Library and society


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A panel discussion at Bangalore Social Science Forum, DR. H N Hall, National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore on April 13, 2009 at 6.00 pm

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  • Library and society

    1. 1. Library and Society A panel discussion Bangalore Social Science Forum DR. H N Hall, National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore April 13, 2009 ; 6.00 pm M S Sridhar Former Head, Library & Documentation ISRO Satellite Centre Bangalore
    2. 2. Introduction • Libraries existed as records room and collection of clay tablets since 3rd millennium BC • Later forms included other perishables like papyrus and parchment (leather) • Destroying such libraries in war and building new ones and at times, from war booty were common • Most were private individual possessions of rulers, rich and aristocrats (later that of religious institutions) with access to selected few • Renaissance generated zeal for learning with demand for books, which handwritten manuscripts could not meet • Johannes Guttenberg invented ‘movable printing press’ in 1439, which gave boost for mass production of books and brought books and libraries to the reach of common man M S Sridhar
    3. 3. Library and Society • Library and society are inter-linked and interdependent • Library is a well acknowledged ‘social agency’ • The social role of library is complex and its responsibilities are stupendous • There is a strong communication between library and society • Library plays pivotal role in molding and shaping society (a training school for democracy) • Holds cumulated and consolidated intellectual output of society (authors are alive in books and libraries!) • Transmits and disseminates accumulated experience of society to its individual members through the instrument called ‘book’ M S Sridhar
    4. 4. Library • An effective means and strategy for handling explosion of information and knowledge • A ‘social (& public) institution’: a product of society for its cultural development enabling group to survive and conserve the past • Library is the ‘mind of society’, ‘house of wisdom and learning’, ‘community’s intellectual center’, ‘common stock of knowledge’, ‘roots and fruits of great civilization’, ‘product of our cultural maturation’, etc. • “Without public library support there can be no true democracy, no real freedom of mind or of body” - Unesco M S Sridhar
    5. 5. Information Age Agricultural Age Industrial Age Information Age Thousands of years Centuries Decades Contributio Steep falling n (55 to 25% in to GDP 50yrs) Steep falling Fast increasing (46% from service Economy) Employme nt slow falling (70 to 66% in 50yrs) slow falling fast increasing Learning from parents schools self Inputs men machines mind Duration M S Sridhar
    6. 6. Types of Libraries: a strategy to meet diverse needs of Society • Public libraries (common man’s university) • Academic libraries (hub of learning) • National libraries (repository of nation’s heritage) • Special libraries (information service centers) • Others like Private, Digital, Hybrid, etc. M S Sridhar
    7. 7. Role of Libraries in Society • Educational needs Formal and non-formal Life long self-education for self improvement and well informed citizenry Literacy promotion; in-service trainings • Entertainment/ Recreation & Cultural and Ideological needs Purposeful and useful utilization of leisure time (needs to compete with aggressive players of digital media like TV, Internet, etc.) To preserve and encourage cultural and intellectual activities of the community M S Sridhar
    8. 8. Role of Libraries in Society contd. • Preserving heritage for posterity • Information Services – business, economic, social and other information to needy • Support to R&D and industrial developments • Others Providing a quite place New roles like filling tax forms, magic show, reading clubs, internet, etc. A move in American libraries is to provide even video game clubs for teenagers M S Sridhar
    9. 9. Place of Library in Society Those meeting esoteric requirements like religious service, art, etc. as well as those considered extremely precious/ essential resources like money, health, food, etc. are certainly on top Books and libraries are neither esoteric nor essential for existence But library services should be at least on par with other welfare services Unfortunately, a striking characteristic of all under developed nations is their paucity of libraries M S Sridhar
    10. 10. Provision for Libraries: Some Facts As per IFLA standard, there should be one public library for every 3000 people & the nearest library unit should be not more than a mile away Accordingly, we should have had 330,000 public library units; But we actually have 60,000 (In 1954, we had 32,000; During next 48 yrs 28,000 were added, i.e., @ 600/yr, we require 500 more years to create remaining 268,000!) Russia has 325,000 libraries for 22 crore population, i.e., 1 per 677 people & 6 b books (27 books/ head) in 70 languages India has 1 library for every 16,000 people; In Karnataka per capita books is 0.26 & per capita expenditure is Rs. 1.23 Karnataka is the 3rd state to enact P L ACT (1966); Since then , in 36 yrs established 3000 libs with 1100 personnel (at least 17,000 lib units are required ) M S Sridhar
    11. 11. Libraries in India (Estimate for 96-97) Public Libraries 54845 University / Deemed to be University Libraries 267 College Libraries 8000 Science and Technology Libraries 1200 Social Science Libraries 450 Government Department Libraries 800 Art, Culture and Humanities Libraries 500 School Libraries (Higher secondary / Secondary / Primary and Upper Primary) Total 404128 Source: 1. India, Planning Commission. Report of the working group of the Planning Commission of Libraries and Information for the Ninth Five Year Plan, 1997-2002. New Delhi, May 1996. 2. India, National Council of Educational Research and Training. Sixth All India Educational Survey. New Delhi, 1998. M S Sridhar
    12. 12. Statistical miscellany – 16 M S Sridhar, Head, LDD (Dec. 1, ’02) Biggest Libraries of the World (Volumes in millions) RANK NAME 3 Na ti ona l l i br a r y of Indi a PLACE 1 Llibrary of congress Wash, DC 23 2 N.L. of China Ne w Y or k P ubl i c Li br a r y 16 Ottawa 14.5 4 Deutsch bibliotek Frankfurt 14.4 5 British Library London 6 Harvard University 1 0. 5 Beijing 3 N.L. of Canada 9. 5 Y a l e Uni v i v e r s i ty Li br a r y VOLS IN M Cambridge 2.9 13.0 7 Russian State Library Moscow Na ti ona l D i e t Li br a r y (J a pa n) R us s i a n Sta te Li br a r y 8 Nat.Diet Library Ha r v a r d Uni v e r s i ty Li br a r y 10.5 New Heron 9.5 Note: Indian National library claims to have several million items including 3 m books 1 2. 9 B r i ti s h Li br a r y 11.3 New York 10 Yale Univ. Library 11.8 Tokyo 9 New York Pub. Lib. 11.3 11.8 13 D e uts c h bi bl i ote k (G e r ma ny ) 1 4. 4 Na ti ona l Li br a r y of C a na da 1 4. 5 Na ti ona l Li br a r y of C hi na 16 Li br a r y of C ongr e s s 23 0 M S Sridhar 5 10 15 20 25
    13. 13. Special Libraries • Special library is a 20th century phenomenon • Industrial revolution, world wars, industrial & scientific research followed by tremendous increase in publications, need to know what has already been done & published in a given area have led to the idea of information service • A sort of 'intelligent department' with the duty to get to know all other possible sources of information & organise the literature came into existence M S Sridhar
    14. 14. Special Libraries contd. • ‘Putting knowledge to work' is the mission; serves as a source of knowledge rather than recreation and collects all the information in wide variety of forms that will help its organisation to fulfill its policy/ mission and bring its work to fruition quickly and in some cases, at least, profitably • They serve limited highly specialised customers • Normally not open to public • They emphasise unit of information rather than complete document M S Sridhar
    15. 15. Organise wide variety of forms No. of Records (As of Dec 2006) Database Books 42374 Conference papers 58802 Seminars held at ISAC 171 Reports (Hard Copy) 15433 Reports (Microfiche) 144897 Standards 8500 ISAC Reports 4892 ISAC papers Hindi / Kannada / Govt. rule books 2595 Non-book Materials 2344 Student Reports 1227 Bound Journals 24282 Journal Articles 4000 310242 TOTAL M S Sridhar 725
    16. 16. Digital Contents (Full Text E-Resources) A. Owned/ held (born-digital) CDs Floppies Total • books 779 340 1119 • journals 654 41 695 • reports 37 1 38 • standards 1 7 8 • Others 6 6 Total 1477 389 1866 B. Not owned (Cyber copies) • e-journals 145 • e-books / reports 3 • Online books stores 57 C. Specially digitised collection • Internal reports • Papers of ISACians • In-house Technical Journal JST at M S Sridhar Non-book materials • Video cassettes 120 • Motion pictures 35 • Maps 78 • Charts 12 • Slide sets 6 • Globes 2 • Audio files 108
    17. 17. No. of visitors to Library Home Page –Dec 2006 2247 1338 3 4 6 9 7 8 8 8 1 1 1 0 6 1 13 6 10 5 4 9 153 50 4 1 2 4 3 4 2 1 1 2 1 7 1 26 1 23 8 103 2 7 30 3 2 1 1 27 M S Sridhar
    18. 18. Reading Habit • Ours is more a ‘chatting society’ than ‘reading society’; Cultural habit is to listen and chat than serious reading • One who does not read books has no advantage over one who cannot read (An educated who is not having reading habit is in no way better position than an illiterate) • In children, 8 to 13 years age is considered to be the golden age for developing reading habit as a leisure activity • Reading habit is like ‘passport’ to many different new ’worlds’ like the world of past, future, technology, nature, outer space, other countries and above all the innermost part of human heart (personality) M S Sridhar
    19. 19. Reading Habit contd. • Parents (particularly father) and teacher are the role models for children in acquiring the habit • If the child is exposed to more books, it helps him to develop a strong liking for reading • In India hardly 28% of educated have reading habit; Of which 16% do light/ rare reading and 7% occasional reading • Average American reads < 1 book per year; 58% never finish a nonfiction book after high school; more than 50% of adults have not read any book for last 6 months; • In Britain, 25% of adults have not read any book for last 6 months; In last 25 years, reading time has increased from 3 to 7 minutes per day and readers have gone up by 17% • In Brazil, only one-third (25%) of educated have reading habit M S Sridhar
    20. 20. Reading Habit & Digital Explosion • Digital invasion is the main enemy • TV with easy access and massive instantaneous dissemination capacity needs no efforts and consumption skills; it is powerful hypnotic gadget and a cultural melting pot • Considered as a third parent to children • Cuts margin between childhood and adulthood • As violent and ‘hot’ medium exposes to unrealistic and provocative life (about 1 lakh acts of violence are seen by an average American child before attaining the age of 13) • TV has scant respect for intelligent viewers • Internet has created ‘digital nomads’ M S Sridhar
    21. 21. Reading • A multilevel cognitive mental process • A tool of learning; Exemplary form of learning (a good reader is a good learner or improved reading ability improves learning ability) • No more a privilege of small cross section of society; Provides life-long self-education (In 100 years 80% doing manual vocation changed to 80% doing intellectual profession) • Good readers like reading (Non-readers read poorly & find reading a difficult task) • Makes full use of individual’s capacity • Broadens & creates life-long interest • Books are bearers of knowledge from generation to generation & they can hardly be superseded by any other medium in passing on intellectual achievements M S Sridhar
    22. 22. Reading contd. • Reading is ‘cool’, provides lasting experience, allows flexibility in use, no health hazard, upholds cultural values, perception independent (as against perceptual constancy of TV), demands careful mental processing and analysis leading to analytic mode of learning (as against synthetic mode of TV) • Reading supports drive for self improvement, breaks loneliness and isolation created by technology, provides freedom & autonomy, respects individuality, supports diversity. It leads to purposeful & fruitful time spending, sponsors rational thinking and dispassionate analysis • Research has shown that reading improved performance as well as behaviour of school children M S Sridhar
    23. 23. Market Penetration of telecommunication, Internet, PC, Pay-TV and Public Libraries 2005 Fixed line 4.0 Mobile 2.1 Internet 1.8 PCs 1.3 Pay-TV Subscribers 3.9 2008 5 9.1 6.9 2.6 5.7 Public Library <2 (Source: The India Telecom rep 2005 by Business Monitor Int. ltd) M S Sridhar
    24. 24. Media in Karnataka Urban Newspaper Rural Total 45.2 19 27.9 80 46.4 68.7 22.9 23.3 21.8 Cinema 9.6 5 13.5 Internet 2.3 0.3 1.5 3 0.2 1.1 86.6 60.5 79.0 TV Radio Mobile Total (Source: Maxes, Bangalore; Figures are coverage in %; Urban: Rural 30 :70) M S Sridhar
    25. 25. Reading Habit & TV In Japan with the advent of TV, time spent on reading (150 m/ day) in 60’s is reduced to 33m/ day in 1995. In America, hours spent per person in 2000 (In another survey, about 5 hours per day) Television Radio Recorded Music Daily Newspapers Internet Magazines Books Video Games Home Video Movies in Theaters Total 1633 961 263 151 124 107 90 70 59 12 3470 (Source: Veronis, Suhler. Quoted from Liebowitz Accn no. 38954, p126 & 134) M S Sridhar
    26. 26. Statistical miscellany-11 M S Sridhar, Head, LDD (Sep 16, ’02) Percentage of time spent on print medium remained same over the years - National Readership Survey 1995(%) 2001(%) TV 62 72 RADIO 22 11 INTERNET 0 PRINT 16.0% INTERNET 1.0% RADIO 11.0% 1 PRINT 16 16 2001 80 TV 72.0% 1995(%) 2001(%) 70 60 50 Note: 2001 survey had 212,000 adult respondents; average urban Indian spends 2 hrs a day on media consumption 40 30 20 10 0 TV INTERNET RADIO PRINT MS Sridhar
    27. 27. Statistical miscellany –13 M S Sridhar, Head, LDD (Oct. 16, ’02) Web Characterisation & use surveys Effectiveness of sites T yp e o f s ite s brochure w are sites 40% Pr ovi si onal 38% clearly designed sites 2% Publ i c 41 % no sites found 58% Pr i vate 21 % jo b related info rmatio n 1. the ‘invisible’ or ‘deep’ web is over 500 times larger than ‘surface’ web 2. 25000 'mega sites' represent 50% contents 3. mean size of a public site is > 130 pages 4. no engine is indexing > 16% 0f publicly accessible sites 5. over 8000 search engines; >800 m pages ; >8 m sites 3 % of time spent chat 10 academic info rmatio n 8 Internet use in India • ½ hr to 2 hrs per day (av: 86.1 min.) • 97% for e-mail purpose • top of mind recall : yahoo general info rmatio n hotmail 13% 7 e-mail M S Sridhar 22% 38 0 10 20 30 40
    28. 28. Book Buying Habit • As per income elasticity of demand, books are ‘inferior’ goods of leisure industry • Over a century, income distribution became more skewed, spending on leisure increased from 1% to 6% and is more evenly spread (leisure spending is no more a luxury) • For every 10% increase in income, there is 20% increase in spending on leisure and most leisure goods except books, magazines and newspapers are income elastic • Ten preferences of 100 sample teachers in spending UGC arrears did not include books or journals • In Europe, there are more couples who own two cars than buying two books a year M S Sridhar
    29. 29. Book Buying Habit contd. • 95% of books sold in America are bought directly by individuals and remaining 5% by libraries. Borrowed use of books of American libraries is almost equal to 95% of books directly bought and read by individuals. • In contrast, book buying is poor in India. Despite having second largest literate population (after China) and large middle class literates almost equal to US population, individual purchases of books account for less than 25% of total sales of books • Per capita purchase of books in New Zealand is more than 75 times that in India M S Sridhar
    30. 30. Book Market • Book production in India is down from 7th in the world in 1960s to 17th in 1990s; third largest for books in English (US & UK have over a lakh titles per year) • Official estimate is around 22000 titles where as IPA estimates as about 57000 titles (40% English books) with Delhi contributing 25% • Only 2% or 18 m read English; English books account for 21% of sales & almost 100% of imported books are in English and mostly from US or UK M S Sridhar
    31. 31. Use of Libraries • Use of library is a minority event • A survey in one university revealed that not even 5% of the teachers take books from the library • “The common experience is that library facilities are often asked for, insisted upon, but rarely made use of” • “The lack of adequate library facilities is both cause and effect of our low educational achievement” – Moulana Azad M S Sridhar
    32. 32. Conclusion : Future? • Librarywala: Mumbai Karishma Merchant currently has 8,700 books with more than 1,100 members; the cheapest plan costs Rs 139 per month for three books • A new generation library for community in Whitefield that would combine a book store ambience with a traditional functioning of a library with effective usage of technology including RFID tags called Just Books – R Sundararajan • There is strong tradition of voluntary and philanthropic library service in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarath, Kerala, Manipur and Mizoram (Kerala Granthalaya Sangha has over 5000 libraries) • In Karnataka, Ramakka-Padmakka Trust spends Rs. 6-7 lakhs a year & over 200 village libraries established with this aid • INFOSYS Foundation assisted thousands of school libraries M S Sridhar
    33. 33. Thank you M S Sridhar