Advances in Library Administration and Organization: Volume 27


Table of contents

(19 chapters)

This is ALAO's second international volume. It represents the editors’ commitment to internationalize the journal's contents and interests. The volume of this sort within ALAO, published in 2007, as Volume 25, outlines the history of Library and Information Science in Finland and reviews the scholarly achievements of Finnish scholars working within this discipline.

This volume brings together a range of reflective essays and empirical analyses of the changing character of the library world in what is sometimes called, “post-Soviet space.” Specifically, individual contributions from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, the New Republic of Kosovo, and the post-Soviet successor states of Eurasia all provide different perspectives on Library and Information Sciences within the former Soviet Union and “Eastern Bloc” in terms of national and cultural identity and diverse institutional contexts. Thus, the included chapters range in focus from broad transformations in National Libraries and national library systems to the more specific problems facing municipal and local public libraries and information institutions within decentralized and, in some cases, privatized post-Soviet environments.

The book is a mighty instrument for communication, labor, struggle. It arms a person with life experiences and the toils of humanity. It expands his horizons and gives him knowledge to tame the forces of nature.N.K. Krupskaya, wife of V.I. Lenin

This chapter examines historical developments and current trends in Ukrainian library education, based on a review of the Ukrainian literature, a survey of Library and Information (LIS) curricula, and conversations with senior figures in Ukrainian LIS education. Ukraine became an independent state only in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prior to independence, Ukraine's LIS education was integrated within the Soviet system. After independence the system evolved slowly, but with the recent Orange Revolution, reform efforts have increased apace. Ukrainian LIS education remains more vocational than in the United States, with a two-year nondegree certificate as the most common training, and a four-year bachelor's degree offered by elite institutions. One emerging trend in LIS education there stresses the new opportunities for librarians and information professionals because of Internet technologies. Another trend is part of a more general shift, inspired by a new Ukrainian higher education law, stressing the country's independent culture and formalizing standards for different degrees. Although Ukrainian LIS leaders advocate adoption of open access mechanisms, customer friendly practices, and electronic resources, my own experiences as a library user suggest that Soviet-era habits continue to shape library practices. LIS education has now reached a turning point as reformers grapple with the limited resources, the power of inertia, and remnants of Soviet culture in their efforts to meet current challenges and prepare a new generation of information professionals.

The Department of Nationality Literatures of the Russian National Library (RNB) in Saint Petersburg is a unique repository of publications in diverse languages of the peoples of the former USSR. In the collections are works in the Latvian language not to be found in Riga, works in the Tatar language not to be found in Kazan, and so on. Over the course of many decades academic researchers from all over the world have worked with these collections. Following the breakup of the USSR, the relevance of new functions for the department become apparent. First, as the nationality communities in Saint Petersburg came to life, many people were drawn back to their own ethnic roots. The Department of Nationality Literatures serves, in its own way, as a national center for representatives of nationality communities. Second, the need to promote tolerance is important in Russia today. The Department brings into the public eye the cultural riches of diverse peoples and, in that way, promotes mutual understanding and tolerance. The results of a sociological study have been employed to determine the role of the Department in current changing sociocultural conditions.

The history of Bulgarian librarianship comprises a history of survival under change imposed by foreign rule. This chapter traces the historical development of Bulgarian libraries and LIS education through the lens of Bulgarian history. Part I presents an overview of Bulgarian history, focusing on four dramatic epochs. During Ottoman rule (1393–1878), Bulgarian libraries survived by hiding. The second epoch, European intervention, Russian, occurred under the Austro-Hungarian, and German rule (1878–1944). Bulgarian LIS survived by adopting European practices and the German academic model of library education. The third epoch, Soviet rule (1944–1989), saw a massive suppression of information, Bulgarian libraries survived by maintaining an undercurrent of dissent. The fourth epoch began in 1989 with the onset of democratic reforms. Bulgarian librarianship survived the financial crisis and anarchy of that epoch by adopting foreign practices and establishing partnerships with foreign library institutions. Part II describes agents of change acting within the Bulgarian LIS field during the radical change from Soviet to democratic rule. The change agents included the formation of a union, cooperation among Bulgarian libraries, and international cooperation with Western institutions.

Research for this chapter incorporated literature reviews, surveys of accredited Bulgarian LIS programs, interviews with Bulgarian and American LIS professionals, and bibliometric analysis of Bulgarian publications.

This chapter summarizes the library history of Hungary, with the main focus on the decades preceding the regime change in 1989. The country has been a member of the European Union since 2004. One of the consequences of joining the EU was that Hungary had to implement the three-tier system of higher education defined by the Bologna Declaration. This new system of library and information professional education and training that began in the 2006–2007 academic year is discussed in detail. The first students to begin their studies in the new, two-tier system of higher education will be awarded the BA degree in the first half of 2009. The best of them will be able to continue their studies at the MA level at one of the four universities that were approved for new MA programs in 2008.

This chapter presents a brief historical overview of Czech libraries and librarianship with special attention paid to the ways in which this history laid the foundations for present postcommunist developments. This is followed by a more detailed discussion of important changes in the wake of the “Velvet Revolution” from my perspective as library user and as active participant in the process of postcommunist change in the library world of the Czech Republic.

The chapter discusses the transformation of the functions Polish academic libraries fulfill. Once inaccessible for ordinary people, the libraries now have become real public libraries. However, their main problem is the lack of adequate staff. This prevents the libraries from acting as effective providers of “memory outsourcing.”

Social marketing is based on general marketing principles and strategies aimed at selling products and services to consumers with the purpose of changing an existing action; changing individual or group behavior, attitudes or beliefs; and reinforcing desired behaviors. The purpose of the study is to assess the acceptance of social marketing by librarians in post-Communist Romania within the context of this country's efforts to adopt democratic values into its social system. The study also uses the social marketing concept as an idea that requires change in attitudes and behaviors about the nature of librarianship. In so doing, it can be used as means of understanding the willingness of Romanian librarians to accept change. During the Communist regime, the librarians acted as tools that supported the dissemination of the totalitarian government's views. Fifteen years after the collapse of Communism they continue the struggle to implement principles of participatory management. However, visible changes in Romanian librarians’ mentalities, attitudes, and behaviors are still to come. A group of 74 librarians in attendance at a conference responded to a survey questionnaire based on the Social Marketing Scale (SMS) designed to determine the participants’ acceptance and willingness to support social marketing within their institutions. Results reveal that on the surface, social marketing was rejected by the sample group studied. The study suggests that, if social marketing is to play a role in Romanian librarianship, Romanian librarians must first accept the concept that libraries are important institutions and that libraries play a vital role in a democratic society. Once Romanian society begins to perceive the library as an information agency, knowledge and experience in social marketing must be gained so that the administrative and institutional will to pursue social marketing can be encouraged. Romanian libraries continue the process of redefining themselves within the country's transition to a civil society.

Developing countries in the former Soviet-bloc region have received little attention by Western researchers of libraries. This study attempts to broaden this limited knowledge concerning librarianship in Eastern Europe by offering some insight into the culture of Romanian libraries and the Romanian librarians’ readiness for change as they faced and continue to face the transition from an autocratic cultural and governmental system to a more open and democratic society with Romania's admission to the European Union as of 1 January 2007. The study uses “social marketing” as one means of ascertaining the degree to which Romanian librarians are willing to accept change.

The purpose of this chapter is to show how organizational change could be applied to local public libraries in a post-war country, in this case Kosovo. After decades under the communist system and a decade of conflict and political instability, Kosovo gained its independence in February 2008. Local libraries in Kosovo, fully developed under the previous communist system, almost collapsed in the post-communist period, which was characterized by conflicts that finally ended with the NATO bombing in 1999. They are now trying to catch up to western styles of work and development, trying to function within a region still governed by the UN, secured by NATO forces, and dealing with library users who have increased significantly their expectations of library services.

In this case study of the ecological programs of the Bryansk Regional Public Library System, I used qualitative research methods including observation, interviews, and archival research. I collected data from 2002 to 2007 with the bulk of the data gathered in the summer and fall of 2006. The libraries in Bryansk have been working with ecological information and education since the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 and started a systematic program of ecological education in 1995. The types of ecological education activities that the libraries engage in range from the more traditional library activities such as developing collections, hosting seminars, and working with partners to much more hand-on activities such as taking field trips to nature preserves with library users and actually cleaning up the local stream or planting trees. Through these activities, libraries have become active participants in the ecological community in Bryansk.

As more people become Internet users, the likelihood of free public Internet access at libraries or other institutions increases. However, demand alone does not drive governments to offer this public service. Governments in Eurasia face economic, reform, and freedom of information challenges. People in Eurasia face computer illiteracy, lack of affordable computers and Internet providers, missing relevant online content in their mother tongue in their local context, and disinterest in creating content or learning new technologies.

Today, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia have made the most progress in promoting the Internet as an information resource in the public sphere. Moldova, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan have made progress in some key areas, but government, political, market, economic, and geological impediments need to be addressed. Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have two of the lowest percentages of Internet users in the world, and they have barely begun to make the Internet a relevant public information resource.

The next generation of leaders (those currently below 25 years of age) and increased government support of access, training, and content will raise rates of Internet adoption. As this unfolds, a mixture of government reform in its support of libraries and donor support could improve libraries’ current abilities to meet the information needs of the citizens in Eurasia.

This chapter argues that including “studying up” (Nader, 1969), a close attention to elites and hierarchy, into the Library and Information Science (LIS) research agenda will strengthen the research the LIS community carries out on information behavior and use. Looking at issues that interest Nader, (i.e., the role class and inequity play in social life), this chapter reviews and critiques LIS user studies. The chapter then illustrates the value this approach can have for LIS researchers.

Fieldwork recently carried out in Maramureş, Romania, suggests that the cooption of science (both its authority and institutions) at local levels has helped the elite legitimatize and profit from cultural tourism as a development strategy. This research also suggests that the differential (elite) access to and use of information and knowledge especially when tied to local institutions and practices of science have been neglected in the analysis of change in post socialist states.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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