From law to law
SIPOS Anna Magdolna
Beside an analysis of the library legislation of Hungary in the past almost 50 years, a detailed description is given of its social, political and cultural background. The first law analysed is government decision number 204-3/1952 on the development of the Hungarian library system. It had introduced a unified system of supervision and administration, and declared, that county and district libraries had to be organised. (The library network followed the structure of administration just like in the Soviet Union.) The regulations that followed dealt with the details such as stock taking, personnel requirements, etc. Libraries used to serve daily politics in the first instance, and in many cases professional work was at a disadvantage. The next very impor tant regulation was issued in 1956. It was the merit of this law-decree that in order to create a unified library system, it had decided to set up networks, and made provisions for general and supervisory services. As overlapping networks had come into be ing, the library system also became more complex, and it created many difficulties that the 18 thousand libraries belonged under the authority of some 20 ministries or national authorities. The decree enhanced the development of professionalism, however, it had the disadvantage of centralising the library system too much. In 1976 another library act was passed together with its enacting clause, that was followed by yet another one in 1978 on the structure and functioning of the library system. Networks re mained the most important elements of the library system, but regional and subject co-operation was also emphasised. Its problem was that the maintainer had become responsible for general supervision, and that no clear measures were taken so far as the re sponsibility for the financial management of libraries was concerned. At the end of the 1980s, after the political change, the changing needs of users and the shift in the activity of libraries made legal alterations necessary as well. In 1992 a draft was made that had not become an act. However, in 1995 another working group was set up for the elaboration of the law, and the Parliament passed the cultural law number CXL. in December 1997, of which library laws were a part of. Only public library services belong under the scope of the act. The support of libraries was linked to the criteria of becoming public service institutions. The notion of “public” was rather difficult to define, and parts regarding scientific and special library provision are also contradictory in many respects.
Public library” – battle a’la Pécs anno 1976-1985
In the 1999/2. issues of Könyvtári Figyelő, several articles dealt with the history of the emergence and spread of the Anglo-Saxon public library model in Hungary (cf. the studies of Tibor Futala, Gyula Tóth, Miklós Fogararssy, István Sallai in the previ ous issue). In 1973 “Public library provision. Guidelines for long-term planning”, issued by the Centre for Library Science and Methodology of the National Széchényi Library, was considered a basic document, used by libraries when asking for greater suppo rt from their maintainers for development. The study of Pintér demonstrates a possible realisation of the theory by means of describing the situation of the Pécs Town Library in the seventies and eighties. The development of the Pécs Town Library and its network stopped, its collection got into poorer and poorer condition. The town council being the maintainer made a large scale supervision in the library in order to determine how far the situation matches the aims of library policy. The quotations taken from the report of the 1973 supervision drew a vivid picture of the cultural, political, professional situation of the time, as well as of the professional duties of the library. It is also obvious today, that relatively little of the plans of that time (building, enlarging) have been realised.
National Technical Information Centre and Library – the first ISO 9002 certified services built on a library in Hungary
In May 1999 auditors of TÜV Rhenland EUROQUA carried out a certification procedure in the National Technical Information Centre and Library and declared that the quality assurance system introduced in the four basic functions (library, information, techni cal-economic, editing, translation and publication) meets the provisions of the ISO 9002 standard. It can be said that the National Technical Information Centre and Library is the first non-profit, government budgeted institution in Hungary that has a cer tified quality assurance system so far as its library-based services are concerned.
Standards ISO 9001, 9002 and 9003 apply to production companies, but they have also been adapted to service institutions (standard ISO 9004-2). The National Technical Information Centre and Library has prepared with the aid of an external counselling company. Phases of the preparation were: survey of the state-of-the-art, scheduling; establishing the quality organisation; training; formulating the quality policy; creating the documentation system; implementing the system, its operation; internal auditing ; amendments; TÜV auditing, improvements; managerial decree; TÜV certification. The National Technical Information Centre and Library expects the certification to increase the trust and satisfaction of users; to ensure permanently high quality services; t o cease parallel work; easiness of supervision; change of attitude; and efficient operation through corrective measures.