Benefiting From Public Libraries

Public libraries have through time, changed and become full-blown learning centers where you get more than just a book read to kill time.

Time has brought about the need for libraries to adapt to modern trends of conveying information. These include powerful tools like CDs DVDs and Podcasts. Therefore, it is not a shocker if someone you know asked you to join a public library.

Getting people to visit a library calls for the person inviting them to also walk the talk. You can only be successful at inviting your kids to be visiting a library if you are yourself a frequent face in the library.

There are vast resources available at the library that you can use to lure your kids to be frequent visitors to the libraries. Encourage them with storybooks and movies.

Apart from learning, a library should also serve the recreation needs that visitors require. It should not be a classroom like atmosphere where you learn and leave at your pleasure.

The traditional DVD rental stores are now facing competition from public libraries that have also started lending out current movies to their members as long as they are registered and have a library card.

A growing trend is picking up. This is the idea of introducing seminars, classes and expos where members are able to learn new fields.

Technology improvements have made it easier to teach people using various forms of multimedia. People are, more likely to learn faster and in a fun manner. The use of videos and other multimedia has given people variety from the earlier method that revolved mainly around print media.

Efforts Of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan For Public Library Legislation And Service- A Review

Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan was a visionary who realized the importance of library legislation for the promotion and development of library movement in India. He was a far-sighted person fully devoted to the cause of library and information science. He was fully aware regarding the role of libraries in the enhancement of education in any society. He understood the impact of educational advancement for the development of country and the effectiveness and utility of libraries to promote education.

In 1924, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan visited a number of public libraries during his stay in United Kingdom. These visits enabled him to study the system, functioning, funding and services of various libraries. As a consequence he was convinced that library legislation alone would provide a systematic, well-knit and efficient public library service. Since public libraries are informal agencies of education, therefore it is obligatory for a welfare state to provide, maintain and develop a network of public libraries to meet the needs of the masses. A public library being essential a peoples’ institution is to be maintained out of public funds, which have to be collected most equitably. Only the government has got the power and authority to impose and collect taxes through legal sanction, hence library legislation is essential to collect the library cess. Thus it is apparent that it is imperative for the government to enact library legislation for the establishment and smooth functioning of a network of public libraries to cater to the educational needs of the general public.

Dr. S. R. Ranganathan was the first person in India who ever thought about the need for library legislation in 1925 after returning to India from England. He drafted a ‘Model Library Act’ and presented it for discussion at the First All Asia Educational Conference, which was held in Banaras on 27-30 December 1930. The participants of the conference were fully convinced with the advantages of draft legislation and the views of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan. This ‘Model Library Act’ was published by the Madras Library Association during the year 1936. He later on amended the draft Act twice- once in 1957 and again in 1972. This Model Library Act was introduced in the shape of Bill in the Madras Assembly in 1933, through Mr. Basher Ahmed Sayeed, the member of the Assembly an enthusiast of public library system.

Salient features of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan’s Model Library Act are: –

Except the Kerala Public Libraries Act, 1989, all the Acts, which have passed in India during the years 1948 to 1990, have the influenced of Model Public Libraries Act drafted by Dr. S. R. Ranganathan.

Dr. S. R. Ranganathan made persistent efforts for getting the library Acts passed by various States in India and dreamt of having it a land of libraries. He prepared a number of Model Bills for various States. Following is a list of them: –

He also prepared a Model Union Library Bill in 1948 and redrafted it in 1957.

India got the first Public Library Act through the ceaseless efforts of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan. For the first time the Public Library Act was passed by the Madras Legislature in 1948. There is an interesting story behind the success of getting the Library Bill enacted in the third attempt in 1946 although the two attempts made earlier had failed. The first attempt was made by Janab Basher Ahmed Sayeed when he introduced the Bill in Madras Legislature in 1933 but it could not get through as the Madras Legislature was dissolved in 1935. A second attempt was made in 1938 but later on the World War-II began and the Bill could not be adopted. In 1946, Mr. Avinashalingam Chettiar, who was an old student of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan, became the Education Minister in Madras State. One day, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan took a copy of the Model Library Act and went to meet the Minister at his house after his usual morning walk. The Minister was surprised to see his “Guru” early in the morning and enquired about the purpose of his visit. Dr. S. R. Ranganathan replied that he came to demand his “Gurudakshina”. When the Minister promised to offer the same, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan gave a copy of Model Act and expressed his wish to have it enacted into a law during his tenure as Minister. Mr. Avinashalingam Chettiar piloted the Bill and got it enacted in 1948.

Gates Foundation Grants Internet Access Assistance to Us Public Libraries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is continuously providing assistance to public libraries across the United States through Opportunity Online program. The philanthropic organization’s grants cover installation and improvement of Internet access to help provide high-quality, fast, and free online connection to specific computer workstations and centers in public libraries, which in turn are used by many people.

Opportunity Online is granting assistance in the form of funding, technical support, and associated training for at least two years per public library. This program is primarily focused on assisting public libraries that are in turn serving bigger populations. Public libraries that are almost vulnerable to having obsolete technology are prioritized. Eligible libraries should at the same time be able to secure funding commitments before receiving any grant from the program. This is to make sure there is appropriate community support for maintenance of computer upgrades.

It is estimated that about 40% of the US population are still not enjoying Internet access at their homes. Thus, public libraries are serving and facilitating critical link between users and technology, especially to many who are not able to afford getting Internet access services on their own. It is not surprising that currently, millions of Americans are using Internet through public libraries in different purposes like earning long-distance education degrees, starting and advancing small businesses, finding critical information on jobs, learning better English, getting e-government services and information, and many more.

Most public libraries are applying for potential grants from Opportunity Online because Internet access has really become among the most essential services that are required by people. Library administrators assert that their facilities must be able to maintain technology tools to help more people access and use information and services offered online.

However, there are still many concerns and requirements that many public libraries should address as they start and keep facilitating Internet access to numerous users. First, the average 256 KBPS connection to Internet network has to be ramped up. At present, most libraries that are capable to connect online are not able to support bandwidth traffic activities like MP3 downloading (for sound and video files), video-streaming, and other forms of interactive communication.

Opportunity Online could commit to investing in public libraries’ connectivity, training, research, and even advocacy. The program could not in any way fully takeover or fund what public libraries need. That is why aside from Opportunity Online grants, libraries should also secure other support from local governments and non-government organizations in their communities. The program is set to only jumpstart the initiative. In the long run, public libraries are expected to be able to support their online services on their own.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, is working to help many people lead productive, comfortable, and healthy lives. The organization is guided accordingly by the belief that every single life has real and equal value. Within developing countries, the foundation is focused on helping people improve their health and providing opportunities for them to stay out of hunger and burden from possible extreme poverty. In the US, the foundation seeks to make sure all people get the ability to seize opportunities to succeed. That is why providing Internet access is one of the priority projects of the organization.