A library is a powerhouse of an institution. Like mitochondria, a library provides the required energy, in the form of documents, (books, reports, thesis, CD-ROM, e-book etc.), and the library is an important component of an institute from an educational point of view. Library services and information diffusion go hand in hand. According to me, the library is equivalent to the mitochondria, (the powerhouse), of an institution and the documents are equivalent to ATP, NADPH, FADP+.
A library has different sections – acquisition, circulation, cataloguing and classification etc. The main purpose of having a library is not only the construction of repositories of documents but its dissemination to the users. In the old era, the definition of a library was simpler than the current era. Today, the user demands more than the just a space having a collection of books. So, we must advance, not in the infrastructure and other components of the library, but in our services, technology, and resources.
A library is also important in an institution like a college, as it provides an ideal environment and space for study. The environment here is suitable for study and according to college students, (based on my experience), they are more productive if they are regular library visitors. Like other departments of a college, even a library is beautifully integrated into the college. And librarians wear more hats because they indulge in many activities apart from their traditional work for the benefit of the college and its users. But, it is the bitter truth that at the ground reality, our libraries are not enough to fit the requirements of today’s era. So, we have to defeat the defeat before the defeat defeats us. No doubt, we have done a lot, to make our libraries functional to their optimum condition. But still, many libraries out there are not competent enough for this digital era.
We must focus on some important aspects, like what kind of community a particular library serves and, accordingly, builds its collections and provide the right services. Now, time demands that we forget the concept, “libraries are just books (its collection)!”.
Of course, books are the first things which come to our minds when we think of libraries. But, it’s not just limited to that. Nowadays, librarians have to play different roles, and the definition of a library is not limited to books. The definition of library and its function is changing from traditional libraries, which is merely the collection of books, to automated libraries, and now as electronic or digital libraries. Due to many barriers in the construction of 100% electronic libraries, the concept of a hybrid library has also emerged.
“Just in time” is a concept of marketing which is also known as “library minute”. For an academic library, like a college library, we provide very short videos which explain the types of resources available in the library and its services. It must be embedded either in the website of the academic institution or we also develop a blog for that library. These kinds of short videos explain how to access online resources, explain value and work of interlibrary loan (ILL) and other services which must be known for proper understanding about the library.
The college library is the heart of the college and its services are like the circulatory system that works for dissemination of information for the betterment of humankind.