Unusual recommendation to a book
On the occasion of the re-edition of a study from 1869 entitled “Közkönyvtáraink s az egy országos könyvtár” (Our public libraries and the one national library) by Károly Szász
Our public libraries and the one national library
In 1869 the author wrote three articles on librarianship in Hungary upon the request of József Eötvös, minister of religious affairs and education. The library of the academy of sciences, that of the university and of the (national) museum were the three most significant libraries of our library system at that time. They worked almost completely independently from one-another that lead to inconsistencies and gaps in collection development. It occurred for the government that a general, universal national library should be established.
Károly Szász pointed out that the lack of financial resources, and the unique character of the collections made the integration of the three libraries in a new building, as well as the unified processing and ordering of their material impossible. Financial resources were also lacking for the completion of the gaps of the three existing collections thus making all the three complete universal libraries. Considering resources and the peculiarities of the collections, the only solution could be to establish strong links among the three libraries, and develop their collection systematically and harmoniously. The museum (national) library is responsible primarily for being the Hungarian national library (collecting all the Hungarian works, or those concerning Hungary), the mission of the library of the academy is to support Hungarian science with literature, and by presenting domestic and foreign scientific achievements, while the university library, being the most encyclopaedic one in all disciplines serves mainly the lecturers and students of the university.
The three libraries, with their collection interests harmonised, lead by a national director general (with directors heading each library), and receiving three (plus one official) legal deposit copies as an enhancement to their acquisition would form together the one universal national library. The author has elaborated a well-defined collection profile, based on the traditions of collection development, so that they formed a universal collection together.
Examining the truth of the “habent sua fata libelli” in a collection of books on library science
The special collection of the Metropolitan Library in librarinaship was founded upon the initiative of the library director of the time, Ervin Szabó, in 1904. The successor of the institution, the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library, has decided a few years ago to donate a part of the special collection, consisting of about 1500 volumes, significant from the point of view of book history, to the Library Science Library of the National Széchényi Library. Hangodi has made a historical analysis of the books while processing them. She paid attention not only to the contents of the books but also to their outfit, binding, illustrations, notes, ex librises. What is more, their use could also be traced since their majority contained lending cardsas well.
Already the oldest foreign volumes from the 18th and 19th centuries have influenced contemporary Hungarian librarianship with their novelty or with their defects. Books borrowed or donated by outstanding Hungarian librarians, historians of writing, books or libraries or the ones who had become famous later (e.g. E. Szabó, B. Kőhalmi, L. Dienes, G. Sebestyén, B. Hamvas, V. Wessetzky, B. Kéki, Gy.Walleshausen, G. Borsa, I. Papp) give an insight into what they were dealing with, or give hints about the development of their ideas. Readings are related by the author of the writings of the historians mentioned.
This partial collection, giving a view of the early history of the Metropolitan Library being a sort of foggy even today, reflect mostly the development and composition of the collection, but it also contains interesting Hungarica unknown so long.
“Books for the masses!”
The foundation of the local public libraries of Fejér County at the beginning of the 1950s
In Fejér County the beginnings of library culture date back to the 19th century. Small library collections had developed well and permanently until World War 2., when most of them were destroyed. They started to grow again in the 1950s due to a decree of the Minster of Culture that facilitated the introduction of a system of library districts following foreign examples. District libraries functioned as central providing libraries within a geographical-economic district, and had a huge collection. It was the task of the central library to provide deposit libraries (so-called people’s libraries), just being formed, with books. The advantage of this solution was that with the centralisation of book provision, the continuous change of the deposit meant for borrowing was ensured. The Székesfehérvár District Library was opened in 1952 in Fejér County, that served 122 people’s libraries (deposits). The collections of deposits were kept in closed book shelves, and they did not count more than 150-500 volumes most of which were classical Hungarian prose, realist novels and Soviet technical literature. The primary aim of the establishment of people’s libraries was the „ideological development” of people. People’s libraries of the county were established in a variety of places (e.g. in stations, agricultural plants, and there was even a prison library). After the ceasing of district libraries, the county library had to supervise people’s libraries. As a consequence of the development, a people’s library had been working in all the major villages of the county by 1953, that grew into the public libraries of today, surviving ideological dictatorship.
About arts graduation through the eyes of a librarian
The decree on academic training in the field of arts, issued in July 2001, will be implemented in the 2002/2003 academic year. Institutions of higher education had to start preparing for this already this year. It is difficult, since requirements of teacher training harmonising with the credit regulations have not been elaborated yet, and the educational requirements of other specialities are also missing. The author reviews college and university level specialities, what the credits of the various specialities include, and pays special attention to the information specialist-librarian specialisation, pointing out the contradictions that needed the further elaboration of the decree. From the point of view of librarianship, it brought a change that the specialization was turned into information specialist-librarian training both at the university and at the college level. This specialisation may be combined with other subjects from among natural sciences in college training. In order to obtain a diploma, 180 credits have to be acquired on the college, and 240 credits on the university level during a minimum of 6 college or 8 university semesters respectively. As training usually involves two subjects, studies have to be written in both. However, credits, that can be acquired with thesis writing and practices, are out of proportion as compared to the quantity of all the credits. In fact, the student does not have to do anything in the last term, it is enough to write a thesis and prepare for the final exams. It is not fair that only those who will not become teachers, have to attend so-called general subjects (e.g. basics of natural sciences, informatics, library use, etc.), though librarians have been struggling for years to make or keep library use a compulsory subject, built into the curriculum. It would be reasonable to increase the credit level of non-teacher specialities in colleges, and to make general subjects attendable for would-be teachers as well.
Academic training of librarians, thoughts in the mirror of credit regulations and the training requirements of specialisations
The government decree 200/2000. will come into force on 1 September 2002, making the credit system compulsory in every academic training institution. This has an impact upon the educational requirements of diplomas or special certificates that can be acquired in institutions of academic training. The government decree regulating so-called training requirements has to be revised with the credit system in mind.
So long this has taken place only with respect to training in arts, and some social sciences. The present study examines the new regulation relating to the training of librarians
There have been remarkable changes from the point of view of would-be college and university students of librarianship. The name of the speciality as well as that of the graduation has been modified (information specialist librarian). Two specialities must be learnt in the first basic training phase. It is possible for the first time to take university and college specialities together. In the future, graduation will only be possible with an exam in some living language: a basic and a middle level exam at the university level, and a middle level type C exam at the college level. However, the new system has no regulations for all the fields so far, or the ones are not logical at all, therefore the article contains some suggestions. E.g. the number of credits to be acquired in the second or further basic training is given, but the credit value of the thesis, of practices or end exams is not given. There is an irrationally big difference between the credits required for the first and second basic training at the university level, that means that those taking part in the second basic training have to attend subjects (units) not belonging to the speciality.
The credit regulations state that the student has to be able to select his/her subjects from a choice the credit level of which extends the required credits for the speciality with at least 20%, and this has a negative impact on the credit value of compulsory units belonging to the speciality. According to the author, the credit level of optional college subjects should be reduced instead, since the college does not train researchers, therefore specialisation is of less importance.
An account of the winter conference of ALA. Part 2. (Part 1. in 2001. 1. pp. 102-113.)
The 2001. winter conference of ALA focused on digital information. There were reports richly founded by statistical data on digitisation, virtual libraries, “virtual reference desks” working in the cyber space, and the experiences of operational digital reference services. These are summarized by the author as the Hungarian participant of the conference.
The Russian State Library on the way to digitisation.
The TACIS and the OREL programmes
As a part of the 1997 modernisation plan, a proposal was elaborated in the Russian State Library for the mechanisation of the library, and the introduction of information technology. TACIS, the technical support project of the EU, provided financial and mental aid for 18 months at the start, with late Soviet states as their targets. As a part of the project the Aleph 500 software was installed, as well as 45 new computers. The place of a Sun server has been formed, softwares with Cyrillic characters were installed, Internet connection was established, basic concepts of management were introduced, and professional further training courses were held. The article describes the programme TACIS in detail, further it presents the most recent developmental project, called OREL (Open Russian Electronic Project) that aims at the realisation of a public digital library.
2001. Information science
(Abstr.: Mohor J.)
The twenty-year-old study (2001: Information science. In: New Library World, 1981. No. 967.) in a summary form in order to compare how the author imagined the world of librarians and information specialists at the millennium.