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Implications of 2nd Law of Library Science

1. Introduction: The second law of Library Science is “Every Reader his / her Book” (books are for all). According to the second law every reader of a library should have the books he / she want. It advocates for a mandatory provision of library services to each reader according to his / her need. It advocates the universal and democratization of library services i.e. documents are not merely for scholars but for all, including the poor, sick, blind, prisoner, neo-literates and the old. The documents should be accessible irrespective of occupational and income lines, irrespective of the normal and the specially normal, or irrespective of an adult and a child.

2. Obligation of the State: In fulfilling the second law of Library Science, the state government has the following responsibilities-
a) Library Legislation: In order to achieve the second law it is desirable that economy factor should not stand as a barrier. This will be possible through library legislation, which will provide for finance of public libraries at various levels to achieve free library services for all.
b) Maintenance of a Library System (Network): As far as students, researchers and teachers are concerned the academic library plays a big role. However, for the general public academic library plays only a marginal role in fulfilling the second law. Therefore, the state also has the responsibility of establishing public libraries.
c) Co ordination and Resource Sharing: A given library would not have the finance to purchase documents on occasional demand. Therefore, the second law would suggest the formulation of a National library network to share the resources, especially for the purpose of inter-library loan.

3. Obligation of the Library Authority: The library authority are having the following obligations in fulfilling the 2nd law of Library Science-
a) Choice of Book (Book Selection): The second law implies that all the books that can be useful should be selected and all the useless books should be discarded. The selection should be based on individual needs. The library authority should ensure the proper selection and acquisition policy in order to build up a balanced collection in the library for each category of users i.e. the blind, neo-literates, scholars, children, young, adult, man, women, etc. Buying a document that has no potential demand is a violation of the second law.
b) Choice of the Staff: The library authority should select an adequate and competent team of library staff and it should take utmost care in the recruitment of the library personnel, their subsequent promotion, recognition and status.

4. Obligation of the Library Staff: The library staff can play the following role in fulfilling the 2nd law of Library Science-
a) Open Access: The library staff should feel the obligation to introduce open access to help the readers in gaining access to all the books of possible interest to them. The open access makes it possible for a reader to approach books directly and handle them personally without any barrier. A user can, thus browse amongst the world of books and thus they will have better chances of choosing the right book.
b) Cataloguing: Sometimes the information contained in a chapter or a few pages of a book may be of interest to a reader but the users often tend to miss such content. To avoid such oversight the library should introduce subject analytical or cross reference entries.
c) Shelf Arrangement: The shelf should be arranged according to the subject of the document and not based on the size and other aspects.
d) Maintenance: In case of open access libraries there is every possibility of some document being misplaced intentionally or unintentionally by the patron of the library. To fulfil the second law misplaced books must be restored to their proper places. Books in need of binding or repair should be taken out from the shelves from time to time.
e) Reference Service: Reference service is an effective means of ensuring that the reader gains access to all the documents of potential interest to him that are held by the library. So the library staff should have proper training in reference work and be able to provide an effective reference service to the user in getting the right book.

5. Obligation of the Reader: The readers are having the following responsibilities in fulfilling the second law of Library Science.
a) Library Rules Should be Followed: A user must realize that library rules are framed to get the maximum out of the library resources and to prevent the misuse of library resources. The rules are aimed at increasing the use of the library rather than curbing its use. Thus, the user should regard the rigid enforcement of the rules as an aid rather than a hindrance in the use of the library.
b) Maintenance of the System: A user should not misplace the books within the library or damage it. This will deprive the other users; similarly a user should not mutilate or take out cards from the library catalogue, tear pages or steal, etc.
c) Should not Ask for Any Undue Special Privileges: The Library is meant for every body’s use and no one should have undue privileges at the expense of others. The current issues, the reference books, etc. which are in much demand should not go through the process of any special privileges.
d) Returns of Books in Time: The books that are borrowed must be returned on or before due date so that other users do not have to suffer. If a document is lying unused at home, it is the obligation of the user to return it as soon as possible.

6. Conclusion: The society as a whole should realize the importance of the information and knowledge embodied in the form of book to fulfil the second law of Library Science. We all have the responsibilities to perform to fulfil the second law of Library Science. The service oriented mind and a caring heart can underpin in fulfilling the law “Every Reader his / her Book”.

How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanDr. Badan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJSE) (, UGC NET Guide (, Assam Archive ( and LIS Study ( website.

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