Importance of a Library

A library is a treasure-house of knowledge. A well-stocked library is an asset to the school, college, university or the neighborhood. A library has a librarian to guide and attend to the readers.

Books are kept and arranged properly which makes the reader look for a particular book easily. A member of a library can borrow a few books for a particular period and take them home. It is the responsibility of the reader that no pages are torn. If he loses a book, he has to pay for the loss. Each academy has a library of its own. There are also neighborhood libraries and district libraries. It is a boon for poor students. Information technology has helped in improving the library facilities. However, the popularity of internet will not adversely affect the importance of a library.

Books are man’s best friends. They give him company equally in times of happiness as well as in times of distress. They are one of the main sources of knowledge. The best place for easy access to books is a library.

A library is a place where not only books but also magazines, journals and newspapers are well-stocked for the benefit of the readers. Beside this one can also get the entire atlas, Encyclopedia, etc. to know even the minute detail of a thing. It is a treasure-house of knowledge. It helps the spread of education. A reader can either read the in the library or borrow the book of his choice and take it home. The library is a popular place in the academic curriculum.

A well-stocked library is an asset to a school, a college or a university. There are also neighborhood libraries and district libraries which benefit the readers of the area. A student or a reader can increase his knowledge of various subjects by reading in the library during his spare time. One can update one’s knowledge by reading regularly in a library.

A library needs a good librarian who should be well-qualified in library science. Such a person can maintain the books properly. He can guide the students to select suitable books. He should be cheerful and co-operative; one who can interact well with the readers. The reader easily gets the books he wants, if he consults the librarian. Thus, the guidance of the librarian saves a lot of time of the readers. A good librarian welcomes suggestions from readers for the improvement of the library. He purchases new books after taking into consideration the needs of the readers.

Normally, a library is housed in a very spacious hall but small libraries are also present in small towns and villages. The furniture inside the library should be comfortable, neat and clean. Students/readers should maintain strict discipline, so that others are not disturbed. The atmosphere in a library should be peaceful and scholarly.

A library has thousands of books in stock. It has books on various topics, subjects and events. New books are added from time to time. All the books are kept systematically. They are classified and indexed according to their subjects. The labeling of books helps the reader to get a particular book without any difficulty. To find out the library number of a particular book, one can take the help of the subject and author index. Most libraries keep a book display rack where new arrivals are kept.

A library also keeps magazines, periodicals, newspapers and journals. These are kept on the reading table of the library. The readers can keep themselves equipped with current events and the latest developments in various fields.

A reader should handle the books carefully so that no pages are torn or that no books are misplaced. He should keep the book at the proper place after reading. The librarian should see than pin-drop silence is maintained in the library. Readers should abide by the library rules.

A library issues membership cards to its readers. A reader or a student can borrow a book for home if he has that card. The books are issued for a limited period. If the reader does not return the book on the due date, he has to pay a fine as per the library rules. If a reader loses a book, he has to replace the lost book with a new one or pay the price of the book. The readers are supposed to keep the books in good condition.

The library is a boon for poor students who cannot afford to buy text books or other books of their interest. They can borrow these books and read or study them at ease at home. A library is thus a help to the society.

Most libraries have notice-boards. They are used for writing important news of the day. A ‘Thought for the day’ is also written here. Titles of new books added to the library are also displayed on the notice-board to inform the students. Most libraries are open for a limited number of hours.

In recent years internet has revolutionized the concept of library. Information technology now plays an important role in improving the library facilities.

With the growing popularity of internet, which provides loads of information with just a click of a mouse, one may pause to think about the decreasing relevance and importance of a library in today’s world. But one should keep in mind that a person goes to a library not only to search and get information from books but also to sit and study there. The ambience and the peaceful and scholarly atmosphere then helps one to concentrate more on one’s work and study. Thus, libraries will never become redundant. They will always be there to indicate the presence of a well-read and educated society.

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VALUE EDUCATION

Value education is education in values and education towards the inculcation of values. Implicit in this definition is the conviction that value education is a universal phenomenon intrinsic to all learning and education, whether at home or in an institution. It is not. Neither teaches us to be critical thinkers or to regard ourselves as proactive beings in relation to ourselves, our community and humanity at large. Unwittingly and through habit we accept most things handed out to us by the media, the government and the polity. Unfortunately when there is so much talk about individual capabilities and potentialities, there is so little confidence on the part of the individual about his own power to make a difference. Our educational system is of little help. We are not trained to be proactive thinkers because we are told so little of the life values that are the basis for creative thinking.

What really is education? It is not literacy, nor information. Education is a systematic attempt towards human learning. All learning is subjective and self-related. Educational activity starts with the individual—Who am I? Where am I going? Where have I come from? It is only with an understanding of the Self that we can begin to understand our relationships with others and the environment.

Knowledge should not be made remote from individual reality and irrelevant to the individual. Knowledge can never be ‘learned’. Knowledge is the fruit of experience and experience is the sensation of the individual. Individual experience is an internal happening and is the function of awareness. And one of the processes of knowing ourselves, of raising our awareness, is to be able to identify and clarify our values. Education in values is essential in helping each one of us directly encounter the values that we hold, understand them completely, so that we may order our relationships to the environment that lies outside us. Once we are clear about values we shall be better able to sift and control information of the natural world, make wise choices and be creative in our mental processes.

‘Know thyself’ is what each of us needs to do, yet modern life moves at such a pace that we seldom take the time to examine ourselves. We become strangers to our own selves. We follow the dictates of others blindly. Why should any debate be left to a few ‘experts’? Why is not critical thinking an integral part of everyday life? It must be so if we are to create a sane society.

For this to happen we must be equipped to examine our values. These are our internal guideposts. Much of the great literature of the world—from Bhagavad Gita to Socrates to Hamlet—has dwelled on value choices and moral dilemmas that are bound to occur when your values are clearly defined. Values do conflict. Making value choices is not easy, but it is this very thing we must confront and make part of our lives if we are to be truly creative human beings. Moral dilemmas are only possible for those who have strongly held principles and it is through these moral dilemmas that new and revolutionary thought processes emerge and character develops.

Value conflicts are the strongest test of character. Yet, today, moral dilemmas are considered a waste of time, a domain for ‘losers’. Ultimately we declare all value assertions unscientific and relative, hence dispensable. We do not realize that value conflict is healthy, necessary and by eliminating it we are also erasing all conviction. Confucius once said: “If a man carefully cultivates values in his conduct, he may still err a little but he won’t be far from the standard of truth.”

It is time to clarify these values that we speak of. It is up to each one of us to determine the society we will create by deciding upon the values we will emphasize today. But first, let us be clear about the categories of values. These are three-universal, cultural or ethnic and individual or personal values.

UNIVERSAL VALUES

Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and, by our very acknowledgement, prove that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it.
—Goethe

Universal values reveal the essence of the human condition. These arise out of the fundamental questions-Who am I? What is my essence? Who am I when I remove myself from my social and cultural environment? Is there anything in me that cannot be explained by heredity, environment and society?

It is universal values that indicate the essence of the human condition. It is through universal values that we link ourselves with humanity and the cosmos, it is through these that all barriers of time, place and ethnicity are eliminated.

These values are not manifest. They must be experienced, as one experiences a sunrise, the beauty of a flower, as one experiences joy, pleasure, bliss, awe, serenity. These values cannot be contained by words. That the Upanishads and the Bible have remained relevant today as they were centuries ago, tells us that at the core, there are some constants in human condition, that time has not changed. That we are still moved by the wonder of the Taj Mahal, the music of Mozart, the life of Hamlet, the perennial philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita speaks volumes about the mystery and timelessness of universal values.

Universal values can be experienced as life, joy, brotherhood, love, compassion, service, bliss, truth and eternity.

CULTURAL VALUES

If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it.
—S.I. Hayakawa Cultural values are the social values of the day. They are specific to time and place and can be used just as much as misused. These values are concerned with right and wrong, good and bad, customs and behavior. They are meant to maintain social order.

Cultural values are speculative and there is nothing wrong with speculating. But it becomes wrong when speculation becomes ‘truth’, when opinion becomes ‘fact’ and when prejudice becomes the ’cause’. When cultural values are elevated to the status of universal values, there is the risk of intolerance, oppression, demagoguery, brutality and aggression. A cultural value may serve a function in a particular situation and circumstance, but in no way can it be seen as the only or the best way of doing things. A spoon can serve the function of lifting food but so can a fork, a knife, a spatula or bare fingers. A cultural value similarly has limited relevance and the fact that it serves a particular function in a given society does not imply that it is the only or best way of doing so.

When seen in this light, cultural values have the advantage of becoming a source of insight into a time and society. Creative development of ideas often emerges out of an interaction of different cultural values and an understanding and respect for differences. Much of what we find exciting and interesting has in fact come from a meeting of cultures. The Renaissance came about from a meeting of the ancient Greek and medieval European cultures. Jazz is African-European music and the American Transcendentalists studied the Indian Vedas and Upanishads. The East heavily influenced writers such as Aldous Huxley, Somerset Maugham and Carl Jung. Gandhi drew inspiration from Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King Jr. was in turn, deeply affected by Gandhi.

If all one knows is one’s own culture, there is narcissism. The study of other cultures gives us a wider frame of reference. And the study of other cultures is through its sacred (poetic, mythic, religious) traditions and not only through studying history.

Cultural values are reflected in language, ethics, social hierarchy, aesthetics, education, law, economics, philosophy and social institutions of every kind.

INDIVIDUAL VALUES
That civilization perishes in which the individual thwarts the revelation of the universal.
—Rabindranath Tagore

Individual values are our private principles, the result of individual personality and individual experiences. Parents, teachers and one’s peer group shape individual values. Personal values determine the differing reactions of people to similar events. A crisis may dim one person’s enthusiasm and land him in depression, while another may be propelled into greater action.

Individual values are reflected in individual goals, vows, relationships, commitments and personal preferences. These are often colored by memories of the past and therefore there are differences in the meaning attributed to a common experience. To one person children denote happiness and strength, to another they may denote bondage. Individual values are malleable, often contained in a time and memory warp. They can transform themselves into universal values when you practise awareness and living in the moment.

After clarifying our values, we must determine which of the three are most meaningful for us after considering the relative priority of each category, so that we may be able to confront these and understand our own psychological and social conditioning.

>Beyond our ego (sense of self) and identity (sense of belonging to a group) that dictates what we know, think, feel and how we act lies the universal identity. Dissonance between ego and identity can create anxiety and alienation but acting upon universal values will not, for here it is authentic action emanating from an authentic Self. Universal values are at the top of the list. The others have their place but it is through universal values that we experience a sense of oneness with the human race.

Universal values must be our foundation if we are to enjoy a rich, profound and fulfilling life. Our personal and cultural biases limit and distort our perception of the universal wonder that is life. Even as the hands of a clock are powered from the center that remains ever still, so the universal values remain ever at the center of human life, no matter where the hands of time are pointing—past, present or future.