User Expectations in Private-Public Libraries in India

By Vasanthi, M. Christina | Library Philosophy and Practice, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

User Expectations in Private-Public Libraries in India


Vasanthi, M. Christina, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Private-public libraries are those public institutions that are run by private management. Except in finance and governance, all activities, functions, and aims are the same for both private-public libraries and government public libraries. Private-public libraries get their operating expenses from donations, subscription or membership fees, and user community grants from the Department of Culture of the Government of India. Public library funds are provided by government funds that are created by means of taxes, donations, subscriptions, government grants and user fees.

Private agencies or registered societies maintain private-public libraries. They have the right to allocate the funds for both recurring and nonrecurring expenses. The administrators of these libraries create policies for management and administration. Government public libraries, by contrast, must adhere to government rules and regulations for the allocation of funds and other administrative matters.

Some private-public Libraries (Tamil Nadu-India)

* Maraimalai Adikal Library--Chennai

* U.V Swaminatha Iyer Library--Chennai

* Roja Muthiah Library--Chennai

* Saraswath Mahal Library--Tanjore

* Owen Trust Library--Nagerkoil

* Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library--Calcutta

* Pennighton Public Library--Srivilliputthur

Users and Their Expectations

Private-public library users include students, teachers, scholars, businesspeople, housewives, professionals, retired persons, the newly literate, and so on. Their educational attainments, interests, and cultural backgrounds will vary a great deal. Mostly users use a private-public library for either general reading or for obtaining documents or information on a subject. Each user group has different needs and expectations. The private-public library's role is to provide accurate information quickly to any individual or group.

When determining the needs of users it is essential to know: Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What are their qualifications, knowledge of languages, areas of research and specialization? For what purpose do they seek information? How would they assess the quality of library service? Information service exists for the sake of users. Therefore, it is essential to know what they need.

User Expectations and Information Technology

By employing modern technology a private-public library should be able to supply information to the right users in the right form at the right time. Private-public libraries should be equipped with computers to automate all library activities. Information technology should also be used in every private-public library for effective management and administration. Computer networks can help end users share resources, ideas, and knowledge electronically and communicate with the users worldwide. Paper documents should gradually be replaced with electronic formats wherever possible. Every private-public library should acquire these technologies to meet the complex demands of the user and also to deal with space problems in the library.

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