The five laws of library science is a theory that S. R. Ranganathan proposed in 1931, detailing the principles of operating a library system. Many librarians from around the world accept the laws as the foundations of their philosophy.
These laws are:
The first law constitutes the basis for the library services. Dr. Ranganathan observed that books were often chained to prevent their removal and that the emphasis was on storage and preservation rather than use. He did not reject the notion that preservation and storage were important, but he asserted that the purpose of such activities should be to promote use. Without user access to materials, there is little value in these items. By emphasizing use, Dr. Ranganathan refocused the attention of the field to access-related issues, such as the library's location, loan policies, hours and days of operation, the quality of staffing, and mundane matters, such as library furniture and temperature control.
The first law of library science, "Books are for use," means that books in libraries are not meant to be shut away from users.
The second law of library science, "Every reader his or her book," means that librarians are to serve a wide collection of patrons, acquire literature to fit a wide variety of needs, and refrain from judging what specific patrons choose to read. Librarians should respect that everyone is different and that everyone has different tastes regarding the books they choose.
The third law of library science, "Every book its reader," means all books have a place in the library, even if only a small demographic might choose to read them.
The fourth law of library science, "Save the time of the user," means that all patrons should be able to easily locate the materials they desire quickly and efficiently.
The fifth law of library science, "A library is a growing organism," means that a library should be a dynamic institution that is never static in its outlook. Books, methods, and the physical library should be updated over time.
In 1998, Michael Gorman, a past president of the American Library Association, recommended the following laws in addition to Ranganathan's five:
Gorman repeated these laws in Chapter 1 of his book Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, & Realities, which was co-written by Walt Crawford, and in Our Singular Strengths: Meditations for Librarians.
In 2004, librarian Alireza Noruzi recommended the application of Ranganathan's laws to the Web:
In 2008, librarian Carol Simpson recommended the following edits to Ranganathan's laws to reflect the richness of media:
In 2016, Dr. Achala Munigal recommended the following edits to Ranganathan's laws due to the introduction and application of social tools in libraries:
In 2019, Basheerhamad Shadrach proposed the Five Laws of Knowledge, adapted from those of Ranganathan:
((cite journal)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)