Dr. S. R. Ranganathan Memoir

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Dr. S. R. Ranganathan Married Life

Dr.S.R.Ranganathan married Rukmini when he was fifteen years old in 1907. She was a dedicated wife  to Ranganathan and an able house keeper. Unfortunately, she died in an accident on 13 November 1928 The couple had no children.

Dr.Ranganathan married again to Sharada in December 1929; she was also devoted to Ranganathan and helped him to work ceaselessly for the cause of the library profession. She even persuaded him to donate large sums of money for the Chair of Library Science in Madras University and to the Endowment. She died at the age of 78 years on 30 July 1985 in Bangalore. Ranganathan was blessed with only one son, Shri R. Yogeswar, born in 1932. He is an Engineer by profession and was an international consultant on machine tool design and development. He has two sons and a daughter. All of them are settled in Luxembourg.

On the eve of Joining as first University Librarian of Madras University

Dr.S.R.Ranganathan was appointment as the Librarian of the Madras University in 1924. He took charge of the University Library at 4.00 P.M. on Thursday, 4th January 1924.

A school of library science was also initiated by Ranganathan in 1929, first under the auspices of the Madras Library Association and later taken over by Madras University. Ranganathan was the director of the school for nearly 15 yearsLater in 1957, during centenary celebrations of the University, he donated his life's savings of one lakh rupees to the University to endow a chair known as Sarada Ranganathan Professorship in Library Science.

In 1921 Dr.S.R.Ranganathan joined as an Assistant Professor of mathematics at the Presidency College Madras. As a teacher of mathematics, he published a few papers, mostly on history of mathematics. He taught Algebra, Trigonometry and Statistics. He enjoyed teaching and was a popular teacher undertaking a lot of activities during his time.

In 1923 a position of librarian was created in Madras University and applications were called for the post. One of SRR’s friend persuaded him to apply for it which SRR did so, albeit a little reluctantly. There were 900 applicants but unfortunately for SRR none met the research requirements of committee other than him. In January 1924 he was appointed as the first librarian of Madras University. He was reluctant to take on an administrative position as he loved teaching and within a week was back pleading Principal for his old teaching job. But the Principal pacified him by promising to take him back if he felt the same way after his return from England.

Farewell at Presidency college to Dr.Ranganathan on his departure to London

Dr.Ranganathan was sent to London to study modern practices in library management. In September 1924, Ranganathan travelled to England and joined the University College, London. As a student at the University College, Dr.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 1925 and assumed office as Librarian of the University of Madras and initiated the process of transforming the library.

The most significant contribution of Ranganathan to library education in the country came with the establishment of the Documentation Research & Training Centre (DRTC) as a unit of the Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore offering an associateship programme at DRTC (now a master of science programme). Ranganathan himself was a honorary professor at DRTC. Dr.M.A.Gopinath was one among his many pride students who was with him in DRTC all along his life.

Succession of Student –Teacher relationship

S.R.Ranganathan | Berwick Sayers | M.A.Gopinath

MALA Summer School of Librarianship - 1930

The need for trained personnel to run libraries was uppermost in Ranganathan’s mind after returning from UK. He started a certificate programme in 1929 as a summer school under the auspices of MALA. The school was taken over by the University of Madras in 1931. Ranganathan started a post-graduate diploma programme in library science in the University of Madras in 1937, the first such programme to be offered by any university in India. Ranganathan donated his life’s savings to the University of Madras in its centenary year — 1957 — to create a chair in (Sarada Ranganathan professor in library science), the first university professorship in library science in the entire British Commonwealth! A full-fledged Department of Library Science was started in the University in 1960 to offer a bachelor’s degree programme in library science.

First University Training Course in Librarianship at Madras University

The school started by Madras Library Association (MALA) was taken over by the University of Madras in 1931. The first batch of students of Madras University Training Course in Librarianship was completed in the year 1932. Ranganathan started a post-graduate diploma programme in library science in the University of Madras in 1937, the first such programme to be offered by any university in India.

LIS Department at Delhi University

 He was invited by the Banaras Hindu University and was there for less than two years before moving to Delhi in 1947 at the invitation of Sir Maurice Gwyer, the then Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi, to start a library school in the University. With more than two decades of working experience in universities, and research in library science, Ranganathan’s ideas were much sought after by many organizations not only in India, but throughout the western world.

SRR at 22nd IFLA Session-1956

During his stay in Zurich Ranganathan also continued to work for international organizations. His association with FID was most productive in terms of his contributions to the domain of knowledge organization. It was largely Ranganathan’s initiative and association with Donker Duyvis that led to the establishment of FID/CA, the FID Committee on Classification Theory. Ranganathan was made its rapporteur general in 1951, and in 1961, FID/CA was renamed as FID/CR, FID Committee on Classification Research (in 1994, while the abbreviation was retained, the name was changed to Committee on Classification Research for Knowledge Organization). FID/CR has played an important role in classification research by organizing a series of International Conferences on Classification Research. Ranganathan was an active participant in the first two conferences one 22nd IFLA Session held in 1956 and other one held in Dorking in 1957. He gave the opening address at Dorking and was the president of the Elsinore Conference.

Padmashri Award to Dr.S.R.Ranganathan-1957

Keeping in view his various wonderful contributions the Indian government bestowed on him the honorific title ‘Rao Sahib’ in 1935. He was also awarded ‘Padmashri’ in 1957 for his invaluable contributions to Library Science.  Dr. Babu Rajendraprasad Hon’ble President of India honoured Dr.S.R.Ranganathan with the Padmashri award.

Government of India recognised him as ‘National Research Professor in Library Science’ in 1965 when there were only four other professors in India during that time. He is known as ‘Father of Indian Library Science’ for his immense unparalleled contributions to field.

In 1962 after returning from Zurich, Ranganathan founded the Documentation Research & Training Centre (DRTC) as a unit of the Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore. He also initiated for starting the Library Training School. The first Batch of students of LTS Bangalore group photo was taken with Sri.N.D.Bagari and te founder Dr.S.R.Ranganthan in the year 1962.  He also started Mysore Library Association with Mr.Vaikunta Baliga the then Speaker of Mysore State Legislative Assembly as its president. On the request of the Mysore Library Association Government  of Mysore on  11 the September 1961 constituted a committee for drafting a Bill on public libraries with Dr. S.R. Ranganathan as Chairman. The Committee submitted its Report on 16th February 1963. The Bill was based on the draft bill prepared by the Committee. This Bill was intended to bring about uniformity in the law relating to public libraries and enable the establishment and maintenance of a system of public libraries, and for the comprehensive development and organisation of city, rural, and other classes of library service in the State.

Dr.Ranganathan recommended for starting a Certificate Course of Library Science to build skilled manpower to the Department.

Starting of Library Training Course at Department of Public Libraries Bangalore

The most significant contribution of Ranganathan to library education in the country came with the establishment of the Documentation Research & Training Centre (DRTC) as a unit of the Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore offering an associateship programme at DRTC (now a master of science programme). Ranganathan himself was a honorary professor at DRTC. The DRTC Annual Seminars were effectively used by Ranganathan to publish research by himself and his associates in DRTC. Ranganathan also used to organize a refresher / training programme at DRTC every year to update the members of library and information science community in the country on current developments in the area. He continued refining the theory till he passed away in 1972 and his work has been continued by his associates in the Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science and DRTC.

24/7 Training at DRTC by SRR to his students

Academic Awards to Dr. S. R. Ranagnathan

Dr. Ranganathan received many honours – the National Research Professorship in Library Science in March 1965 conferred by the Government of India- D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by the Delhi University in 1948, Doctorate in Library Science by the University of Pittsburgh in 1964, Padma Shri in 1956, and the MARGARET Mann.