Public Libraries In Cultural Diversity Cultural Studies Essay

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The early notion of public library was 'museum of the books'. Today the public library is the "people's university". It is the product of modern democracy and it maintains that knowledge should be demo critized free of any subscription and other charges to every person irrespective of cast, creed, colour, age and sex. A library is now therefore freely open to all and in it, there is free access to any literature required.

Learning is a lifelong process. Every activity of human being, whether econimc, education, health, business of developments are organized through learning. These institutes may be different kinds, but are constantly changed in learning and knowledge of which library one or them. Library also serves as a "learning and resource center". The latest developments of information technology, such as computers, telecommunications and other technologies are being cope up with the library to meet the demand of library users and hence the notion of library as "store house for books" have been come up to the extent of digital library, virtual library and invisible library. The closed doors of the libraries in ancient are opened forever. In the new technological era the library is not restricted to the four walls. The technology has been the four walls of the library, the library is standing only on the pillars of the technology.

A library may be small or big it acts like a center of communication between originators and users of thoughts and ideas. But the public library system, as the name implies, is user friendly system as anybody can make use of this system.

The basic feature which distinguished a public library from other libraries is that it is open to one and all and is stacked with diverse materials representing all shades of recorded views. UNESCO Public Library Manifesto (1949 revised in 1972 and 1994) gave a new image and wider scope to this type of libraries service. A public library ca rightly be called index to the Human development in the field of humanities and social, physical and biological sciences. "Education and library services" are two faces of the same coin which one cannot separate them. It means library is the chief instrument so far perfected accumulating and using man's intellectual heritage. Francis Bacon has said that "reading make a full man, conference a ready man and writing a perfect man".

Definitions of Public Library:

The IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 1994 elaborates the significance of public libraries as "the local gateway to knowledge, provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision- making and cultural development of the individual and social groups", and further stated impact of public libraries for education and society as "a living force for education, culture and information, and as an essential agent for fostering of peace and spiritual welfare through the minds of men's and women's". (IFLA/UNESCO; 1994).

On defining a public library it may be acknowledge that, "an organization established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some other form of community organization. It provides access to knowledge, information and works of the imagination through a range of resources and services and is equally available to all members of the community regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, economic and employment status and educational attainment". (IFLA/UNESCO; 2001;).

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science defines it as, "a public institution supported by taxation, one that opens its collections, facilities and services, without distinction, to all citizens". (Kent;1978).

Diversity in Public Libraries:

Public libraries can offer a lot more than just a place to read or borrow books. They can play a important role in raising awareness of different cultures and promoting the integration between different category groups. Libraries have obvious role in offering free information about other culture and ethnic groups. As they are used by many sections of society, they also have the potential to provide a natural meeting place for people of different cultures. The success of libraries in promoting intercultural understanding depends on the books and information available and the resources to fund activities.

Public libraries have a social obligation to all the citizens of our country, regardless of ethnicity, background, or economic status. Public libraries need pluralism because they serve a wide population of different Categories. A certain cultural consciousness and sensitivity to diversity is necessary to best meet the needs of this diverse crowd. It is essential that libraries incorporate multi-cultural media into their collections such as films, books, and other library materials.

When awareness for diversity is awakened in the library setting the employees become more capable of providing effective service to different ethnicities because they have a good understanding of different cultures and openness to distinct world views. (Smith; 2008)

Cultural Diversity in India:

The Indian culture is one of the oldest culture in the world. In India, there are amazing Diverse cultures throughout the country. The North, South, East and West have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural identification. There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. India is a vast country, having variety of geographical features and climatic conditions. India is home to some of the most ancient civilizations. India's diverse cultural reality is very much in evidence, with 18 regional languages and 1,652 mother tongues. India is a host to most world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity and Islam. The Hindu majority includes numerous sects; the little traditions have literally hundreds of thousands of gods and goddesses, and many families have their own special deities, whose worship is handed down generation by generation.

Indian culture can be traced back to the Indus Vally (3250 BC to 2000 BC) with subsequent influences of the Vedic culture (1500 BC), Buddhism and Jainism (600 BC to 200 BC), Islam, Adavita, Bhakti and Rajput cultures. Recent major influences include colonization, post-colonial government building, industrialization and globalization (Hussain; 1993). All these forces have created an extremely complex entity called India.

Cultural identity is the sense of belonging and attachment to a particular way of living associated with the historical experience of people. Multiculturalism exists where one society embraces groups of people with different cultural identities.

Public Libraries as a Meeting Place:

Today's globalised society is characterized by two profound, at the surface seemingly unrelated developments. One is the cultural and social changes caused by migration and the growth of the multicultural society; the other is related to digitization and the growth of the so-called information or knowledge society. Both developments have fundamental effects on librarianship in general and public librarianship in particular(Audunson;2005). Public libraries are popular community arenas that function as centers for culture, lifelong learning, information, and, not least, as social centers. Public libraries are to meet the needs of the local population, both majority population and minorities, long term residents as well as newcomers, and they play an important role in terms of access to educational opportunities and social inclusion.

City Central Library Hubli-Dharwad: A profile


With the enforcement of the Karnataka Public Libraries Act on 22nd April 1965 and as per the notification issued by the Government of Karnataka the City Library Authority for the twin cities of Hubli Dharwad came into being on 5-11-1966. According to the provision made in the Karnataka Public Libraries Act, 1965 the City Library Authority established the City Central Library, Hubli - Dharwad in the city of Dharwad on 1-1-1967.

The city central library, Hubli - Dharwad is located more approximately to the widely accepted belief i.e. in the heart of the city. Since its inception, the city central library has made a commendable progress in spreading the cause of the library by opening good number of branch libraries, service stations and mobile library service, service centers in several parts of Hubli - Dharwad city.


The City Central Library, Hubli - Dharwad is located in the heart the Dharwad city, in its own building situated behind the D.C. Compound. The plan as estimated was prepared in 1971 and the foundation was laid in the same year. After 20 years, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri. S.Bangarappa inaugurated the new building in 1991. Before the construction of the new building it was earlier situated in Karnataka Vidyavardhak Sangh Building, near by old bus stand.

Branches of City Central Library Hubli _ Dharwad

There are 22 branches and 17 service stations under jurisdiction of City Central Library, Hubli - Dharwad, it is also providing mobile Library services in 48 points of Hubli - Dharwad city.

The List of Branch Libraries Situated In Hubli Dharwad


CCL Headquarter at DC Compound

Mrithyunjaya Nagar

Laxmi Nagar

Mental Hospital Branch

Jayanagar Branch

Narayanpur Branch

Shukrawarpeth Branch

Garagsiddalingappa Branch

Kamlapur Branch

Navalur Branch


Old Hubli

Railway colony Vidyanagar


Indira Glass House Branch

KMC Hospital Branch

Ghantikeri Branch

Navanagar Branch

Unkal Branch

Bairidevarakoppa Branch

Nagashettikoppa Branch


In Dharwad

Gandhi Shanti Pratishthana

Government Servants Hall

Police Headquarters

Hindu Bhagini Seva Sangh, Saidapur

Kalidas Vidyavardhak Sangh ;

Valmiki oni, Hosayallapur


In Hubli

Sub jail


Cancer Hospital, Navanager

Anand Nagar,



J.C. Nagar




Library working hours

The City Central Library, Hubli - Dharwad is kept open from 8.30 am to 8.p.m. On all weekly holidays and second Saturday including gazetted holidays, the branches are kept closed.


The membership to this library is made against a deposit of Rs. 25.00 which entitles member to borrow one book, for two books the deposit is Rs. 30.00 and Rs. 40.00 for 3 books. There is a provision of issuing reference books text books and costly books on different subjects against a special deposit apart from membership fees. The issued books be kept by the user for a period of 15 days. There is a provision also returning the deposited money, against the cancellation of membership. There is no fee charged for using reference books and other newspaper and magazines within the premises of the library.

Library Collection

The value of library and its service solely depends upon a comprehensive and useful collection.

Periodical Collection of the Library

To keep abreast with the current affairs, scientific, technological and economic development, the City Central Library and its branches are served with a number of periodicals, magazines of popular interest, the periodicals subscribed represent Kannada, English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Telagu and Tamil languages. The total number of periodicals subscribed every year by the city central library, Hubli - Dharwad and its branches, is nearly ???

Sections of the City Central Library, Hubli -Dharwad

Circulation section

Book section

News papers

Periodical section

Audio-Visual section

Reference section

Technical section.

Office section

Children's section

Mobile service section

Employment information section

Competitive examination section.

Services Rendered Please check this Sir

The library has adopted open access system whereby the users have a direct access to books.

The library is providing reference service. Maximum utilization of this service is by the general public, high school students, under and post - graduate students.

The library is providing inter -: library loan facility to the users, whenever the need arises, including photocopying services. The library has photocopying unit in the office section.

Extension Activities of the Library

The City Central Library is well equipped with all infrastructure and it undertakes the extension activities like storytelling, debate and quiz competitions, organizing lectures to take library and its services the nearer to the people of Hubli - Dharwad. It also takes up the following extension activities.

Book Exhibition

Normally book exhibitions are organized two or three times in a year on the occasions like Gandhi Jayanthi, Republic Day and during the National Library week celebrations

Film shows

Since 1981 the library is making all possible efforts to organize the documentary film shows in all parts of the city. It is rather a regular activity carried out to increase the popularity and importance of the public library among the general public. In addition to these extension activities, city Central Library Hubli - Dharwad also conducts seminars and symposia on various occasions. It is thus emerging as a powerful communication media in the society.


City Central library has started automation of library activities in the year 2003 by installing computers. From the year 2003 March onwards computer division has started making entry of books in software called E-Granthalaya which is developed by National Informatics Centre. Until now 43, 049 books are entered. Computers are supply by RRRLF and E-Granthalaya provides all housekeeping activities of library.

Services Rendered by the Public Libraries

Information Provision:

Library authorities should provide accurate and up-to-date information of day-today developments. The public libraries should develop co-operation between neighboring libraries.

Lending Services

All public libraries provide book bowing service to the members of particular library. All kinds of books can be borrowed, fiction (such as the latest bestseller or a classic novel) and non-fiction (such as history, biography, science, travel, self-help, etc.). In addition to standard books, libraries also have copies of many books in "large print" format, which are popular with readers with a visual impairment.

Reference and General Information Services

A public library should have a reference section, containing reference books and other reference materials which can be consulted only in the library. Reference sections typically include reference materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, yearbooks, directories, government publications and atlases. Some reference materials are available on CD-ROM.

Internet services

The Public libraries now have computers which the users can use to access the Internet. In some libraries user must be a member of the library to use the computers to access internet. Many libraries provide online access to their library catalogues (OPAC) and other resources over the internet.

Magazines and Newspapers

Public Libraries carry a range of periodicals and journals including national and local newspapers in different languages like English, Hindi and regional language. Magazines are on different topics. (E.g. History, Health and Lifestyle Business, , Education, Science & Technology, Nature, etc.)

Mobile Library Service:

Mobile Library service is in practice all over the world and every possible means of transport is being used for this purpose. Mobile library also known as the "Library on wheels"; "Bibliobus" and "Librachain". Retired community and housewife's are the major users of the mobile library. Mobile library stops at each of the scheduled locations for 2-3 hours duration. Books may be borrow and return at the place by using membership cards, and users can read the books in the mobile library van.

Barriers to Service provision:

Cultural Understanding:

Cultural sensitivity is mandatory in service multicultural communities. In some of the culture women are not allowed to go out from the home except on some rare occasions. To encourage the women in their community, the public libraries should pass the message that the library is safe place where women can come and borrow books, get different information and meet other women from different community. The public libraries should give more security for the women users. Also mobile library helps them to learn more rather than going to a library which is situated far away from their living place. Co-operation with the different cultural groups is essential to provide effective multicultural library services. Cultural sensitivity is very important in serving cultural divers communities.


Every library irrespective of size of staff is obliged to provide for ongoing training and continuing education to staff in serving their culturally diverse users. A training needs improve the relation between the library staff and different cultured people to analysis in relation to cultural diverse service provision Currently there is a need of a common language and a good understanding between the users and the library staff. Many libraries have to give priority to develop competence and confidence in providing multicultural services, and create awareness about the needs of the multicultural or cultural diverse community users.