Application for the post of director general of the National Széchényi Library
MONOK István

Scientific libraries have to find proper solutions to the questions arising from the changes of information technology, as well as for contradictions between theory and the professional environment generated by the development of librarianship, and for the handling of tensions between scientific work in libraries and services. The most important areas of library management are the following: improving the effectiveness of the internal information flow, making the strategic goals of the library public among the staff; changing attitudes in the use of information technology; reducing organisational segregation; making relations between the national library and other libraries and scientific institutions more active; improving the relationship between central bibliographic services and their users; supporting internal scientific activities e.g. regarding the library’s own collection; widening international co-operation into a Carpathian Forum.

Professional programme for the management of the National Széchényi Library

He builds on four factors when formulating the tasks of the national library: 1-2) on the founding document and the 200-year tradition of the national library (collecting hungarica, publishing the acquisitions – national bibliographic functions -, and public services), extended with modern professional requirements; 3) on UAP projects; tasks relating to archival and preservation functions; international interlending; participation in international professional organisations, maintaining services built on central catalogues; providing library-information services; assuming special library functions in the field of literary theory in Hungarian and in that of Hungarian history; library services for researchers and students); 4) meeting challenges of developing electronisation and informatics. Introducing the so-called ,controlling” system of budgeting instead of the former line-item budgeting (e.g. dividing the costs of work processes and tasks in time and according to type of cost). The budget received from the maintainer should be supplemented through applications, project financing, incomes, etc. Then the detailed ideas of the applicant concerning collection development, processing and national bibliographic functions; readers’ service; preservation; computerisation and digitisation; central services; the Library Institute; research and scientific activities; stock taking; personnel policy; exhibitions, events, public relations, and the building and environment of the national library can be read.

Professional programme for the management of the National Széchényi Library (1999-2004)

External factors determining the programme: professional changes, new technological developments, the necessity of working in networks (national and international co-operation), cost-effective economy and operation, motivating staff, participative management. Emphatic elements of the program: 1) Development, storage, preservation and processing of the national collection; 2l Use of the national collection; 3) National functions of the library; 4) Development of the infrastructure; 5) Scientific research, and relations; 6) National and international relations; 7) Organisation, economy and management. The applicant considers the elaboration of a long-term national library policy which is consistent in its content, and incorporates modern international trends to be the most important task.

Thoughts on the teaching of library management and quality management
BODA István – GOMBA Szabolcsné

In spring, 1999 a conference was held dealing with the problems of quality management at the Kecskemét County Library closing a three-year project supported by the British Council. It was this conference that motivated the authors in summing up the issues. Factors determining the quality of library services are the following: 1) Library management (goals, aims, strategy, organisational structure, leadership, control of work processes); 2) Library resources /personnel and finance/ (management, personnel, company morale, financial resources); 3) The library as a quality system (processes of quality control, the documentation system of the library); 4) Relationship with the users (the library image, personal relations). When introducing TQM the maturity of the library has to be taken into account. Libraries must stand on a defined level (should be documented, standardised, technologically developed, process-oriented) in order to obtain qualification according to ISO 9000, and are supposed to meet even higher requirements for TOM. 1-2 years are needed for introducing ISO quality requirements, and libraries have in most of the cases real chances to obtain this. Authors sum up the requirements of TQM, its supplementary principles, and offer a good survey of all these points.

Traditional tools and new possibilitles In the reference work of public libraries
GELLÉR Ferencné

Public library reference work is characterised by a duality these days: new electronic systems and tools gain more and more importance beside traditional printed documents. In practice this means that the need for searching databases available through the network has increased, however, searches may well be combined with searching in traditional printed sources. Libraries have to answer challenges of information technology, i.e, they must have proper infrastructure, trained personnel skilled in computer searching, as well as the resources necessary for maintaining the systems. Well co-ordinated co-operation among libraries is also indispensable. Training of qualified librarians working in the libraries of the future is also very important, therefore library education has a great responsibility. The importance of the professional further training of librarians has also been increasing. Preparing users for the handling of electronic tools by means of comprehensive training programmes is a new task.

Sole massage, Investment funds and Bánk bán
NAGY Attila – MOLNÁR Márta

It was decided already in 1994 at the meeting of the Readers’ Service section of the library Association that questions addressed to the readers’ service would be gathered for a week in 14 large libraries every second year in order to be able to follow changes in the questions of readers. The sampie included the National Széchényi Library and the Metropolitan Szabó Ervin Library beside public libraries. Among ether things the number of questions, the thematic division of questions, the occupation of those asking the questions, etc. was surveyed. It was a new feature of the surface that not only readers but also librarians were asked what sort of changes they feel in the habits of library use. The use of smaller, village libraries is constantly decreasing, while that of rich collections is increasing all the time. 75% of the questions come from students and teachers. As compared to data of 1996 the use of computerised databases has increased dramatically. Young readers like to use databases on their own, and even want to use them so much that they do not accept the use of traditional sources even though these would be better or would be good supplements to databases. CD-ROMs have also become very popular. Meanwhile a group of users requiring the aid of librarians in the use of computers has also emerged. There are more impatient, sometimes aggressive readers who drop in the library only to pick up some photocopies. libraries are not able to cope with alt the requirements generated by education due to the lack of resources. The range of reference questions include information on legal regulations, investment funds, and stock exchange data. The number of questions through the phone is also high, and so is that of interlibrary requests. Pure entertaining literature remains to be popular, while interest in quality literature, especially contemporary literature is decreasing. Readers’ service is undergoing changes In which librarians are expected to serve the users with increased empathy and a professional knowledge kept up-to-date.

Habent sua fata… The future of reading

There are less and less readers, especially among young people, and general culture also looses its importance as compared to highly marketable objects. Visual communication is often said to take the place of letters. The new man (sometimes called homo informaticus) gains his/her knowledge through the network, manages computers easily, is pragmatic, his/her vocabulary is basic, and has a reduced emotional life. Changes in reading habits among other things lead to the impoverishment of the vocabulary, the deterioration of reading comprehension, and that of expressive skills. Surfing/browsing in networked information requires superficial thinking in contrast to reading requiring concentration. The role of texts is taken over by images, and this is problematic, since images are incapable of carrying abstract ideas, they limit fantasy, and make the detection of visual manipulation more difficult. Globalisation and the internet are considered a dead-end of evolution, suggesting that the solution lies in finding proper proportions, and demystifying the media.

Retrospective conversion

The Social Science Section of the Association of Hungarian Librarians held a meeting in spring, 1999 entitled -Retroconversion: achievements and perspectives in libraries supported by the National Cultural Fund’. In 1995 the Fund invited applications from some major libraries for the input of 8000 records of foreign books into an on-line catalogue within a year. 2 million forints were offered as a support for participating libraries. At the meeting Gomba Szabolcsné was the first to talk about the essence of retroconversion, and to give an account of the retroconversion started at the Central library of the Kossuth Lajos University, Debrecen, then representatives of other participating libraries (e.g. that of the National Technical Information Centre and Library, the library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the National Pedagogical Library and Museum, the Metropolitan Szabó Ervin Library, the National Agricultural Library, the Library of the Budapest Technical University, the Library of the Budapest University of Economics, and the library of the Parliament) summarised their experiences.