Library Committee: A library authority may appoint a library committee, which is a body consisting of persons who are assigned the job of looking after the library. The library committee is needed because the librarian alone should not carry the whole burden of a big institution like a library.
a) Members of the Library Committee: In case of a University, the library committee is formed with the heads of the departments of the University, the Vice-chancellor, the Librarian, etc. The Vice chancellor is the Chairman of the library committee, and the Librarian is the Secretary. In case of college library, the principal is the chairman, and the librarian is the secretary. In case of school library, there is no need of a library committee because the library itself is a very small one and the librarian is the working head of the library.
The library committee should not be a very large. Only those people should be included as members of the library committee who are interested in the library and in this way the membership is restricted within the limit of twenty.
b) Types of Library Committee: There are mainly two types of library committees
i) Executive Committee: This committee is most powerful as it has full power over those matters which are delegated to them by the library authority. So the decision of the library executive committee is final and mandatory. It need not report its decision to the library authority.
ii) Advisory or Recommendatory Committee: It simply gives proposals which are subject to the approval of the library authority.
If we go deep into the history of library committee we will also find some other types of library committees. These are as follows:
iii) Self Perpetuating Committee: These committees have the sole authority and independence as regards the control and management of the library under it. It does not have to report to any other higher body about its activities.
iv)Adhoc Committee (Statutory Committee): It has the advantage of being independent of politics. It takes decision expeditiously. This committee is more or less independent. The Madras Public Library Act of 1948 provides the appointment of such a committee. This type of committee serves as library authority.
v) Nominated / Elected Committee: A large committee or an authority nominates or elects a smaller body for looking after certain bodies under it. It delegates certain power to such smaller bodies or committees.
vi) Recommending Committee: It does not have any real power except that it simply gives certain proposals which are subject to the approval of the library authority.
vii) Reporting Committee: This committee has sufficient powers to decide the matters within certain limit. Such decision needs no confirmation of the supreme authority but the decision is to be reported to the latter for information.
c) Powers and Functions of Library Committee: Powers and functions of a library committee vary according to its nature. In case of the Executive Committee the powers, functions and responsibilities are more whereas in case of a recommending committee, these will be narrowed to a great extent. Almost all the proposals for discussion at the library committee meeting are put forth by the librarian who generally acts as an ex-officio secretary to the committee. The library committees generally serve the following purposes.
i) Library Building: Library committee plays a great role in the construction of the library building and also makes necessary arrangement for the maintenance of the library building.
ii) Library Furniture and Fittings: Library committee ensures the availability of the adequate and proper standard furniture so that in future any number of identical articles may be added without any wastage of money or space.
iii) Library Staff: A library committee employs the qualified and adequate library staff for the library.
iv) Library Rule: It frames a set of library rules and keeps them up-to-date.
v) Library Finance: The librarian not being an elected representative of the people cannot successfully appeal for more fund allocation for the library. But the committee being a representative body of the people can successfully and convincingly appeal for more funds. The committee can also allocate the funds for the library.
vi) Collection of Documents: A library committee may appoint a sub-committee to serve as book selection committee so that the lists of books are thoroughly scrutinized to avoid the purchase of undesirable books.
vii) Library Accounts and Audits: A library committee provides the proper machinery for checking the library accounts. It may appoint an account sub-committee for auditing the accounts.
viii) Standard Library Service: A library committee put in its best efforts to secure full coverage and standard library services to the users.
ix) Library co-operation: A library committee finds out ways and means of securing co-operation between various branches within a locality and between other authorities.
x) Supervision and Advice: Public functions are best performed by a committee of persons who may be elected or nominated out by the people themselves as such the library committees also supervise and advise the librarian in matters on which public participation is essential.
xi) Buffer Agency: The committee serves as a buffer agency and an interpreter of the needs of the library to the community, controlling and guiding the library activities. In the absence of a library committee the librarian would find himself defenseless and unprotected.