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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Research by the Russian National Library found that the nation’s cultural orientation has changed brought about by changes in political, social and economic life following the collapse of the Soviet system. A total of 37 per cent of Russians never read books and 52 per cent never buy books. However, reading and borrowing from public libraries are higher in the provinces. The article by Scrogham provides an interesting viewpoint on the American Public Library. He finds that public libraries continue to be identified as places for reading and books and concludes that the future of the American public library might be fragile if it tries to be all things to all people.
The National Library of Malaysia’s ambitious public library development plan includes opening 250 new libraries with PCs and internet access in rural areas. They will be positioned in established community buildings such as community centres and mosques. Currently Malaysia has 500 rural libraries – 300 of which have computers, but libraries are campaigning to get more people, particularly children, interested in books. Dent’s article considers how the Kitengesa Community library in rural Uganda, which serves as both a community library and school library, might be seen as a model for similar libraries in developing countries. Dent demonstrates that the type of information provided by the library is at the heart of the library’s usefulness, through the efforts to link information to the everyday lives of the users.
Recent government statistics show that in the 4th quarter of 2004, 52 per cent of households in the UK could access the internet at home. In the same quarter of 1998, it was only 9 per cent. In February 2005, 59 per cent of adults in the UK had used the internet in the three months prior to being interviewed, and 56 per cent had ordered goods or services over the internet (www.statistics.gov.uk). However, the article by Soeters and van Schaik points out that more and more children have access to the internet, and they report on their research into the experiences of Dutch children on the internet. They comment that an increasing amount of children have had a disturbing experience online and that more than filter software is needed to protect children from the “dangers” of the internet.
Folio (Facilitated Online Learning as an Interactive Opportunity) is a continuing professional development programme of 12 online courses, which is freely available for all information professionals who support staff working within the NHS (National Health Service). Folio was devised by a Director of Information Resources at the University of Sheffield and the Library Partnerships Co-ordinator for the National Library for Health. Currently more than 300 members of library staff have enrolled on at least one of the nine full Folio courses. Quinlan and Hegarty’s article reports on a library-based virtual learning environment (VLE) training and development programme for Waterford Institute of Technology. This is being developed and implemented by the library as a diversification from its traditional role
The first Lilac (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) was held in April 2005 and followed up at the Umbrella conference. Speakers commented that a strategy is needed to ensure continuity and consistency of learning for all ages, and that information literacy can only be developed if an individual has access. The information professional in all sectors can empower individuals by helping them become information literate. The topic of the article by Solis and Dabbour is a US federal grant project. They discuss how an academic library is using this grant money to contribute to the success of Latino students. The inequalities faced by US Latinos in higher education is examined in the context of strengthening library collections, archives and information competence.
Michael (Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe), a European consortium which involves France, Italy and the UK, is creating the first multilingual inventory of collections in museums, libraries and archives in Europe. The aim is an international online service, using common standards to give access to many cultural portals (www.michael-culture.org/project.html). CALIMERA is the subject of the article by Davies, and he demonstrates how CALIMERA set out to help ordinary citizens right across Europe to join e-Europe through the digital services provided by their local cultural institutions and to extend the European research area by sharing knowledge and exchanging best practice with those countries which provide strong potential for beneficial research partnerships with Europe in the local cultural services area.