Libro Futuro

From Ranganathan to today. Being a librarian in India. Mario Coffa interviews Hariranjan Mishra

Intervista in italiano

Hariranjan Mishra is Professor of Library and Information Sciences at the Odisha Library Academy (OLA) and an active member of the Indian Library Association (ILA). He holds a Masters in Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) from IGNOU in 2001. Since 15 September 2005 he has been working as a librarian at the Global University of Bhubaneswar. He has written several publications such as the “Odisha Districts” edited by Chinmaya Prakashan, Cuttac.

To begin, could you briefly tell us what role the librarian profession plays in India? Is there a recognition of the profession? What does it take to become a librarian?

India’s higher education scenario transformed remarkbly over last two to three decades . At present there are more than 900 universities,41,000 colleges in India. Its higher education sector is one of the largest in the world only after U.S.A and China. The sea of knowledge is emerging from the scholarly out put over the years. Library professional are the mediators between knowledge and knowledge seekers,providing service to scholar community of the parent organization. All the educational programmes are succesfully implemented with help and coordination of Library. Apart from traditional source of knowledge i,e: books,journals,thesis,directories etc. And other E-content medium,there are Open Educational Resources(OER), Library Networks, Library Consortium,Digital collection development,online reference service, digital repositories, online catalogue,online information literacy programme, implementation of software, Library website and research help, Research assistance, display of latest collections are rendered by the library professionals which have immense impact on the learning  process of the readers.  Overall Librarian Profession Plays a important role as information intermediator in education, culture and research and development sector of the country. Yes there is recognition of the profession. There are departments, Professors and other senior professionals/personnel/associations of Library Sciences in Universities, colleges,public ,research libraries and other important offices of government. Being a librarian is responsible and plays important role in the educational system and culture. He is the key player in the teaching,learning and research endeovers of the institutions. They are knowledge manager, educator. Search engine Google may find thousands informations for a search but a librarian can check and finds the accurate and pertinent one.

It has been a very difficult year for all countries in the world due to the Covid 19 pandemic and especially for India; but among the many negative aspects that of the “rediscovery” of digital technology has sometimes been a decisive tool for reaching communities while libraries were closed. What can you tell us about it? 

Yes, indeed. Covid situation brought a never before situation in the world. In a social distancing scenario while Educational instituitions, Libraries are minimizing or closed off line transctions ,Information Communication and Technology(ICT) given  us the opportunities to embrace the digital mode of education involving both teaching and learning. As technology taking a leap ahead with smart phones, tablets and internet influencing the younger generation, education has started redefining itself. The interactive features and non linear system of content are very interesting to the students than the conventional class rooms. Thus, professional and online education is on the rise and the digital spaces have opened the entire new scope for education system. Digital,Virtual  Libraries offers its reader new way to search,select and analyze the texts which is transforming the system of education to a great. Interactive Library also the latest trend uses the digital technologies.

You are fortunate and honored to live and work in the country of the father of the Indian and modern library: Ranganathan. India celebrates on August 12 every year National Library Day. Librarian’s party is very rare in other countries but in my opinion, fantastic. Can you tell us briefly? 

Yes I am fortunate that I live and work in India. Dr S. R Ranganathan(09/08/1892 to 27/09/1972) was a genius who was first a Faculty in Mathematics later entrusted with charge of Madras University Library. Then he had gone to U.K for training in  Librarianship. He then framed “five laws of library science” regarding best utilization of libraries may be differently used in present scenario as:

  1. Information is for use
  2. Every bit of Information has its consumer
  3. Every consumer has its information.
  4. Save the time of user.
  5. Information is increasing vastly.

These laws framed in 1924 have still its relevance.

Then he developed first major faceted classification system the colon classification.

He was president of the Indian Library Association from 1944 to 1953. In 1957 he was elected an honorary member of the International Federation for Information and Documentation(FID) and was made a Vice President for life of the Library Association of Great Britain.

In 1957 when SR Ranganathan participated in University Commisions agenda regarding ‘Role of library in academic development’ following observations were made:

  • The library is the heart of education;
  • Methods & fashion in education change from generation to generation, but each generation uses the library as a means of realizing its items; hence the library remains the great conservator of learning;
  • A quality education is impossible without a quality library;
  • A library is vital organ for proper exploitation of our intellectual resources;
  • A library is essential for maintenance of free access to ideas, and to the functioning of the untrammeled mind.”

Beacause of him Library Science is a subject. Dr. S.R.Ranganathan written 60 books and contributed more than 2000 articles to this stream. He is the fourth professor of India.

Indian and various state governments passed Library Ligislation bill and enacted library laws. Indian Librarian Fraternity are indebted Dr. Ranganathan for his contributions to this Profession.

Compared to the original principles of traditional librarianship, how are libraries evolving in India? 

Libraries are evolving to add new dimensions that enhance the academic communities in which they exist by faciliating the process of  learning in variety of ways. As society changes and old ways no longer work, new ways wiil be found and libraries will continue to evolve. Public libraries and Academic libraries grown with development of education world wide. So India is no exception. Free economy, open source software and with open educational resources knowledge centers are bound to evolve in the  internet pulled society. Moreover Publishers around the globe with subscription packages of E-contents knocking at the doorstep of knowledge centers.

Social media and digital libraries: in your opinion, what will change in the near future in this regard?

Interactive Library with Big data, Internet of Thinks(IOT) and Artificial Intelligence are some of the emerging technologies that will have the potentialities to change library experience in the near future. Library users are generating more data than ever. So with big data technologies librarians can able to save all the big datasheet and retrieve the data at right time. Similarly IOT refers to the Possibility of connecting everyday devices and transfering data between them. The data is transferred over the internet. Library can track and monitor many things using IOT. Artificial Intelligence focused on delivering information to the user.


Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa archivista e bibliotecario, laureato in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali presso l’Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005) e diplomato in Archivistica e Paleografia presso la Scuola di Archivistica dell’Archivio Segreto Vaticano (2010). Dal 2010 Lavora per CAeB (Cooperativa Archivistica e Bibliotecaria) presso le biblioteche dell’Università di Perugia come bibliotecario e come archivista presso l'Archivio Storico del Comune di Gubbio. Si occupa di Biblioteche Digitali e formazione in ambito di biblioteconomia digitale. Nel 2014 membro del Comitato Esecutivo Regionale dell’Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB) sezione Umbria, membro del gruppo AIB sul portfolio professionale e nel triennio 2017-2020 Presidente eletto di AIB Umbria. Dal 2020 membro dell'Osservatorio Formazione dell'Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. Autore di diversi articoli e interviste per Insula Europea sul tema degli archivi, delle biblioteche e del digital lending.


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