Preserving the books, providing information and space for reading has been the very purpose of libraries for ages. But today, at a time when information is at the disposal of the users around the clock through digital modes – are libraries still relevant and should resource be spent on libraries. One cannot debate the fact that a visit to the library is on a decline.
Libraries are undergoing transformation and are now a hybrid of traditional print library resources and the growing number of electronic resources, says Elavazhagan K, librarian and chief knowledge officer, IIM-Trichy, who stresses at the need for the libraries to evolve further to keep pace with times and save themselves from getting obsolete.
“Even though information dissemination is not restricted due to the internet, the challenge is that there is an overload of information and its authenticity cannot be guaranteed. So, libraries will be needed by students, academicians and researchers alike to receive quality information,” he says.
While talking about library spaces for the community, Elavazhagan says that these spaces need to be interactive and modern to receive the footfall.
“It is irrelevant if libraries are only providing space for reading /learning or accessing the books. You need to provide a space that people want to come to, hold discussions on books and writers. We need provisions such as therapy for elders and meditation for all. There should be space that caters to the need of the children, budding readers and grown-ups alike- all this will ensure that libraries never get obsolete,” he says.
Libraries are the need of the hour to inculcate reading habits in children. Today, our society is drifting away from reading to simply viewing a screen, due to which students are losing creative and analytical abilities.
Library Science professionals need to upgrade themselves and be equipped to embrace the technological disruptions, saysElavazhagan. For this, the present curriculum of library sciences also needs to upgrade with the inclusion of modern subject matters such as business and data analytics, psychology and entrepreneurship apart from domain knowledge and soft skills. Also, there is a need for an industry-academia tie-up for hands-on learning.
To pursue a Bachelor in Library and information science (BLISC or BLIB) the eligibility is graduate in any discipline from recognized university. For certificate and diploma courses the eligibility is 10 + 2.
Elavazhagan says that for graduates of BLISC or B.LIB, being a librarian is not the only option. The graduates are need in documentation department of all sectors be it medicine, engineering, banking, etc. Also, they can pursue a career in archives