Libraries: A gateway to knowledge | By Abid Hussain 

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Libraries: A gateway to knowledge


Libraries play a fundamental role in a society and are guaranteeing access to knowledge. Libraries are gateways to knowledge and culture, its function can never be confined to four walls. Resources and services in the libraries creates learning opportunities.

It supports the literacy of the masses and educates them in shaping the new ideas to nourish an innovative society.

Libraries are guaranteeing authentic records of knowledge created by past generations and preserve it for forthcoming generations.

It is said that a world without libraries can never advance research and human understanding. Libraries are excellent sources of transforming knowledge. Libraries maintain a balance between protecting the rights of authors and safeguarding the broader public interest.

In other words, libraries are synonymous with education and offer learning opportunities to help the masses in economic, social, and cultural development.

They uplift marginalized people and ensure that libraries continue to access knowledge, earnings and new ideas.

In the management of Collection Development, the role of libraries is mind-blowing. It helps the readers in collecting the right book for a particular community.

Libraries purchase books, record them and organize them for dissemination to the common public. It ensures the community the longevity of the volume for future use. In this age of the digital arena, libraries are not only secure ownership of digital content but also store it on a local server and make it accessible for a targeted community.

In both cases, traditionally and electronically, libraries’ vision is to offer the right book to the right reader at the right time policy.

The second example of library paradigms is the collection development and engagement in the publishing process.

Libraries of today’s world are places of content presentation, management and distribution and publish a handsome amount of content.

Beyond archiving, libraries are excellent sources of mediation, such as Stanford University’s High-wire press, Project-muse of Johns Hopkins University etc. These are excellent sources of robust distribution services.

Libraries are the trustee of cultural heritage and preservation. Libraries are a stimulus to share and reuse information, and knowledge comes in many guises to preserve our cultural heritage.

This heritage is kept for the forthcoming generations. It also demonstrates one of the essential functions of the library.

Many libraries are dealing with historical collections that are difficult to find somewhere else. If libraries can not preserve these historical documents, we cannot transform these documents for our forthcoming generations.

In information literacy services, the role of libraries is commendable. It helps people in using library resources effectively through direct structured education activities. Exploring library resources has become a daunting task for the students.

New methods for teaching and learning have emerged in the instructional needs of users as the learning environment has changed the taste of readers, since the advent of advanced technology.

Ultimately information literacy has become intertwined in reshaping the educational experience.

Another excellent example of libraries is the opportunities for mass digitization. The Internet has become a great source of accessing knowledge, and tremendous opportunities have been created in the library services.

People are converting the old traditional knowledge into digital applications on large scale. Learning has become a widespread and powerful tool in the age of Internet.

Libraries are driving access to knowledge in 21st Century. Now the question arises why the libraries in the 21st century are different from conventional setup. The answer is simple; it is an established fact that the 21st century is revolutionized by advances in computing and telecommunication technology.

The age of Internet has witnessed a tremendous increase in information management and transmission of knowledge.

To detect the improved version of knowledge delivery, libraries are accurate sources of transmitting knowledge.

Furthermore, information and data are synonymous terms which can be stored in databases and can be accessed via Internet.Library websites are now granting access to material housed in libraries.

Now conventional libraries have been converted into hybrid libraries that ensures people to find the subject material in printed and electronic formats. In short, libraries are wisdom houses for knowledge seekers.

—The writer is Library Officer at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

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