Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

An Assessment of User Information Needs in the District Central Libraries at Tamil Nadu, India

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

An Assessment of User Information Needs in the District Central Libraries at Tamil Nadu, India

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Library is a social institution. Libraries form a vital part of the world social and educational system. They are entrusted with the responsibility of carrying knowledge to the doors of those who required it, so that it can be fruitfully utilized both by the educated and the uneducated. Knowledge is available through books, films, recordings and other media. People in all walks of life use library resources for their day-to- day life. Large number of people turns to libraries to satisfy a desire for knowledge or to obtain material for some kind of leisure time activity. In addition, many people enjoy reading books, news of the world, of the nation, of the region, and of the locality that are provided by their local library.

The objectives of the public libraries have been explained in the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Public Library Manifesto 1994 which states, the Public library is a living force for education, culture and information, and an essential agent for the fostering of peace and spiritual welfare in the minds of men and women. The Public library, a local gateway to knowledge, provides a basic condition for life long learning, independent decision making and cultural development of the individual and social groups. The UNESCO Manifesto for Public Libraries, in the third revised version in 1997, attempts at capturing the current global aspiration of all the nations in freedom, prosperity and development through public libraries. The manifesto mentions public libraries as a centre of information making all kinds of knowledge and information readily available to its users. The manifesto also emphasized that in each country in South Asia, there is a need to establish a public library network, which is in conformity with the other networks in the countries.

In the words of Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, Public libraries are to produce material happiness, mental joy and spiritual delight. They are social institutions charged with the duty of providing the means for the perpetual self-education of one and all, and contribute to the circulation of ideas, the harnessing of leisure, the demands of democracy, the spread of literacy, and the success of commercial and industrial organizations. Dr.S.R. Ranganathan also suggested that, a library is regarded as a public institution, which is also expected to convert the potential users into actual users. The library Act of 1998, Finland quoted that the objective of the public libraries is to promote equal opportunities among citizens for personal cultivation for literacy and cultural pursuits for continuous development of knowledge, personal skills and civic skills for internationalization and for lifelong learning

Review of Literature

According to Flaherty (2016) the public library staff members throughout the United States is providing assistance on a variety of health topics. The researcher gave the example of query to the public library staff members, they referred to the libraries' print collections, and 69% of the time when print was provided it did not answer the question or it addressed the question with information contradictory to prevailing medical evidence. When staff referred to or used electronic resources, authoritative medical information on the topic was supplied 79% of the time. It appears that there was no standardization on handling health queries in most libraries that were visited. The study explore the public libraries are trusted institutions providing community access to health information, it is imperative that staff are using appropriate health information tools which are readily and freely available.

Cushing (2016) state that the types of personal technology assistance requests the staff received and how they responded to such requests in US state. In total, 130 of the 234 libraries (55.5%) in the state responded to the survey and representatives from 10 of those libraries participated in follow-up phone interviews. …

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