Sunday, June 13, 2021

Are libraries only for licensing ebooks? : bursting myth


             In the digital age, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world badly. Libraries are working tirelessly to ensure their resources are available to those in need and looking for new ways of providing access to books, journals, and e-contents to their users. Libraries are more focusing on purchasing e-books as the situation demands. 

Now the question arises: “Is the role of libraries only limited to licensing books, and licensing is the only way of providing access to e-books?” 

Let's discuss this myth among the users of the library. 

As a librarian, in the present digital era, "all we do is provide access to e-books" is not true. Then the question is: “What do libraries do?”

Libraries build collections that are not only for today's users but for the users in the future also. Just like today's users the users in the future are also going to look for the historical background of the information and then build upon it their research. They look for the old research, findings, and methods used before going on with their further work. Libraries’ collections help them in literature surveys and finding old theories, based on which they make their own hypothesis to work upon.

Libraries do the preservation, which is neither done by publishers nor by individuals to keep the work safe for future generations. Digitizing books also enables libraries to fulfill their age-old role as guardians of cultural posterity. Libraries are the safeguards of our cultural heritage like museums, galleries, and archives. The role of GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) institutions in preserving the nation’s cultural heritage can not be denied.

Most of the time, many self-published books can not find their ways to get in the library collection as e-books because they don't have the name of big publishers with them. These cover the uncommon topics of some local interests and from the authors of marginalized groups. The libraries are also acquiring these books and fulfilling the Ranganathan’s law of “every book has its reader”. So, we can say that Libraries are providing and preserving content that is important, not just content that is profitable. 

I will also appreciate the valuable comments that add value to our libraries from library professionals regarding this. Bursting these myths and find new ways to bring out the more strengthened libraries is necessary to empower our libraries.

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