Welcome to Library Science. The first rule of Library Science is: you do not talk about Library Science…
This post will seek to answer the most common question put to me since the launch of SSCM: What does it mean for the Grogan Library?
Before answering, it may be useful to provide some insight into the decision making process that a Librarian goes through and this involves doing the equivalent of exposing how to pull of the prestige in a magic trick. Hopefully without destroying any of the mythical aspects surrounding Librarianship, I can disclose that there are ‘Five Laws of Library Science’. Proposed by Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan in 1931, Librarians generally accept these ‘laws’ as the foundations of their philosophy.
These laws are:
- Books are for use.
Without the use of materials, there is little value in the items; books in libraries are not meant to be shut away from its users.
- Every reader his/her book.
All individuals from all social environments are entitled to library service; the basis of library use is education, to which all are entitled.
- Every book its reader.
Each item in a library has an individual or individuals who would find that item useful; books have a place in the library even if a smaller demographic might choose to read it.
- Save the time of the reader.
All library users should be able to easily locate the material they desire quickly and efficiently.
- The library is a growing organism.
A library should be a continually changing institution, never static in its outlook; books, methods, and the physical library should be updated over time.
In my first blog post, I wrote about the need for libraries to modernise. Here, I have outlined the philosophy that is used when making decisions in libraries. And now to the question of ‘What does it mean for the Grogan Library?’
The coming year will see changes. No decision has been made in terms of what the collection will look like in x years but there are obviously restrictions that will inform the review that will take place over the coming year. As a Librarian it is a challenge attempting to balance a belief in the Five Laws and radical modernisation with spatial restrictions and a changing focus of the institution the collection primarily serves. Throughout the upcoming collection review I will be referring to a modern interpretation of Law 1: ‘I will build collections not for vanity but for use’.
As always, any suggestions, opinions or support/criticism can be emailed to the College Librarian.
Scottish School of Christian Mission