Emerging Role of Librarians

Dr.Meghna Dhar
“Advancement is something that the human society can neither unwish nor wish against”.
The recent developments in science and technology have led to a new alarming situation regarding information created in the world. Today, we are living at the midst of an era of change. The introduction of new technologies in the libraries has brought about sea-change in various services provided by modern libraries. IT is a single innovation that has impacted the library services to a great extent .Over recent years each new technological development that takes place impacts on Library and Information Centers. Information Technology has revolutionized most of the routine operations and services of Library and Information Centers by opening up new possibilities in collecting, organizing, disseminating and providing access the vast volumes of information in accordance with the specific needs of groups of people or an individual.
From the days of papyrus to the present, libraries had undergone a tremendous change. In ancient times as human civilization started progressing, stone, metal plates, papyrus rolls were the main source of writing material, sometime later evolved were clay-tablets, parchment, birch-barks and palm leaves followed by paper. The paper finally became essentially the writing material of the present civilization and has played a major role in the collection development in libraries. Earlier the librarian was merely considered as a custodian of stored books, but now the entire situation has totally changed due to various developments in information technologies and their applications in libraries.The nomenclature of librarians has changed to “Documentation Officer”, “Knowledge Managers”, “Information Managers”, “Information Scientists”, “Information Specialists”, “Information Officers”, etc. The libraries are similarly being named as ‘Resource Centres’, ‘Information Centres’, ‘Knowledge Resource Centres’ etc. Today, the emphasis is on providing reference service, current awareness service, selective dissemination of information service, reprographic and translation service and now web-based services.
Impact of IT on the Job & Work Performance of Library Professionals:
Information is a dynamic and unending resource that effects all disciplines and all walks of life. The single force that has brought revolutionary changes in the functioning of libraries is IT. The introduction and application of these modern means have elevated modern day libraries to a very high pedestal, thereby improving and altering its image, functions and service to revolutionary extent and rendering of services with great efficiency and effectiveness. Automation gives ability to cope up with an increased workload. With the help of information technologies, library personnel can do the routine jobs like acquisition, cataloguing, stock verification, circulation, periodical subscription, reference service, serial control, documentation and information retrieval etc. more quickly and accurately.
The computerized acquisition system has eased the burden for record checking of duplicate purchase orders and follow-up action can also be taken automatically. IT has speeded up the accessioning and other processing work of the acquisition section by eliminating a large amount of repetitive and time consuming operations. The use of technological devices such as computers, barcode scanners, RFID technology etc. helps in the performance of the routine circulation operations easily and quickly. It saves lot of time of the staff as well as of users. Computers help in periodical subscription and subsequent monitoring of the receipts of individual issues. It helps the staff in maintaining records of sanctioned funds and amount expended for different categories of serials. The reminders can be easily issued and overall management of periodical section is improved. Reference service is much more influenced by the development in IT than any other services of library and information centres. Reference librarians, now require working with computerized catalogues, online bibliographic databases and searching the networked information resources.
Benefits of the Internet for Library Professionals
*The Internet helps in acquiring the right electronic information resources available at various websites.
*The Internet has greatly enhanced both the circulation and inter-library loan services through increased access to online catalogues which allow a user greater convenience in undertaking online searches.
*The reference librarian can provide reference service through the use of the Internet offering greater conveyance to users. The answers to reference queries which use to take too much time earlier, can now be provided within few seconds.
*Orders of books, journals and other reading materials can be sent through e-mail.
*Day to day correspondence could be sent through E-mail, thereby providing effective and fast services to its readers.
Conclusion & Suggestions
No single technology has affected the lives of people so much as the Information Technology since the invention of wheel. It has revolutionized the way we think, we work and we live. Libraries have also undergone a number of changes in their course of development.
The advancement in science and technology has reduced manual efforts enormously, library and information professionals should respond to the opportunities and challenges of the developments in Information Technology with high degree of enthusiasm and professionalism. In order to change the face of librarianship and modernize the library and information services, the library professionals of today should be ready to adapt to the opportunities, changes and challenges presented by the new information society. The information professionals must change and adapt to new electronic information environment and continuously work for providing better and more convenient library and information services to user community.
(The author is Assistant Professor in University of Jammu, Jammu)