Library Governance and Authority

Library Governance and Authority: The library governance refers to the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering the library. The authority has the power or right to give orders or make decisions in the library.

a) Library Governance

i) University Library: University library is based on the statutes and ordinances adopted by the governing body of a university. The statutes made in accordance with the policy enunciated by the university act would determine the status of the librarian in the general set up of the university and provide for its organization and administration.

ii) Public Library: The public library law enacted by a state legislature forms the legal basis for the establishment, maintenance and governance of the public library. In India, the public libraries were formerly under the ministry of education but now it is under the ministry of culture.

iii) Special Library: In a special library run by a company or industry, there may be no legal basis of library government. The library concerned may be their internal matter and the librarian may be at the mercy of the higher authorities of the concerned organization. There may be no prescribed rules, regulations, etc.

b) Library Authority: The word “authority” implies a person having the power to do something, the power being derived from his office or character or prestige. A person having power is authorized by a competent agency / authority to carry out a certain job. The purpose of granting authority is to allow him / her to perform some kind of service by means of administrative process.

i) College Library: In a college, the Board of Management is the authority and college librarian is directly answerable to the principal.

ii) University Library: In Indian Universities, the Executive Council (EC) is the library authority. In actual practice, many powers are delegated by EC to the Vice Chancellor (VC). So, the librarian is directly answerable to the VC.

iii) Public Library: In a public library, the Directorate of Library Services or Local or State Library Authority is the library authority or otherwise a library board might be the authority. The librarian is responsible to the board. In case of a public library, where there is a library legislation, it is mentioned in the library act as to who will be the library authority. But when there is no library legislation then the Director of Library Services will be the library authority.

iv) Special Library: The Board of Director or Board of Trustees of the parent body is the authority. The librarian is answerable to the Managing Director or some other senior officer and in practice the situation differs from library to library.