Philanthropy in Libraries

Philanthropy in Libraries

Achala Munigal (University College of Science, Saifabad & Osmania University Hyderabad, A.P., India) and Susmita Chakraborty (University of Calcutta, India)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4365-9.ch005

Abstract

Philanthropy is regarded as a voluntary private virtue for public good. Terms like Gifting, charity, fundraising, contributions, generosity, donations, aid, bequests, offerings, handouts, patronage are sometimes synonymously or interchangeably used for philanthropy. There are public, private, corporate philanthropic foundations all over the world, that work in collaboration with NGOs and other governmental organisations towards social good. Despite economic challenges faced worldwide, global philanthropy is predicted to continue its growth. In the age of declining financial assistance for libraries, un-certain economic condition, budget cuts libraries are facing a lot of economic crunch. To preserve libraries, philanthropy is most crucial and essential. Most of general public do not have multi-million dollar fortunes to donate, but this does not mean that smaller donations have less impact than larger ones. Libraries depend on various forms of giving. This paper investigates philanthropy with special reference to libraries in India.
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Introduction

Philanthropy, according to Wikipedia “etymologically means “the love of humanity”—love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of “what it is to be human,” or “human potential”...It is generally agreed that the word was coined in ancient Greece by the playwright, Aeschylus, or whoever else wrote Prometheus Bound.The myth goes that Prometheus, a titan out of his “philanthropostropos” or “humanity loving character” gave humans who lived in dark in constant fear for their lives, gifts like fire and optimism to improve their human condition. The new word, philanthropos, combined two words: philos, “loving” in the sense of benefitting, caring for, nourishing; and anthropos, “human being” in the sense of “humanity”, or “human-ness”...The Greeks adopted the “love of humanity” as an educational ideal, whose goal was excellence (arete)—the fullest self-development, of body, mind and spirit, which is the essence of liberal education”...The Romans copied everything Greek. Philanthropia was later translated by the Romans into Latin as, simply, humanitas—humane-ness.

Philanthropy is regarded as a voluntary private virtue for public good. Different expressions like Gifting, charity, fundraising, contributions, generosity, donations, aid, bequests,offerings, handouts, tithe, patronage are sometimes synonymously or interchangeably used for philanthropy. “By the early 21st century the word ‘non-profit’ was generally accepted as synonymous with philanthropy(Tracey, 2003).

Different people have defined Philanthropy over time.Lester Salamon defines philanthropy as “the private giving of time or valuables (money, security, property) for public purposes”(Anheier, 2004).

“Philanthropy is the practice of applying assets of knowledge, passion and wealth to bring about constructive change.” said Peter Goldmark, Rockefeller Foundation. George Soros defines it as “I have made it a principle to pursue my self- interest in my business, subject to legal and ethical limitations, and to be guided by the public interest as a public intellectual and philanthropist. If the two are in conflict, the public interest ought to prevail. I do not hesitate to advocate policies that are in conflict with my business interests. I firmly believe that our democracy would function better if more people adopted this principle.” (Anheier & Leat, 2002).

There are many dictionaries online on the web also have attempted in defining philanthropy. Merriam-Webster.com defines Philanthropy as “goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare; an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes; an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes.”Collins online dictionary defines philanthropy as “the practice of performing charitable or benevolent actions; love of mankind in general.” Oxford online dictionary defines philanthropy as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.”

Depending on various concepts and techniques philanthropy has taken on various forms and developed into new innovate models (Sulek, 2010).

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