The role of libraries in modern society
THE ELECTRONIC era of the 21st century has brought changes to the libraries working environment and acquisition of information resources that in turn presupposes the implementation of new strategies, change of structures and devising new acquisition principles.
In the modern information society libraries have a new role and there are various types of library models. In the modern information society, where the use of electronic services and Web-based information sources constantly increases, libraries are managed in a more democratic way, have more flexible communication system and work organisation, and their service development is based on the quality and user-orientation of services.
To be successful, the libraries should pay more attention to the development trends of information society that would enable to adjust their development strategies to social information needs. For that reason it is important to see library as a part of social model of the society and its role in social development plans and strategies and in legislation.
As the society developed from time to time the same case is of libraries. We know that the information society demands to re-define the objectives of all the institutions which work with information, knowledge, and culture, etc. Of these, the media and education have been discussed in the developing countries as well as developed countries actively. Libraries have been a marginal theme. In old days libraries were Respectable because of
• Libraries were about reading
• They were about reading good books
• They were about good behavior and
• They were not always friendly or welcoming.
Libraries were often built as cultural statements, rather than as a useful and accessible place. The size and architecture could be more important than the function of the library. But with the passage of time the trend has changed now. The libraries are especially important now when the whole idea of education is stressed more and more independent learning and acting. All citizens must be able to find and use information. It is the key raw material – but it is a zero resource, if there are no access points to it and if documents are not in proper order. The society and library are inter-related things advancement in society is the advancement in the library. Those states having good libraries in their society must have good citizens in all walks of life.
The peoples of developing countries are not aware about the contemporary society, because of the limited number of libraries. In my point view if a society wants to improve their way of life they must advance first their libraries. The libraries worked only for acquiring materials reserve materials and disseminate them in their users. If there is no library user in such society, how will a state be developed? In short, providing information services for today and the future requires us to learn from the past, which may mean discarding past examples.
We need to look at how people behave, what they need and what they want, in the specific social circumstances in which we are working. The information institutions that we design on this basis may look very unfamiliar, but they will be capable of reversing the decline of the library. So keeping in mind for a develop society a developer library is required to enhance the way of thinking of the concerned users of the contemporary society.
The writer is Assistant Library Officer in the National Defence University, Islamabad.