Focus on books
Libraries and public relations
Pustakala Saha Mahajana Sambandata
By Vijaya Premadarshana
210 pages, Price Rs. 250
Planning to build a good library is one of the most notable factors
in the building up of the literacy rates in a particular culture and it
is said that good libraries make resourceful informed readers helpful to
the society at large.
The fact that the books and other reading material are read is a good
indicator of the use of a library from various points of view but
unfortunately we note that most libraries lack not only good books but
All the effort is made to teach library sciences especially by the
national library services board and the documentation of our country and
the library sciences and information departments of the universities and
various plans and projects have been designed and introduced to make the
good use of a library.
In this direction a good librarian with a sense of good public
relations will help to build a better climate of opinion. The modern day
library is not just a rack of books stacked for readers to come and
It is something elevated from that mundane level and some thing more
than that, for some of the finest libraries have been designed to help
build literacy rates and pave the way for book launches, book
exhibitions, and literary discussions and other allied subject areas
inclusive of self help guidance and creative motivation programmes.
Then we observe that there are other similar factors taken seriously
depending how the public relations work within the premises. All these
go to the inculcating factors pertaining to library matters especially
the development of reading habits at all levels.
Then there are mobile libraries which come to your door step and help
you to borrow books and build the habit of going to major libraries and
use them at your beck and call.
We also come across some libraries which allow children to enter the
premises with their parents who are being in turn helped by the
librarians to enter into new programmes like self help at all levels of
human development in this manner a library can do wonders unimaginable.
These are mostly covered in Pustaka Saha Mahajana Sambandata (Libraries
and public relations).
The book is written in simple language, using glossarial terms
wherever the necessity arises and in many ways a manual cum
communication handbook with facts relating to the helpers who meet their
clients in the library usage.
In the first instance the writer cum researcher Premadarshanana
attempts to give a working definition to the concept called public
relations and how it could be utilised and applied in the use of a
library and from that point he goes to the evaluation of the personality
of a good librarian.
According to Premadarshana even the good smile on the face of a
librarian too matters. I think the smile matters in many places and the
winning sign is one such glance with a smile. The opening chapter is
packed with some of the most useful material that goes to teach the
applied areas of public relations as taught in communication studies.
As such the facts embedded are not only references to the subject of
library sciences in discussion but also to many more subject areas as
taught in the higher education system.
In order to clarify what he is trying to state, he presents
illustrations of communication models signifying the library as a
nucleus of knowledge and information and shows how it is spread on to
other branches of knowledge seeking.
The importance of the librarian as a teacher to those who are willing
to obtain knowledge is stressed. This is also a manual written at times
in the point form meant to teach and elucidate matters relating to the
types of libraries in the country and the use of the public relations as
a measure of the proper use of a childrenâ€™s library as well.
Strengthening facts relating to the use of the childrenâ€™s libraries
he warns or cautions the librarians as to how the reading material
should be selected in order to help the child. For example he states
that pornographic type of lowered and denatured material should not go
on to the hands of little readers who are aiming to grow up to become
decent citizens of the world.
Taking a synoptic view of the situation he lays down the ethics that
go in to the building up of a good library.
According to the author Premadarshana it is important to signify the
duties of library workers and they should at all moments of the
performance of their duties should know some applied aspects of public
relations They should by all standards try to prove their acquired
skills to help the use of libraries to the best use.
The stark reality according to the writer is that most librarians do
the duties from a narrower point of view without transcending from the
stagnant standpoint of a mere library official.
Chapter five outlines the need to understand the value of counseling
and motivation not only for the library services staff but also for the
user of a library as regards the world of information and knowledge in a
broader sense. He supplements this area with sufficient examples.
The sixth chapter is titled as reader education, reader
responsibility, and public relations. This chapter, I felt, is the most
significant area in the whole book This chapter outlines the library as
an information centre and how this came to be down the centuries. The
author does not attempt to trace the historical perspectives but
charters the significant landmarks of the same.
This he visualises as the main hallmark in the public education. I
would prefer to have seen him trace the oriental concepts of the use of
libraries as utilised in the past outlining the significance of the
potgul / pustakala concept. But perhaps due to the lack of space I
presume that this is dropped.
He also traces the various types of reader surveys and reader
research conducted over the years with reference to the reader outlook
and the use of the library widely uncovering helpful facts. Then he
outlines the types of user education programmes, user education media,
the factors relating to group readers and individual readers and the
significance of the researcher oriented library services.
Having traced some of these areas, the writer embarks on the modern
day library systems which include the use of the audio visual technology
and its new developments such as the websites, web pages, computer and
He refers to the use of the index system and the changing aspects of
the same over the years, the lecture significance as an awareness means
and the use of the conferences and scholarly discussions as a bridge
that gaps the building up of a library as a public service.
Then he comes to the use of various types of dictionaries,
encyclopedic material and also the importance of obtaining the feedback
from readers and the rest of the users of the library facilities.
In this direction the author researcher has pioneered in the
compilation of a new type of book useful not only to the library science
scholars but also to the general reader as well.