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Published by Kabir Sahani

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Published by: Kabir Sahani on Sep 08, 2010
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Due to information explosion and accelerating prices of information services

and products, present day libraries are unable to meet the information needs of

the users. Earlier, resource sharing methods like Inter-Library Loan (ILL) were

used to meet the demands of users. With the advent of information technology,

libraries work in a networked environment where data and information

resources are accessible in electronic format and are shared electronically.

The main advantage of the library network is that data and other information

resources can be shared between a number of users. Library network ensures

that data and other resources can be shared quickly, reliably and accurately.

Before we talk about various national and international library networks, let

us first understand the meaning of library networks with the help of some


As Franklin David Jebaraj and Fredrick Robin Devadoss define,“ A library

network is broadly described as a group of libraries coming together with some

agreement of understanding to help each other with a view to satisfying the

information needs of their clientele”.

The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) gave

definition of a library network in National Programme Document in the year

1975 as:

“Two or more libraries and/or other organisations engaged in a common pattern

of information exchange, through communications, for some functional

purpose. A network usually consists of a formal arrangement whereby materials,

information, and services provided by a variety of libraries and other

organisations are available to all potential users. Libraries may be in different

jurisdictions but agree to serve one another on the same basis as each serves its

own constituents. Computers and telecommunications may be among the tools

used for facilitating communication among them”.

In simple words, library network means a group of libraries situated at different

locations are connected to each other using computers and communication

networks. The basic purpose of library networking is sharing of information,

data and resources in order to provide better services to its clientele. As we all

know, factors like inadequate library budget, accelerating prices of documents

and availability of huge amount of information resources, make it difficult for

any library to acquire sufficient number of documents to fulfill the needs of its

readers. The term “library network” is being used increasingly for library

cooperation and resource sharing.

Library Networks


2.2.1Objectives of Library Networks

From the above definitions it is apparent that the library networks have been

conceived as mechanism for optimum utilisation of resources which is

necessitated by the shrinking of library budget, increased cost of materials and

varieties of demands of the users. The general objectives of such networks can

be spelt out as follows, though individual networks may have one or more

specific objectives depending upon their requirements. For example, networks

of metropolitan area thrive to support the information resources of the users of

the community based on the resources available within the area. However,

such specificity is slowly blurred due to the development of ICT. The primary

objectives are:

a)promoting sharing of resources amongst the libraries;

b)improving information handling capabilities through networking of

libraries and information centres;

c)accessing document collection of member libraries through online union


d)providing bibliographic information services from indigenously created


e)establishing mechanism for access to international databases;

f)organising document delivery service;

g)optimising utilisation of resources through shared cataloguing, cooperative

acquisition, sharing expertise, sharing equipments etc.;

h)promoting computerisation of libraries and information centres through

international standards which will facilitate exchange of information;

i)augmenting weaker resources in the network by increasing cooperation

among the member libraries;

j)avoiding unnecessary duplication of materials through development of

adequate collection development policy for member libraries;

k)coordination with other networks – regional, national and international;

l)developing databases of projects, specialists and institutions.



In this section you will be studying some of the functional national library


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