Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

About Ranganathan

Ranganathan & His 5 Laws

Ranganathan & His 5 Laws

It’s hard to believe that even some librarians (particularly the younger generation) have not heard of Ranganathan.  In my first semester in the MLS program at Texas Woman’s University – one of the required courses, Introduction to Professions, Dr. Westbrook exposed us lowly students to just a few of the foundational figures of our profession.  Antonio Panizzi, Melvil Dewey, Herbert Putnam, Jesse Shera, Joseph Cotton Dana, Lee Pierce Butler, and of course, Thomas Jefferson (admittedly heavy on the DWM).  But one person struck me more than the others – S.R. Ranganathan.  The name, of course, stands out, but his treatise on librarianship, The 5 Laws of Library Science, resonated with my sense of order and structure.  They formed the platform I needed to structure my education and my own philosophy of librarianship.

Thus, when I revived my career in 2012, I returned to the roots of the profession and read, for the first time cover-to-cover, this seminal work.  Taking notes, I wrote blog postings discussing not only the content of the chapters, but also how these laws could be applied in different areas of library practice.

As I’ve become more entrenched in this field, I’ve been returning more and more frequently to these laws and his other contributions to the field.  When I decided to change my blog, my platform, my soapbox, I needed a name that was reflective of my own philosophy of this profession.  While “Books are for Use” was my first choice, not only was it already picked by somebody else, but it was rather limited in scope.  Yes, like the idiom “man” used for all humans, “books” has been expanded to apply to any information resource…books, journals, articles, film, music, and more.  Given my growing interest in assessment and value, I expanded this one level further.

Owing this title to Ranganathan, I realized I needed a page to provide this background and list of quality resources about and by the Indian librarian.

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