Search for Almost Anything! 1200+ Pages of Contents Written by Experts

Five Laws of Library Science

1. Introduction: According to Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, considered by librarians all over India as the father of library science, “there can be no doubt however, that there are certain essential principles underlying the management of library according to the present days’ need and conception”. Ranganathan expounded these principles in a systematic form and reduced them to five cardinal principles. He has developed all these rules of library organization and management as the necessary implication and inevitable corollaries of his five laws.

2. Five Laws of Library Science: In the context of library science, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan conceived the five laws of library science in 1924. The statement embodying these laws were formulated i.e. the laws took the final form in 1928 and a detailed account of these laws and their implication were published in the form of a book in 1931 by Bombay Asia Publishing House (This is also the year in which Melville Dewey passed away). Most librarians worldwide accept the five laws as the foundations of their philosophy. As such Ranganathan’s five laws of library science have found universal acceptance as Pentagon of Library Philosophy.

The five laws of library science are:
a) Books are for use.
b) Every reader his / her book (i.e. books are for all).
c) Every book its reader (i.e. every book in a library must find its reader)
d) Save the time of the reader (i.e. a user is supposed to be a busy person. So his / her time must be saved). Corollary: Save the time of the staff.
e) Library is a growing organism (a library always grows in terms of document i.e. book, reader or user and staff).

Ranganathan at first formulated the statement of four laws only, Laws 2-5 in the present state. The first law emerged last from the casual hint provided by his professor E. B. Ross.

3. Need of the Laws of Library and Information Science: In the past before the formulation of library science laws there was no evidence of an overall view of libraries. It looked as if future development were totally unpredictable. By proposing the laws Ranganathan solved the problem. The basic needs of the laws of library science are:

a) Helps Library Science to Become an Independent Subject: A subject cannot stand in its position unless some fundamental laws are not attached to it, so by proposing the laws Ranganathan put the first stone in this direction. The five laws of library science are fundamental laws of library and information science and are applicable to any problem in the areas of library science, library service and library practice.

b) Denote Library Practices: Laws of library science contain in a latest form all the library practices of the past and the present and those which are likely to be evolved in the future. The five laws are guiding norms; these are the verified principles applicable everywhere in the library world. The laws of library science guide the staff in decision-making about what is right and what is wrong in a given situation.

c) Help in Deriving Canon, Principles and Postulates: With the help of these five laws of Library Science we can derive canons, principles and postulates applicable in different fields of library and information science. These fundamental laws will serve as a source of inspiration and guidance in the years to come.

d) Give Pressure at the Subconscious Level to Work: Scientific methods are applicable equally in both natural and social sciences. The only difference lies in the status of the basic principles. These were hypotheses in the natural science and normative principles in the social sciences. (Hypothesis: Proposed explanation of something made on the basis of limited evidence used as a starting point for further investigation.)

e) Serve as a Higher Court in Resolving Conflict: These laws are applicable to any problem in the areas of library science, library service and library practice. In case of conflict between canons of cataloguing, classification, etc.  an appeal is made to the five laws of library science to resolve the conflict. The laws of library science also help in solving any conflict that may arise during the functioning of libraries. The five laws serve as a higher court.

f) Boundary Condition: Laws of library science locate the boundary condition within which the librarian might work.

4. Variants of the Five Laws of LIS: According to Ranganathan’s own words “One is the generalization of the concept ‘Book’ this has been emphasized in recent years in the term document”, so Ranganathan later on in his “Documentation and its Facets” reformulated the laws as
a) Documents are for use.
b) Every reader his / her document.
c) Every document its reader.
d) Save the time of the reader.
e) Library is a growing organism.

In 1998, librarian Michael Gorman (past president of the American Library Association, 2005-2006), recommended the following laws in addition to Ranganathan's five in his small book, "Our Singular Strengths":
a) Libraries serve humanity.
b) Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated.
c) Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
d) Protect free access to knowledge.
e) Honor the past and create the future.

In 2004, librarian Alireza Noruzi recommended applying Ranganathan's laws to the web in his paper, "Application of Ranganathan's Laws to the Web"
a) Web resources are for use.
b) Every user his or her web resource.
c) Every web resource its user.
d) Save the time of the user.
e) The Web is a growing organism.

5. Conclusion: Ranganathan’s five laws of library science consist of five short statements but they provide guidance and rationale for practice and teaching of library and information science. With the help of these laws, we can derive postulates, cannons and principles applicable in different fields of library and information science.  The first three laws emphasize the exploitation of the documents of the library fully by the maximum number of users. The fourth law gives emphasis on the role of reference librarian and has a great potentiality to bring reforms in the running of libraries. All laws as a whole will serve as source of inspiration and guidance in the years to come.
To Read Next Page Kindly Click Here

No comments:

Post a Comment