Libraries are for Use: IFLA Library Map of the World

IFLA Library Map of the World
IFLA Library Map of the World screenshot

Ranganathan’s first law of library science is that “books are for use.” SRR explains that once librarians realize that the existence of libraries is justified only by the extent to which their books are used by readers, administrative details (location, hours, services, programming, etc.) fall into place. The IFLA Library Map of the World pays homage to this law. The map’s initial basic library statistics for countries provide the number of libraries, types, number with internet access, and worldwide comparisons of libraries and their performance metrics. Recently, information about the library laws, especially copyright – the right rights for libraries, and policies have also been added to the map.

Below is the data for libraries in two countries from the map. Size of the library collections is not one of the data. It is library use through physical visits, electronic and print book/physical item loans, and internet access, staff/volunteers, that is highlighted.

Total Libraries: China = 5,909 | India = 1.5 Million
Total Libraries with Internet Access: China = 5,682  | India = 42,558
Full-time Staff: China = 162,510 | India = 324,366
Volunteers: China = 80,426 | India = 7,500
Registered Users: China = 155.1 million| India = 217.1 million
Total Physical Visits: China = 726.5 million | India = 1,500 
Total Physical Loans: China = 984.4 million | India = No data available
Total Electronic Loans: China = 10,318.0 million | India = No data available

Libraries are leading promoters and providers of free access to all types of information to all citizens. To show the potential of the global library field, the Library Map of the World features all types of libraries, including national, academic, public, community, school, and special libraries. The initial set of performance metrics include number of libraries, number of libraries providing internet access, number of staff and volunteers, number of registered users and visitors, and number of loans.

Books, information, and libraries are for use and the IFLA Library Map of the World’s initial set of data and performance metrics gets it right! Well done, IFLA!

#LibraryThoughts #LawsofLibraryScience #SRR #BooksareforUse

Published by Dr. Anita Coleman

The one and only Biblio Prof :)

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