„It was an excellent team!”
Forty years (1959-1999) of the Centre for Library Science and Methodology (CLSM)
Jubilee anniversary issue
How this publication was born
The Centre for Library Science and Methodology (CLSM) was established as a department of the National Széchényi Library in 1959 to carry out activities to the benefit of Hungarian librarianship as a whole. CLSM operated till 1999 under this name. It was followed by the Hungarian Library Institute which performs quite different tasks, intends to meet current requirements and has a safe legal status. The articles in this issue present the forty years of CLSM from its foundation to setting up the Hungarian Library Institute. They summarise the tasks of national importance performed by CLSM (development of the library system, management of education, documentation, acquisitions and reading research activities). The editorial describes the background of how this jubilee anniversary issue was prepared.
DIPPOLD, Péter: Introduction
The first director of the Hungarian Library Institute (2000-2005), the chief editor of this journal recommends this issue to the attention of readers.
PAPP, István: About the one-time CLSM (1969-1982)
István Papp (1931) headed CLSM in the period 1969-1982. His recollections contain both subjective and objective elements. He recalls operation in the ascending period of the 70’s (human factors, human relations, external circumstances, institutional and international contacts, political environment, workplace atmosphere, dilemmas of leaders), and presents the social and cultural conditions in which CLSM acted as an independent department of the national library, and at the same time, as an advisory body to the Ministry of Culture. He summarises the activities of CLSM by evoking its main tasks (education and further education, professional guidelines, documentation of library science, the social relations of libraries, support to collection building, public libraries, reading research etc.).
SZENTE, Ferenc: Late confession about the past of CLSM
Ferenc Szente (1933) was a staff member of the Centre from 1960. He took over in 1982 as head of CLSM from the resigning previous director, and managed the institution until 1993 through the period of the change of the political system. In his recollections he focuses on the second half of the 1980’s. In this period the financial situation of the country and of its cultural institutions deteriorated to a critical level, the opportunities for computerisation appeared, and the national library moved into the Buda Castle which involved organisational and other changes for the institution. This period was at the same time characterised by political and cultural changes associated with the change of the political system, to which CLSM had to react as well in its activities.
GYŐRI, Erzsébet: The last years
Erzsébet Győri (1936) acted as deputy director of CLSM in parallel with being head of its Collection development department (1989-1993), and in a next cycle (1993-2000) as CLSM’s director-in-charge. Under her leadership the works on legal regulations for Hungarian librarianship have strengthened: the new library law was born, and so was the law on the Hungarian Library Institute.
BARTOS, Éva: What has remained…
The fifth decade in the history of CLSM
Éva Bartos (1946), the current director of HLI (former staff member of CLSM) sets out her thoughts about the role of the predecessor in forming Hungarian librarianship, and about its legacy as continued by the Hungarian Library Institute.
KÉGLI, Ferenc: „It was an excellent team!” About CLSM: its concept, operation conditions, organizational structure, staff
CLSM, a new organisation unit established as department no. V. of the National Széchényi Library on January 1, 1959 was created by a ministerial decree. The tasks of CLSM included the preparation of library-political studies and of decision-making materials, research into and documentation of library science, development of the library system, methodological work and professional further education. Initially the activities were carried out by three sections, later, however, as a result of new tasks, there were times with even seven sections.
The author provides an overview of former institutions with nationwide tasks, introduces the library centres organised in the 1950’s with similar tasks abroad, and outlines the new institution’s concept of operation. The life cycles, organisational and functional frameworks of the institution have developed continuously and reflected the changes in the social, political and cultural life. The staff members of CLSM worked as an excellent team, they followed similar ideals, had a solid erudition in the humanities, social sciences and technology respectively, and acted in cohesion. Many of them were well-known also in other fields (such as literature, music, architecture, philosophy).
HANGODI, Ágnes: The educational activity of CLSM
Education has belonged to the fundamental tasks of the institution from the very beginning. This activity concerned basic, secondary and higher professional, as well as further education. As first, the essay describes the first era of secondary education and basic education (for voluntary and part-time librarians). It presents the education started for library technicians and further developed in the 1980’s (for the so-called library assistants). The sub-chapter „The first period of further education” deals with courses for children’s librarians, specialists of classification and the staff in various library fields. In the sub-chapter „The concepts and implementation forms of further education” there is an overview of subjects and of the wide scope of teachers. Finally, the essay finishes with the sub-chapter entitled The decree on specialised education for various jobs and its consequences (17/1990.(XII.20.)MKM) which describes the tasks of professional training delegated to CLSM.
FEHÉR, Miklós: The role of CLSM in the operation of libraries and library systems
„The Centre for Library Science and Methodology has performed an essential role in Hungarian librarianship, its myth is still with us, and its intellectual affect is still to be felt looking back today” – the author writes in his introduction. The essay focuses on the role of CLSM in developing library systems, and provides details on the operation of CLSM subdivided as follows: the image of libraries as represented by CLSM, its transmission (open shelves, education, information, free access); the role of CLSM in managing system-related challenges (the models of library supply in counties; multiple functions. professional advice; co-ordination); the role of CLSM in Hungarian librarianship (activities related to legal regulations; role in further education; organisation development; organisational culture; management knowledge); the role in system control; national statistics; professional supervision (standardisation, management of UDC, surveys; and changes in the role of CLSM.
POGÁNY, György: The special library, documentation and bibliographic activities of CLSM
Documentation of library science belongs to the main tasks of CLSM. The essay starts with the beginnings of library science-related bibliographic work in Hungary, and continues with a review of its institutionalisation after 1945, the creation of documentation centres in various branches, and the evolution of library science documentation. It was the rich collection of the special library for library science that served as a basis for the documentation of international literature on the subject. There was a large-scale plan to compile a joint „world bibliography” of library science which could not be realised. Nevertheless, several documentation publications came into being (Quick information on Hungarian and international literature, and its successor, the Special bibliography on the Hungarian literature of library science, later the abstracting journal entitled The special literature of library science and documentation, as well as the English-language abstracting journal entitled Hungarian Library and Information Science Abstracts, and its Russian-language counterpart, VELBI. A list of subject headings in library science and information was elaborated and the journal Könyvtári Figyelő was modernised. By the end of the 1980’s the computerised database MANCI (of Hungarian and international articles) was born. In the years around the change of the political system new information publications were edited (Pocket book of librarians, Hungarian Library directory, and the monographic series of the journal Könyvtári Figyelő). Today the computerised processing of articles and essays is implemented in the HUMANUS database. The author facilitates the overview of the transformation of the major documentation publications by providing a table.
BARTÓK, Györgyi: The history of New Books – as a chronology. Collection development and acquisition advisory activities in CLSM
The acquisition aid entitled New Books was edited by the literature promotion group of CLSM from October 1964, and it was published and distributed by the Library Supply Company. It was the aim of the issues appearing every two weeks to assist the acquisition work of public libraries by recommending books getting into bookshops with annotations and a qualification from the point of library acquisitions.
The essay describes the development stages of the publication. It also tackles the associated publications (e.g. about audio materials, specialised books, reading materials for minorities). In addition to editing this publication the department in question compiled lists of core materials, also in special fields, and provided assistance to the local history and bibliographic work of libraries. In 2003 the Library Supply Agency took over the editorial works, and the former staff members of the department continue to assist libraries with other practical activities (e.g. acquisitions portal, central registries).
PÉTERFI, Rita: An intellectual workshop in the service of reading. History of reading research in CLSM
The essay presents the role of the Reading research department based on interviews with its past staff members (Ferenc Gereben, István Kamarás, Sándor Katsányi, Attila Nagy, Ferenc Vidra Szabó), as well as on relevant publications. The potential lines of sociological research have been elaborated by a young faculty member of Eötvös Loránd University, Iván Szelényi in 1968. The activities had four main directions from the beginning: research into the reading, culture and library use of society as a whole or of different social strata; field work applying sociographical methods (and related to a given community and/or its library); surveys related to library use and reading, and to schools and pedagogical processes; research into the reception of works of belles-lettres, into the structure of literary taste.
VAJDA, Kornél: Opinions about CLSM (A summary)
Memories of Attila ARATÓ, Miklós BÉNYEI, György GYURIS, Mária ROMÁN, Gyula TÓTH, Béla VARGA
Kornél Vajda, as a senior staff member of CLSM and the past editor-in-chief of the journal Könyv, Könyvtár, Könyvtáros knew well the public opinion regarding the work of CLSM. His summary contains generalising but substantial statements which are complemented by the memories of specialists, mostly former library directors, who had been in close contact with CLSM in the past. The colleagues having answered the letter of editors are the following ones: Attila Arató (1930) from the Hajdú-Bihar county library, György Gyuris (1940) from the Szeged county library, Mária Román (1929) from the Baranya county library, Béla Varga (1930) from the Veszprém county library – they were in close contact with CLSM as library directors. They are joined by Miklós Bényei (1943) from Debrecen
The history of CLSM as a chronology. Compiled by Ágnes RÁCZ
The chronology includes the most important events of the period 1959 to 2000. The selection provides a comprehensive overview of the variety of activities of CLSM. The full version of the chronology is to be found on the webpage of the journal.
The staff of CLSM. Compiled by Ágnes RÁCZ and Ferenc KÉGLI
The alphabetical list contains the former employees of CLSM, indicating the period they spent in CLSM and their functions. (This list is published in the electronic version of the journal only.)