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Career as teacher of mathematics 3. Madras University Library 4. Normative principles 5. Publications and impact 8. Ranganathan continued to be active till he passed away at the ripe age of Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan was born on 9th August to Mr. Ramamrita Iyer and Mrs. Ranganathan lost his father in when he was only 6 years old. Ranganathan spent his childhood and school days as member of an orthodox South Indian Brahmin family. Even when he was still studying, at the age of 15, he was married to Rukmani aged 11 years. Ranganathan moved to Madras now, Chennai for higher education.
It was only after moving to Madras that he was exposed to a more cosmopolitan environment. After completing matriculation, Ranganathan joined the Madras Christian College and majored in mathematics obtaining his B. Ranganathan married Sarada in Their son R. Yogeshwar became an engineer, married a European and eventually migrated to Luxembourg .
Ranganathan who died in Bangalore on 27 September has two grandsons and a granddaughter and quite a few greatgrandchildren — all of whom live in Europe.
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Ranganathan started his career as an assistant lecturer in mathematics at the Government College in Mangalore. He also taught at the Government College, Coimbatore before moving to Madras in as an assistant professor of mathematics at the Presidency College.
As a teacher of mathematics, he published a few papers, mostly on history of mathematics. One of his colleagues advised him to apply for the position of Madras University librarian which had been notified. In , the University of Madras created the position of university librarian and had invited applications for the post.
Ranganathan was persuaded by some of his colleagues to apply for the position as it carried much higher emoluments than that of an assistant professor. Ranganathan was selected for the position from among the many applicants and joined as University Librarian in January One of the conditions of appointment was that the selected candidate should go to England for training in librarianship and library work. His initial reaction to this change — from being a teacher of mathematics, a subject he loved, to becoming a librarian, which in those days was more in the nature of a storekeeper — was one of frustration.
However, owing to persuasion by his friends he stayed on in that position till he was sent to London to study modern practices in library management. As a student at the University College, Ranganathan came under the influence of Berwick Sayers who was teaching library classification. The nine months in England made a huge difference for Ranganathan.
He realized the importance of libraries as social institutions especially for a country like India. Ranganathan returned to India in July and assumed office as Librarian of the University of Madras and initiated the process of transforming the library. He began with stock-taking and initiated steps to make the items available known to end users by classifying and cataloguing the items.
He found that everything about the library — the building where it was housed, the administrative systems in place, the library budget, etc. Ranganathan came up with an action plan and implemented as many of these as he could: keeping the library open from 8 AM to 8 PM on all days of the year; opening the library to undergraduate students also; providing intensive user assistance; interestingly, within a few years after he assumed office as librarian, Ranganathan introduced a service tailored to individual needs PARS, personalized assistance to research scholars? It was more than a decade later that he could move the library to its present premises on the Marina Beach.
Some features of the building and its furniture require special mention to have an idea of the keen eye Ranganathan had for details nearly one hundred years ago, when the university library building was being planned: Considering that Madras is a coastal city and that the library was located on the beach road, the book shelves were all made of wood with racks whose height was adjustable. Ranganathan designed and got exquisite book shelves made for housing reference sources, which can be seen in the main reading hall of the library even today.
The company that made these furniture, Curzon Co.
Department of Educational Policy & Leadership
The library was transformed, and it became the much sought-after resource not only for the students and scholars of the University, but also for the elites and intellectuals of the city whom Ranganathan had cultivated. One characteristic of Ranganathan that sets him apart is his search for a philosophical basis and scientific principles that could serve as the foundation for developing standard practices, tools and techniques. His experiences in the Madras University Library appear to have helped him identify areas and activities that required a scientific basis.
By his search for a philosophical foundation crystalized into the Five Laws of Library Science and published as a book Ranganathan The inspiration for the Five Laws, according to Ranganathan himself, came from Manu, the author of Dharmasastra. Ranganathan quotes Manu  : To carry knowledge to those that lack it and to educate all to perceive the right! Even to give away the whole earth cannot equal that form of service. The Five Laws: Books are for use Every reader his book Every book its reader Save the time of the reader Library is a growing organism provided the philosophical foundation for every tool and technique that Ranganathan developed.
At the time Ranganathan formulated the Five Laws, books were the principal carriers of information. Given the objectives provided by his Five Laws, he went about developing tools and techniques to realize the objectives. His solutions came in the form of some of his most well-known works, viz. A biographical note on Ranganathan must mention his contributions to aspects of librarianship other than knowledge organization. Undoubtedly Ranganathan will be for long remembered and recognized for his path-breaking contributions to the area of knowledge organization.
It is difficult to judge the work of S. Ranganathan without referencing to the totality of librarianship. The conference gave Ranganathan an opportunity to meet some local social and political heavy weights. With the support of Sir K. MALA had the objective to initiate and spread library movement across the length and breadth of Madras Presidency. Ranganathan conceived the idea of mobile library service to rural people and the first bullock cart library service was initiated in some villages in the Tanjore now, Thanjavur District of Madras Presidency; its huge success led to many similar projects in other parts of the district and elsewhere in the presidency — all funded and supported by the people of the regions served by the mobile libraries .
During his stay in England, Ranganathan had the opportunity to observe the functioning of many public libraries and the range of services they offered. He was convinced that an effective public library system was essential for national development and became a strong advocate of free public library service. He drafted public library bills for many states in India.
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