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Implications of 1st Law of Library Science

1. Introduction: The 1st of Library Science is “Books are for Use”. The first law embodies an elementary principle and all the other laws of library science are based on the first law. The library becomes great not because of its collection or building but as a result of the use made of by its users. Therefore, the motto of a librarian should be to acquire process and serve document for use. The implication of this law is limited to make the physical carrier of information accessible to the user. A modern librarian who has belief in first law will feel satisfied only if the user keeps the shelves constantly empty.

2. Location of the Library: Location of the library should be the one which is conveniently accessible to the community to be served. A public library should be at a place which most citizens can frequently visit regularly on some business or other; at the same time the location should be as free from noise and other disturbances as possible so that serious study can be made. A University library should be centrally located. A special library should be near the factory entrance or factory canteen. In case of school and college libraries the location does not matter very much because distances are small from various sections. However, it would be preferable to have it centrally located.

3. Library Building and Furniture: The library building should be well planned. The exterior should be inviting and the interior should be attractive. The building should be functional and at the same time aesthetic. It should be functional one providing enough space for various purposes to meet the requirements. The furniture should be so provided as to give comfort to the readers and to make use of the resources of the library as conveniently as possible. Racks in which books are kept should not be high and books on the top shelves should be easily reachable.

4. Library Hours: The opening hours of the library should be decided keeping in view the need of the user. The influence of the first law on library hours has resulted in opening for long hours and on all days of the year without any holidays. Library hours should also be convenient to the users. If possible, each user of the library should be provided with facilities so that the user can use the library at any hour, whenever he feels like using it.

5. Library Staff: In order to maximize the use of the library, it is essential that library staff should be qualified and efficient. Every member of the staff should perform the role of a friend, philosopher and guide to all those who come to the library to use it. The staff should believe in and follow the philosophy of service to the user. They should be approachable, courteous, helpful and willing to appreciate the point of views of others; a missionary zeal to serve the user; amiable manners and professional competence are the essential qualities of the library staff for carrying out the mandate of the first law.

6. Book Selection: The books should be selected and acquired keeping in view the present and potential requirement of the user. There should also be a periodical weeding out of books.

7. Shelf Arrangement: The books should be classified, catalogued and arranged according to a helpful sequence so that the user can locate the book with a minimum of effort.

8. Reference Service: The personal service will lead to greater use of library document. There may be instances when a user may feel shy to approach the librarian. In such cases

9. Constant Funding for the Libraries: The first law can only be satisfied if library has enough funds and the library itself obtains free copy of books from different sources. If library legislation comes to help in this regard or the readers of a library are ready to pay according to their need, the law, Books are for use, can be satisfied in every aspect.

10. Influence of the 1st Law: In the ancient period books were rare i.e. multiple copies were not available due to the non availability of printing machines. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century books were actually kept in chains (chained library) to confine their movement to the sphere determined by their chain. Such chaining was more conducive to the preservation than to the use of the books. This practice was in contrast to the first law of library and Information Science. However it was justified on the ground that during those days copying of the book was a very tough requiring long hours to copy by hand. So, in the past, there was a great deal of negligence towards the first law. In modern times due to the availability of printing technology, photocopying, scanning etc it is possible to overcome all such barriers.

The forces of the first law as a whole can be traced out as
- Make the library open access rather than traditional closed access;
- Make free access to the book world;
- Branch libraries should open in the larger cities in order to be easily reachable within a few minutes’ walk from each house;
- Books should be carried in motor van from street to street for their distribution amongst the residents.
- Books should be sent free to the houses of those that would offer to get them introduced in their neighborhood;

11. Conclusion: A modern librarian who has faith in the first law is happy only when his /her readers make his/her shelves constantly empty. Also in such cases he/she will go to them, not to snatch away the book they are using but to distribute the new arrival that needs to be introduced to them as quickly as possible.

Due to the result of a rudimentary practice of preserving the documents, that tendency has remained as a regular habit in the successive generation of librarians. The modern librarian should overcome such a habit and there is an urgent need for the vigorous attempt to eliminate the negligence to the first law.
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