Remembering the father of library sciences in India

S.R. Ranganathan.Painting by A. Ramakrishna, Art teacher, K.V. No. 2, Vijayawada

S.R. Ranganathan.Painting by A. Ramakrishna, Art teacher, K.V. No. 2, Vijayawada  

Libraries plays a vital role in the development of our country. S. R. Ranganathan, who is known as “Father of Library Science in India”, was the first person one who identified the real need of libraries and library science education in our country.

India celebrates August 12 as Librarians Day in his honour.

Dr S.R.R. was born on August 9, 1892, to Ramamirtam Iyer and Sita Lakshmi Ammal at Shiyali (present Sirkazhi). His primary education started at Sabhanayaka Mudaliar’s Hindu High School in Shiyali. He took up his B.A. in 1913 at Madras Christian College and later M.A. (Mathematics) at Presidency College, Madras in 1916. His teaching career started with the Government Arts College, Mangalore in 1917 and then he joined Presidency College in 1921. He taught Mathematics and Physics.

In January 1924, Dr S.R.R. left Presidency College and took charge of the Madras University Library as University Librarian. He left for England in September 1925, to get trained in librarianship and completed a six month certificate course in library science. During this time, he visited many libraries and he found that the system of classification, cataloguing etc., was not scientific and there was a tremendous scope for the improvement in Library Science.

On his return from London in 1925, he took immediate steps to reorganize the University Library to attract more readers and classified its contents on scientific basis. Dr S.R.R. has written on almost all aspects of Library Science, such as Library Administration, Classification, Cataloguing etc., He published Colon Classification in the year 1933, which is based on Hindu Philosophy. He developed the concept of Librametry that is application of statistics to Library Science.

He started the Library Science Department in the year 1931 at Madras University. Because of Dr S.R.R’s interest, Madras became the first state in our country to enact the Madras Public Library Act (1957) and he persuaded the UNESCO to establish the Documentation Centre in New Delhi.

Dr S.R.R. was later invited to Banaras University and Delhi University. He was a Professor of Library Science in Delhi University from 1947 to 1955. He was Chairman of the UGC Library Commission and started DRTC (Documentation Research and Training Centre) at Bangalore to promote the research activities in the field of Library and Information Science. He died on Sept. 28, 1972. The best way to remember Dr S.R. Ranganathan is to publish good books, start well-equipped libraries in schools and also popularise the library movement in rural areas.

G. Devanathan, Head Librarian

Senthil Public School, Salem, Tamil Nadu

Dr S.R. Ranganathan formulated “Five Laws of Library Science”. They are:

1. Books are for use

2. Every reader has his/her book

3. Every book has its reader

4. Save the readers’ time

5. Libraries are growing organizations.

Dr. Ranganathan received D. Litt Degree from the Delhi and Pisttsburg Universities, in recognition of unique service to Library Science and was also the recipient of Rao Sahib and Padmashri awards from the Government of India. He founded the Sarada Ranganathan Endownment for Library Science in 1963. He was also nominated as National Research Professor of Library Science in 1965.

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