S.R. Ranganathan

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S.R. Ranganathan

Dr. Meghna Dhar , Tributes to S R Ranganathan "Daily Excelsior" 12/8/2016

Today is the 125th Birth Anniversary of renowned scholar Padamashri Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan Ayyar, commonly named as Dr. S. R. Ranganathan,a true disciple of Library Science ,a proud philosopher and guide to thousands of library professionals in India .Dr.S. R. Ranganathan, The Father of Library Science and Father of Library Movement in India, an Author, Academician, Mathematician, Librarian and a Classifications regarded as a key figure in the 20th century librarianship, was born on Aug.9, 1892 at Shiyali (Madras State), Tanjavoor District of Tamil Nadu, India. His birth anniversary is officially celebrated on 12th August as Librarian’s Day throughout India.

Education: He was educated at the Hindu High School in Shiyali and passed Matriculation examination in 1909.He joined the junior intermediate class at Madras Christian College in March 1909.Even those days there were paucity of college seats.Ranganathan was picked up for his excellent marks in all the subjects and the Principal Prof.Skinner spotted him in a crowd of students and admitted him into the course. Ranganathan passed B.A.with a first class in March/April in 1913. In June, same year, he joined the M.A. class in Mathematics with Professor Edward B.Ross as his teacher. Ranganathan passed B.A. with first class in March /April in 1913 and M.A. degree in Mathematics in 1916 from Teachers College, Saidapet, and Madras. He also took a course in teaching technique and gained L.T. Degree from a teacher’s college.

As a Librarian: In 1924 he was appointed First University Librarian of the University of Madras, and in order to fit himself for the post he left for England in September 1924 and returned in July 1925,after 9 months of study -cum-observation tour . In England, Ranganathan came in close contact with W.C. Berwick Sayers, Chief Librarian of Croydon Public Library and a Lecturer in the University School of Librarianship, London where he received Hons. Certificate. Under the guidance of W.C.B. Sayers, Ranganathan visited over one hundred libraries in the U.K. There he witnessed how the libraries had become community reading centres. He also found how the libraries rendered service to various strata of the society -to children, to the working class and to women, besides other groups. This made a lasting impression on his mind and it considerably changed his outlook and he discovered a social mission in his mind; thus he discovered a social mission for the library profession and for himself. After his return in 1925 he served as Librarian in Madras University and did work for advancement in the working of the library until 1944. From 1945 to 1947 he remained as University Librarian and Professor of Library Science at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, and from 1947 to 1954 he remained as Professor at University of Delhi. During 1954-57 he was engaged in research and writing in Zurich. He returned to India in the latter year and served as Visiting Professor at Vikram University, Ujjain, until 1959. In 1962 he founded DRTC and became Honorary Professor and Head of the Documentation Research and Training Centre in Bangalore, with which he remained, associated for the rest of his life. He founded Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science in 1963.It was in1965 he was honoured by the Indian Government with the title of National Research Professor in Library Science.

Major Contributions and Achievements :-Dr.S.R.Ranganathan was a pioneer who brought Library Science Education in India and prepared curriculum for Library Science education .Some of his major contributions are as follows:-

  • On 3rd January 1928, he founded Madras Library Association and in 1929 he started the School of Librarianship of the Madras Library Association.
  • In 1930 he drafted Model Library Act and in 1931 drafted first Library Bill for Bengal.
  • The Summer School in Library Science at the University of Madras with a Certificate course in Library Science was started in 1931,which latter on became the Department of Library Science of the University where he started Diploma Course in 1937 to 1960 and Degree course in1961.
  • In 1933 he framed the constitution of the Indian Library Association and enrolled himself as the first Life Member of the Association.
  • In 1936 he drafted the First Library Bill for Madras.
  • Drafted second Model Library Bill for the Indian Library Association and Development Plan and Library Bill for University of Delhi in 1942.
  • From 1944 to 1953 he remained President of Indian Library Association
  • In 1950 he formed Library Research Circle at New Delhi.
  • Drafted Library Development Plan and library bill in 1946 for Allahabad University ,Nagpur University ,Central Province and Berar, in 1947 for Cochin,Travancore,Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, UP, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and in 1948 for University of Bombay.
  • From 1953 to 1956 he remained Vice-President of FID; in 1953 Vice-President of Indian Adult Education Association and in 1958 founded MP Library Association.
  • From 1958 to 1959, he remained Chairman of Library Committee, University Grants Commission, New Delhi and in 1960 Chairman, Review Committee on Library Science, University Grants Commission. It is due to his efforts that the Grades and designations of Librarian, Deputy Librarian and Assistant Librarian are at par with Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor respectively.

Notable Works: – Ranganathan’s most notable contributions to the field were his Five Laws of Library Science and the development of the only Indian Scheme of Library Classification-Colon Classification. While in England, Dr. SR Ranganathan saw that the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) was the most popular system in use. His analytical mind quickly discovered its fundamental deficiency and its inability to express all the aspects of a specific subject of a document. He also thought that a classification system should allow for future subjects to be combined in unexpected or unplanned ways. In his mind DDC was neither prepared nor adequate to provide for the future situations. Shortly, afterward he began to work on his classification scheme which he called the Colon Classification (CC).Ranaganathan started a Library Science School in Madras in 1929 where he taught both DDC and CC. Over his lifetime, he wrote over 2000 research papers, 60 books and founded and edited five periodical publications. Ranganathan’s chief technical contributions to library science were Classification and indexing theory. His “Colon Classification”(1933),the Library Classification introduced a system that is widely used in research libraries around the world. Later he devised the technique of Chain Procedure for deriving Subject-Index Entries. His “Five Laws of Library Science” (1931) was widely accepted as a definitive statement ideal for library service. The Five laws of Library Science is a theory proposed by S.R.Ranganathan , detailing the principles of operating a library system. Many librarians worldwide accept them as the foundations of their philosophy. Dr. S. R. Ranganathan’s contribution in the growth and development of Library Science is remembered every year by celebrating his Birth Anniversary as Librarian’s Day by holding seminars and conferences in all parts of India.

(The Author is working as Assistant Professor in University of Jammu)

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