8 Functions of Public Libraries


8 Functions of Public Libraries

A public library is a library created to provide free and unrestricted access to information resources to all residents of a particular community. Citing Emenalor, Akanwa (2013) defines public libraries as libraries that provide information resources, services and recreational opportunities to the general population, especially the youth, the elderly and the illiterate and illiterate. 

Unlike other types of libraries, public libraries are not limited to specific user groups, and their collections are developed to reflect the diversity of their patrons.

Services, resources and tools must respond to the local needs of the community and users. Public libraries are established by state governments and supported by taxpayers' money. 

Provide access to education, information, and engaging activities through a variety of resources and services that are equally available to all members of society, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, religion, language, disability, economic status, or professional status.

Public libraries receive support and funding from their communities through local, provincial and national governments and other community organizations.

Public libraries can be called "schools for the common people", "people's universities" and "libraries for everyone". Aiyebelehin, Onyam and Akpom (2018) in their contribution consider that public libraries are institutions that promote education by providing educational, social and political information to the people of a particular community and eradicating illiteracy.

Therefore, this is a regional information center. It provides users with all types of knowledge and information instantly. 

According to Nwofor & Ilorah (2015), the development of public libraries in Nigeria dates back to the humble beginnings of the Tom Jones Library in Lagos in 1910. However, an important turning point in the history of public libraries in Nigeria came from a UNESCO workshop. 

Public library Development in Africa was held at the University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan) between July 27 and August 21, 1953 (Abubakar, 2017). The workshop recommended, among other things, the need to establish public libraries in Africa (Opara, 2008).

Nwegbu, Echezona & Okafor, Nwofor et al (2015) reported that since the 1940s, rural library services in public libraries included mobile library services, bookshelf services and rural extension services through boat libraries. 

In Nigeria, public libraries are known as public libraries and branches are known as branch libraries. Public libraries are governed by the State Library Board and are managed on a day-to-day basis by the Director of Library Services.  The oversight ministry is the Ministry of Information (Onwuka, 2016). 

The primary purpose of public libraries in Nigeria is to provide tools, resources and services in a variety of mediums to meet the information and development needs of individuals and groups.


Here are 8 Functions of Public Libraries

8 Functions of Public Libraries

The UNESCO Declaration on Public Libraries (1995) states that "Public libraries are essentially free and their services are provided on the basis of equal access to all, regardless of age, race, sex, nationality, language or social status.

To ensure equal access for users, special services and materials must be provided to users who cannot use regular services and materials for any reason. Linguistic minorities and people with disabilities in hospitals and prisons.

The primary purpose of public libraries is to provide tools, resources, and services in a variety of environments to meet the information and development needs of individuals and groups.

Public libraries have a responsibility to provide their users with timely, accurate, relevant and reliable information on all subjects, making it easily and freely accessible to all, through materials that convey one person's experiences and ideas to others.

In general, researchers have highlighted the following as functions of public libraries:

1. Providing a comfortable space – physical and virtual space.

2. Provide access to all types of information to ensure intellectual freedom. Culture and personal development.

3. Preservation and development of the cultural and ancient heritage of the community, contributing to socio-economic development and improving the general quality of people's lives.

4. Non-discriminatory in the provision of services, resources and facilities that are free or nominal and reflect the rapidly growing changes in the intellectual outlook and personality of the end user.

5. A special responsibility to encourage and strengthen the development of reading skills in children and young people by providing quality fiction and general interest material.

6. To fundamentally contribute to the daily life and social development of people in rural areas by providing information such as basic life skills, basic adult education and awareness programs.

7. Providing recreational facilities that contribute to public life

8. Ensure free access to a wide range of information sources that foster the liberal and informed minds necessary for democracy.

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