a body of representatives responsible from the Library of Congress and other public libraries. It participates in cataloging programs. It is responsible for

  • Determining goals and planning the timeline for achieving the same

  • Implementing the identified requirements

  • Identifying the topical issues

  • Examining the issues related to cataloging

  • Making suggestions and recommendations to the Library of Congress, the oldest research and national library that officially serves the United States Congress.

Sears List of Subject Headings

The Sears List of Subject Headings is a database that contains a list of headings with patterns and examples that guides the cataloger to create further headings when required. Since its first edition in 1923, the Sears list has been serving small and medium libraries. The objective of building this database is to make the library collections easily available to its users.

Gradually new editions kept coming and the latest 21st edition of the Sears List today contains more than 250 subject headings which is available in both; print and online format. The online Sears List can be browsed and searched for a particular heading.

Subject Organization

The Indian Library Science Expert Dr. Ranganathan defined subject as an assumed term. Subject is very important in the domain of library when it comes to organizing, managing, and maintaining the knowledge resources in the library. Subject term as well as its meaning is vital for quick retrieval of the information.

The most relevant subject matter helps the cataloger and the library staff to understand and identify the knowledge element efficiently.

Bibliographic Organization or Bibliographic Control

Bibliography is the systematic and meticulous list of resources referred by an author. It also includes references of music, videos, and audios, or encyclopedias and dictionaries, apart from other pieces of written work.

Bibliographic Organization or control involves all the operations required to organize the recorded information according to the established standards so that it can be retrieved easily. There are three types of Bibliographic control −

  • Enumerative (listing references according to certain arrangement)

  • Analytical (listing references according to the history, book’s physical properties, and texts)

  • Annotated (Listing references according to the topic and author’s annotations).

Book Number Organization

Book numbers (also called item numbers) combine with collection numbers and class numbers to form call numbers. Book numbers provide a manner to organize and order books of the same subject that share the same class number.

Book numbers are the last step in classification. This step assigns a unique place to a book in a collection. Book numbers are an important part of classification and cataloguing in the library. While choosing a book number it is decided whether to arrange books alphabetically by author name or chronologically by year of publication.


  • Book Number = Author number + Title (or work) + Edition mark + Publication Date + Volume Number + Copy Number

  • Call Number = Class Number + Book Number with Collection number at the start or end

Public Library Mngmt - Library Classification

Classification is nothing but sorting and organizing the lot of ideas or material in a systematic manner. This helps us recognize an object from others and differentiate it. Classification of knowledge resources is of great concern in Public Libraries.

The fundamental idea of classification in libraries is sorting the knowledge resources based on differences and then grouping them together based on the similarities so that they can be better organized and retrieved.

What is Library Classification?

Library classification is a method by which the knowledge resources are arranged in a systematic manner so that the library staff can retrieve them efficiently from a large collection.

Purpose of Library Classification

Classification has a gross purpose in library. It facilitates −

  • The library staff to arrange, know the location of, and replace the knowledge element in less efforts.

  • The users to get the exact knowledge element they are interested in.

  • Addition of the new knowledge element into the existing repository or withdrawal of it.

  • Track the repository up-to-date.

  • Revealing strengths and weaknesses of the collection.

  • Checking inventory.

Features of Classification Scheme

A classification scheme includes the following features −

Feature Purpose
Schedule It is a list of logically arranged main classes, divisions, and subdivisions with a relevant classification symbol.
Index It is an alphabetical list of all the subjects taken care of by the scheme, with the relevant class mark against each subject. There are relative and specific indices.
Notation It is the system of symbols used to represent the terms employed by the classification scheme. There are two types of notations: Pure (Either alphabets or Numbers) and Mixed (alphanumeric).
Tables These are additional to the schedules and provide lists of symbols.
Form Class It is a class which preserves the form of book than the subject. For example, Fiction, Poetry are the forms whereas Science, Engineering are the subjects.
Generalities Class This class encompasses all general works such as GK books, general encyclopedias, general periodicals, which cannot be allotted to any specific subject.

Public Library Classification Schemes

There are three classification systems depending on how they are used −

  • Universal − They cover all schemes used around the world.

    For example, DDC, UDC, and LCC.

  • Specific − They cover only particular subjects or types of materials.

    For example, British Catalogue of Music.

  • National − They are specially created for specific countries.

    For example, Swedish Library Classification scheme.

In terms of functionality, these schemes can be divided into the following three types −

  • Enumerative − Here, all the possible classes are enumerated according to specific characteristics and further the subordinate classes are produced by following topdown approach of classification. This scheme uses predefined class numbers. For example, DDC.

  • Analytico-Synthetic − Here, a subject is divided into its elements and classification scheme is used to find notations for each element. This scheme uses specific notations and symbols and facilitates flexible class number construction instead of its selection. For example, UDC.

  • Faceted − It lists various facets of each subject or main class, conducts facet analysis, and constructs class numbers depending upon a set of rules. For example, CC.

Normative Principles of Library Classification

The normative principles of cataloging were included in the Theory of Library Catalogue, which was published in 1938. According to Dr. S. R. Ranganathan, there are three fundamental terms that govern the preparation of cataloging codes. They are −

  • Law − It is the accurate and correct statement defining facts or the rules of what or what not to do. For example, Newton’s Laws.

  • Canon − It is a general standard by which an initial judgement can be formed. For example, the first order divisions of knowledge resources in the library.

  • Principle − It is a method or procedure strictly followed while cataloging. For example, forming call numbers in a particular fashion depending upon the cataloging scheme.

Standard Classification Schemes in Public Libraries

Here are some basic classification schemes employed in public libraries −

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

This is a world-wide system of library classification. More than 135 countries use it and it has been translated into more than 30 languages. It is used for browsing mechanism for resources on the Internet.

The following table lists out the basic classes of information −

Dewery Number Class Knowledge Element
000 - 099 Computer Science, Information & General Works Encyclopedia, almanacs, Record books such as Guinness
100 - 199 Philosophy & Psychology Ethics, Behavior, Ghosts, Morals
200 - 299 Religion Mythology, Religious stories
300 - 399 Social sciences Government, Education, Fairy Tales, Community
400 – 499 Language Sign language, Scripts, Foreign Languages
500 – 599 Natural Science Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy, Animals and Plants
600 – 699 Applied Science & Technology Pets, Transportation, Drugs, Inventions, Cooking
700 – 799 Arts & recreation Arts and Crafts, Drawing, Painting, Music, Games, Sports
800 – 899 Literature Stories, Fiction, Riddles, Poems
900 – 999 History & geography Countries, Flags, Historical events, Biographies

For example, the call number “813.54 M37 2007” denotes −

Dewery Number

Colon Classification (CC)

This is a generic system developed by Dr. Ranganathan in 1933. It uses colons (:) to categorize knowledge resources in the library. It starts with a number of main 108 classes and 10 generic classes that represent fields of knowledge. Each main class is composed of five basic facets or groups — personality, matter, energy, space, and time. Each class is analyzed and broken down into basic facets and grouped together by compiling their common attributes. This classification system is used in Indian public libraries.

There are a large number of classification systems used in libraries, which are themselves the topics of great details.

Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

This classification system was developed in 1891. This is based on 21 classes depicted by a single alphabet. Here are the basic classes under LCC −

A - General Works - encyclopedias M - Music
B - Philosophy, Psychology, Religion N - Fine Arts
C - History - Auxiliary Sciences P - Language and Literature
D - History (except American) Q - Science
E - General U.S. History R - Medicine
F - Local U.S. History S - Agriculture
G - Geography, Anthropology, Recreation T- Technology
H - Social Sciences U - Military
J - Political Science V - Naval Science
K - Law Z - Bibliography and Library Science
L - Education

These classes are further divided into subclasses by adding one or two letters to the initial class. Topics in the subclasses are depicted by whole numbers and can be further denoted by decimals depending upon the requirement of the specificity. This string is then appended by an alphanumeric text to identify the author, publishing date, and other details to generate a unique call number for the knowledge element.

For example, the call number “PR9190.3 M3855 L55 2008” denotes:


International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

It is a 13-digit (or 10-digit number before 2007 without a 3-digit prefix) unique number used to identify books and similar material published internationally since 1970. The ISBN is composed of location, publisher, and title.

The ISBN ends with a single-digit checksum. ISBN does not send any information on the book’s subject or author that could be useful for shelving or locating the material. But it can be used to locate collection items in Amazon, and other online bibliographic data.

For example, “ISBN 0-162-01383-9”.

Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)

Two Belgian bibliographers developed this system at the end of the 19th century. This classification system is also called the Brussels Classification. This is based on DDC with significantly large vocabulary and symbols to create detailed content related to the piece of work and in turn retrieve it efficiently. It uses 0 ->9 class numbers that depict various subjects and auxiliary symbols (+, :, ::, *, A/Z, etc.) to denote the relation between them.

For example, the call number “94(410) "19" (075)”. This depicts History (main class) of United Kingdom (place) in 20th century (time), a textbook (form).

Latest Trends in Library Classification

In today’s world of propelling growth of Information technology, the changing and increasing content, varied information formats, and user expectations have made the catalogers’ work more challenging.

  • Cataloging has changed to highest complexity.

  • In multicultural societies the catalogers are expected to be multilingual, capable of handling catalogs in different languages and non-roman scripts.

  • Catalogers are also expected to be IT-literate.

  • Print media remains constantly desirable.

  • New electronic formats have emerged rapidly such as ePub, PDF, Audio/Video files. Constantly changing technology needs catalogers to keep pace with it and handle different formats.

  • Modern cataloguer needs to understand various metadata schemes developed for information resources, identify objectives of the schemes, and select appropriate scheme for cataloging.

  • Joint Steering Committee has recently prepared a new addition of cataloging rules for publication. It decided that the new cataloguing code will be termed as, “Resource Description and Access” or RDA, which will provide international standard rules for cataloging in the field of international information exchange.

Public Library Management - Cataloging

Library is a house of a huge number of knowledge resources with various editions, physical forms, and formats. To be able to manage a large collection of knowledge resources, the library management staff relies on catalogs and catalogers. Cataloging is the backbone of managing the knowledge resources in

Let us know more about the catalog structure, types, and more.

What is a Library Catalog?

A library catalog is a register or a collection of records of all knowledge resources found in a library or a group of libraries, located at different places.

A catalog can be compared with the index of a book. When one can find required information by looking into the index without having to read every page of the book, the catalog provides quick information on where the required book or music CD is located in the library. The, the largest union catalog in the world is managed at Dublin in Ohio. As of January 2016, the catalog has over 360,000,000 records and more than 2 billion library holdings.

What is Cataloging in Public Library?

Cataloging is the process of creating metadata that represents the information resources, such as books, movies, sound recordings, articles, documents, and maps. This is done according to the rules defined for cataloging. These codes are −

  • A.A. Code or Joint Code (UK and USA rules together)
  • American Library Association (ALA) Code
  • Classified Catalog Code defined (by Dr. S. R. Ranganathan)
  • British Museum Code
  • The Vatican Code (for printed books)

A cataloger can produce metadata for the knowledge element to describe it. The metadata includes the Name of the creator or the author, the title, and the subject.

Purpose of Cataloging

Here are some fundamental purposes of cataloging −

  • To manage the library works collection efficiently
  • To locate and retrieve the required knowledge resources easily
  • To save efforts and time of the staff and the user
  • To assist the users with alternative knowledge resources

Types of Catalogs

Here is a list of some important types of catalogs −

  • Author catalogue
  • Name catalogue
  • Dictionary catalogue
  • Classified catalogue
  • Union Catalog

Structure of a Library Catalog

The structure of a catalog is composed of short description of various areas. A catalog can contain the following fields such as −

  • Author/Creator
  • Main Field: Exact Title of the work
  • Subfield: Parallel Title, Brief Description
  • Statement of Responsibility
  • Subject of Work
  • Publication Date
  • Edition/Multiple copies of the same edition
  • Material: Physical form of work such as hardbound, electronic.
  • Description: Number of Pages, Number of CDs in a suit.
  • Media Type: Print/Electronic/Audio/Video/AV
  • Illustrations
  • Series Area
  • Notes Area

The cataloger has the choice of entries against each knowledge resource depending upon what cataloging policies that particular public library is following. The more detailed the catalog structure is, the more access points it provides to retrieve the required knowledge resource.

Types of Library Cataloging

Let us now understand the different types of library cataloging. The following are the basic types −

Centralized and Cooperative Cataloging

Charles Coffin Jewett proposed the idea of such catalog in 1850. He suggested the Smithsonian Institution to start accumulating simplified chunks of its cataloging. Also he suggested other contributing libraries to start compiling the list of knowledge resources and preparing the printed catalogs. He came up with the idea of joint catalogs of two or more libraries by cooperative compilation, and possibly later building a union catalog of all libraries in the country.

Selective Cataloging

In this cataloging style, selective entries for all knowledge resources are cataloged instead of all the entries. Also, the number of added entries are reduced in this cataloging. For example, no entries are created for illustrations except for only famous artists, subject entries for other languages or less-spoken languages is reduced. This method is used for reducing the catalog size and the preparation time.

Selective cataloging comes with its own set of negative aspects; the reader may fail to know if there is some knowledge resource of his interest is available in the library.

Simplified Cataloging

Western libraries also opt this cataloging method to reduce efforts in catalog creation and maintenance as well as reducing the cost of preparing one. In this type of cataloging, the entire knowledge collection is cataloged with simplification of entries in terms of length, relevance, and complexity. For example, the author name is abbreviated, any repeat entry in subtitle is omitted, and the type of illustration is omitted. Also, the detail such as page number is omitted of which the user hardly takes the notice.

Physical Forms of Library Catalogs

It is also called the outer form of the catalog, which is adapted for the users’ preference. There are two most common physical forms of catalogs −

Book Form

It is the printed book-like form. It is the oldest type of commonly used in American libraries. It is expensive if produce by hand. It does not permit to reflect the changes in the library collection easily. The libraries using book form need to keep multiple copies of the catalog to provide access to more users. However, more automation techniques such as inexpensive printing helped this form to gain more popularity.

Card Form

It is the most common form found worldwide. This form used a standard 7.5 x 12.5 cm card to make each entry. These cards are then entered with Author, Subject, Title, and Call Number information. The cards are kept in small drawers. This form is very flexible to add or remove any entry in the collection. On the negative side, the entries are done manually and there are chan

Card Form

Sheaf Form

It is the same as the book form. The entries are typed on loose sheets of paper, sized 7x4 inches. Multiple leaves are then punched, and bound into handy books. Each catalog contains about 500 and 600 sheets. They are arranged on the shelves alphabetically. It is difficult to insert as well as to withdraw an entry than the Card catalogue. It is also portable and more compact than Card catalog. It is not suitable for display purposes.

Computer Output Microfilm (COM) Form

In this catalog form, the archives are created on microfilm, which is recorded in a superior quality as compared to its printed version. They are most efficient when it comes to storage capacity and handling. They cannot be modified until the new microfilms are produced. They are easy to be sent to other libraries or information centers.

Online Catalog

It is the most recent form of catalog where the bibliographic records are stored in the computer memory. They are printed on the display or screen on request from the users. It is the most flexible to addition, deletion, and modification of entries at any time. The results are instantly available to the users. As compared to other three catalog forms, this one is expensive to create.

The users can access it and retrieve information easily from a location that is remote to a library. Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) is an online database a library or a group of libraries manage.

What are CCF and MARC?

Common Communication Format (CCF) is a format intended for indexing and exchanging bibliographic records. CCF adheres to ISO 2709, which specifies a standard format which can hold any bibliographic information. Each CCF record is composed of four parts, such as −

  • Record Label (24 Characters)
  • Directory (Variable Length)
  • Data fields (Variable Length)
  • Record Separator (1 Character)

Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) are standards or a set of digital formats for the description of items catalogued by libraries. A MARC record consists three elements −

  • Leader (24 characters)
  • Directory (Variable Length)
  • Variable Fields (Variable Length)

It is possible to map CCF to MARC.

Subject Heading Lists and Thesaurus

Subject headings are the terms or phrases (also called the Controlled Vocabulary), which are used to classify the knowledge resources. They identify and bring together the information under some commonality. Simply, they are some standard word assigned to various subjects. They are assigned to a piece of knowledge resource based on the concept or the idea it is containing rather than just a word appearing in it.

Using the most appropriate or relevant subject heading saves time to retrieve an intended piece of knowledge resource. Most libraries use Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH).


It is a collection of words with synonyms and related concepts. It helps the cataloger to express the record with more detail thereby improving the search of exact knowledge resource from the vast collection of library.

Public Library Mngmt - Information Retrieval

In the vast expanse of information generated in today’s world, it is indeed very challenging to retrieve the exact required information in the shortest possible time. New technology and computerized searching techniques are aiding information retrieval to be fast yet reliable. Today, the users can use one of the two tools for information retrieval: catalog or indexing service.

What is an Index?

In the domain of library and documentation, the term index is a list of words or headings with associated pointers or locators. The access points are the most relevant subject headings and the pointers are the page numbers, paragraph or section numbers.

An index is useful to find out the material related to that heading in a document, collection of documents, or a library.

What is Indexing?

Indexing is a service that assigns access points to knowledge resources such as books, journals, articles, and documents. Indexing can be done by the author, the editor, or a professional working as an indexer. Index is listed at the end of the book.

Types of Indexing

There are two basic types of indexing depending upon how it is carried out −

  • Manual − performed by humans

  • Automatic − performed by computers

There are also following types of indexing depending upon the way the keywords are coordinated −

  • Precoordinate Indexing − Keywords are coordinated at the time of indexing.

  • Postcoordinate Indexing − Keywords are coordinated at the time of searching.

The subject content needs to be analyzed and then the most appropriate term needs to be produced.

Pre Coordinate Indexing System (PRECIS)

In this indexing system, the search terms are created by the indexer instead of the searcher. The same terms and phrases are used while searching which the indexer assigned to various knowledge resources. The entries are quite descriptive and complex as the terms involve all the related concepts.

Advantages of PRECIS

  • There is no requirement of search logic to a great detail.

  • The users need not get trained for using a particular search query format.

  • It requires no special features in their physical format. Almost all printed indexes reflecting pre-coordinate indexing principles, are hard copy.

  • Concurrent searches are possible.

Disadvantage of PRECIS

  • The relationships among topics once built at the time of index preparation cannot be manipulated. For example, PRECIS are found in journals and bibliographies.

Post Coordinate Indexing System (POCIS)

In this indexing type, the search terms are created not at the time of indexing but at the time of searching to create an index based on the individual search result. Means, the index is created after the complete database is prepared. The searcher has a great control on which terms to combine.

Advantages of POCIS

The following are the advantages of POCIS −

  • It allows the searchers to combine multiple search terms and build their search query.

  • Thus, allows infinite combinations of terms.

  • No fixed sequence of terms is necessary. Each term in the index has equal weight.

Disadvantage of POCIS

The following are the disadvantages of POCIS −

  • It works well only when subject headings are most relevant.
  • It is less precise.

Keyword Indexing

It is a type of indexing that does not have a control on the vocabulary. It is also called natural indexing or free-text indexing. Hans Peter Luhn, a researcher, introduced it in 1950s with the name catchword indexing.

Types of Keyword Indexing

Here are few popular types of keyword indexing −

  • Keyword-in-Context
  • Keyword-out of-Context (KWOC)
  • Keyword-Augmented-in-Context (KWAC)
  • Key Term Alphabetical (KWIC)

Abstract and Abstracting

Abstract is a brief summary produced after analyzing the subject and the written work, which may be in the form of book, research paper, academic document, or similar. Abstract helps the reader to understand the purpose of the work.

An abstract with an index can be described as a key for information retrieval.

Abstracting is a service provided by experts on preparing brief essence of the complete work on a subject or a group of subjects.

Public Library Management - Legislation

Earlier the public libraries were considered to be individual units under the government. According to this status, the laws of library were formed. The first library act came into existence in 1850 in Great Britain. Library legislation is a collection of laws related to managing a library.

Let us know more about public library legislation.

Benefits of Public Library Acts

A Library Act provides the following advantages −

  • It helps in establishing an organized public libraries network.

  • It provides sound library administration.

  • It helps to ensure steady financial aid.

  • It maintains proper coordination between administration and management departments of public libraries.

  • It helps in getting quality service by qualified personnel.

Public Library Legislation in India

Indian government constituted an advisory committee for public libraries in 1958. According to the committee proposal, the library legislation should help to −

  • Determine the role of the public library authorities in their development, functions, and maintenance.

  • Determine the role of government at various levels such as national, state, and district.

  • Provide stable financial support through library cess and a part of educational budget.

  • Determine public representatives and their participation at various levels of functioning.

The Public Library Act in India was enacted in 1948. This developed further but only a few states enacted this Act till 2009.

Press and Registration Act

This act came was enacted in 1867. This was created with an aim to help the government to regulate printing-presses, newspapers, and other printed knowledge resources in India; and also to preserve their copies, and register them.

This Indian Law is the oldest one pertaining to printing and publishing. This regulatory law was aimed to enable the government to regulate printing presses and newspapers and other matter printed in India. The Act underwent numerous amendments from time to time.

The major amendment was made in the Act according to the recommendations of the First Press Commission (FPC) in 1953. The FPC created the Office of the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI) and determined the scope of its duties and functions. The RNI started functioning in 1956. The Act states all the particulars required to be printed on books and newspapers, and the declarations required to be made by a printing press keeper.

Delivery of Books in Public Library Act

This act is applicable for publications under government authority. According to this act −

  • The publisher is obliged to deliver a copy of the book to the National Library (Calcutta) and one such copy to each of the other three public libraries within thirty days from the date of its publication at his own expense.

  • The copy delivered to the National Library must be complete in terms of maps, illustrations, and the content, finished and colored on the best paper, and bound, sewed or stitched together.

  • The copy delivered to any other public library shall be in the ready condition for sale.

  • The authorized recipient of the book copy in return shall give a written receipt to the publisher.

  • Cognizance of offences − No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this act on complaint made by an empowered officer.

  • No court inferior to that of a presidency magistrate or a magistrate shall try any offence punishable under this act.

The Central Government may make rules to practice the purpose of this Act.

Copyright Act of India

This act is the first post-independence copyright legislation in India. This was enacted in 1957. The act was amended six times. It gives right to the creators, composers, writers, authors, and the producers of sound and video recordings.

The following types of works come under the purview of the Copyright Act −

  • Literature
  • Music/Sound Recordings
  • Drama
  • Films
  • Artistic work
  • Cinematographic work
  • Government work
  • Anonymous work

The rights provided under the Copyright Act cover the reproduction of work, communication with the public, and translation of works.

Public Library Management - Associations

In this chapter, we will discuss briefly about some of the popular Indian as well as International library associations.

Indian Library Associations

The library associations are different than the libraries themselves. There were state-wise library associations existing in India before and after India’s independence.

Indian Library Association (ILA)

ILA is a national library association that was founded in 1933. The association represents the people working for Indian libraries. ILA is influential and devoted to the development of public libraries.

Indian Association of Special Libraries & Information Centers (IASLIC)

IASLIC is yet another library association at the national level, working towards the betterment of the public libraries in India. It has a vast membership audience and it plays an instrumental role in the development of public libraries far and wide.

Both ILA and IASLIC are working with the following objectives −

  • Promoting library science education.

  • Improving the training of library staff in India.

  • Promoting the bibliographical study and research in library science.

  • Improving status and conditions of library services.

  • Publishing bulletins periodicals, books, and articles.

  • Conducting conferences and meetings to discuss the issues and ways regarding library development.

  • Promoting appropriate library legislation in India.

  • Formulating and promoting standards, rules, and guidelines for library management, and information systems and services.

University Grants Commission (UGC)

This statutory governmental body found in 1956 works to coordinate, and determine and maintain education standards. It provides recognition to the Indian universities and manages the funds that have to go to these universities and colleges. It ensures continual influx of funds and grants for the libraries.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF)

This library association was established in 1961 at Calcutta. It works towards conducting book exhibitions, developing mobile libraries and digital libraries, and providing high quality services in public libraries through the hands of skilled staff.

International Library Associations

There are a number of international library associations working towards the betterment of libraries in their mother countries and otherwise.

Public Library Association (PLA)

It is a division of the world-known American Library Association (ALA) working for the maintenance and progress of public libraries. It was founded in 1944 and claims to be the oldest American library association. It is engaged to provide myriad programs to communicate, publish, advocate, provide continual education, and ancillary works for its subscribers all others those are interested in the advancement of public library service.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

It was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1927. The association has over 1300 Members in almost 140 countries worldwide. This visionary library association has been working towards spreading the understanding of a good library, setting and following high standards for library services, and delivering the best library services to the members around the world.

United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

It is an agency of United Nations (UN). It works for world peace and security through educational and cultural reforms. UNESCO supports an idea that the public libraries can provide unlimited access to educate the people around the world thereby changing their mindsets against violence, unawareness, and lack of knowledge, and drive them towards peace, awareness of human rights, and their overall welfare.

UNESCO works for the betterment of public libraries to −

  • Foster reading habit and creativity among the children at an early age.

  • Support individual and self-learning as well as formal education through public libraries.

  • Promote awareness of culture, heritage, and arts.

  • Ensure access of free knowledge for all citizens irrespective of age, race, gender, and status.

  • Providing adequate information services to local enterprises.

  • Facilitate computer literacy required for public library management and otherwise.

Public Library Mngmt - Automation & IT

Public libraries across the globe are adapting quickly face according to the progressive changes in storage media, library management, and print technology. Due to automation, today’s public library members have become capable of accessing the knowledge from any corner of the world faster than ever, getting educated using it, and transforming their beliefs and ideas.

Let us know more about automation and IT in public libraries.

What is Library Automation?

Library automation means mechanizing the routine or repetitive tasks in the library with the help of automation device such as computer. Automation reduces drudgery work in the library to a large extent.

Need of Library Automation

It helps to ease and streamline repetitive tasks such as acquisition, collection development, storage, administration, preservation of knowledge resources, and communication in the library among staff and users. It thus increases the productivity of the staff in terms of efforts, time, and services.

Library Automation

Benefits of Library Automation

Public library is automated by planning, designing, and implementation. Following are some vital benefits of library automation −

  • It provides efficient access to various knowledge resources.

  • It reduces the amount of time and efforts to acquire material, take inventory, and manage the knowledge resources.

  • It eases budget administration and record keeping.

  • It introduces library users to global information.

  • It enables the library users to search its collection from outside the library walls.

  • It motivates the users to solve problems, create knowledge than just consume it, and get equipped with information retrieval skills.

  • It improves cataloguing and circulation.

Library Management Software (LMS)

It enables the library staff to manage knowledge resources, inventory, circulation, and cataloging efficiently. Library Management Software enables users to search and access a desired knowledge resources online.

Top Paid Library Management Software

The following are a few paid library management software demand −

  • Polaris − It is an MSSQL server database platform software that can transform a physical library into digital format. It also automates staff workflow and confidentiality in resources circulation and management.

  • Verso − It is a customizable software to fit for any library sized from small to medium.

  • Apollo − This efficient software is specially designed for public libraries, to be integrated with any library and platform.

  • Library World − It is a cloud-based online library management software that provides versatile functionality.

  • Koha − It is developed by library science experts. It is an open source and scalable software that works on multiple platforms to provide multilingual, translatable functions according to library standards.

Top Free Library Management Software

Biblio is a widely-used software. With this software, the library staff can manage different media of knowledge resources such as printed, CD/DVD, tape records, etc. It is also possible to generate reports to manage the library.

BiblioteQ, BookTome, and LMS are some other freeware library management software, which aid to manage knowledge resources of varied formats. They also help to record, search a particular knowledge resource with ISBN, rating, author/creator name, or some keyword, add book details and specify its location, and retrieve it efficiently. In addition, they help the library staff in scheduling the staff and creating reports.

New Developments in Library Automation

In modern days, the libraries have gone beyond the walls of its buildings. Electronic barcodes are used to identify, track, or sort library holdings in the library at the circulation counter. The systems using RFID labels facilitate effective collection management, security of knowledge resources, inventory, and efficient customer service.

RFID tags have no batteries, as they use power from the initial radio signal for transmitting their response. In addition, these tags are very durable. The use of RFID in library automation provides theft detection, and highly reliable and speedy library management. LibBest is a popular RFID-based library system.

Use of Social Networking in Public Libraries

Most of the sophisticated public libraries have their presence on social media for communicating with their users. The libraries use Facebook and Twitter to make their users interact, discuss, share, and gather knowledge.

Public Library Blogs

Here are a few exceptional public library blogs to know −

Digital Libraries and Repositories

The two terms are different in the following way −

Digital Library Repository
It is a collection of digital objects such as text, images, audio and/or video material, recorded in electronic formats. It also includes the means for organizing, and retrieving the files and media in the collection. A repository is a collection of intellectual information generated at an organization, a group of organizations, or only a department of an organization, which is available freely and openly.
It has no bounds of topics. It is generic by nature. It is built around specific subjects or sectors of study.
This is built by practicing deliberate methods of developing collection. This is built by voluntary contribution of scholarly articles and papers.
Services to user are important. User satisfaction through better services is one of the many aspects of managing digital libraries. They offer limited services to user.

Today’s Powerful Search Engines

As the expanse of information and knowledge became widespread beyond the print or analog formats, the search methods developed further to provide easier, efficient, and speedy search.

Today’s digital libraries with their incredible collection of books, magazines, images, movies, audio, and videos in Petabytes (1000 TB = 1PB) need equally powerful and fast search engines that also provide contextual search with high precision at rapid pace.

Popular Search Engines

The following are some popular search engines working today at their best performance levels −

  • Google − It is a world-popular and widely-used search engine that is capable to find the information that one does not know, exists.

  • Yahoo − It is yet another powerful search engine that provides full text search.

  • Lucene − It is an open-source cross-platform search engine developed in Java. It is used where full-text searches are required.

  • Sphinx − It is a search engine developed in C++ programming language and is used for full-text search.

  • Indri − It is a cross-platform, intelligent, SQL-based search engine that can perform search from 50 million documents present on a single computer (single search) or 500 million documents present on various computers on the network (distributed search).