According to the cultural correspondent of Tasnim News Agency , it may be surprising in the first place to hear the memoirs of Baha'uddin Khorramshahi who said, "Mr. Kamran Fani and I went to the library after a few semesters of medicine." Perhaps the minds of our current two or four quarters will not allow anyone to leave a field like medicine and spend their lives in librarianship and libraries; A job that in the first place seems to be a student who has taken refuge in a bad accident. But reflection on the experience of mortals like Khorramshahi can shed light on the role and influence of a librarian and library in the culture of society.
Libraries are the gateways to human entry into the world of knowledge, among which, according to public library experts, have an undeniable role in the cultural development and promotion of knowledge; As they are referred to as one of the main tools in this direction.
Today, public libraries have moved away from their past function of simply lending resources to visitors and are trying to increase their influence as one of the main components and tools in cultural development by creating new contexts. Free access to resources, creating new platforms for providing library resources such as using digital publishing capacities, communicating with clients and providing better services by planning and designing new programs are some of the solutions that have led libraries to move away from their traditional way over the past decades. Take it and open a new world in front of your audience.
Over the past few decades, public libraries in European countries have been able to play a decisive role in cultural and social development in different regions by focusing on education and needs assessment in different regions. The increase in per capita reading on the one hand and the promotion of the cultural level of the target community on the other hand, has led to libraries being considered as a dynamic institution in European countries; Centers that reduce social anomalies and increase public awareness by considering different audiences from immigrants to audiences of different ages. According to this experience and function, the international virtual conference of Jean Monnet project entitled "The role of public libraries in the social, economic, and cultural development of Iran with emphasis on the experiences of European countries" will be held on May 19, 1400 at Allameh Tabatabai University.
Glensa Glynini Moghaddam, a PhD graduate in Information Science and Science from the University of Missouri and a faculty member at Allameh Tabatabai University, is the scientific secretary of the conference. In an interview with Tasnim, he spoke about the capacities and obstacles of Iran's public libraries in the development path. You can read the detailed conversation of this university professor with Tasnim below:
* Tasnim : This year's conference has been selected with the theme and focus of "The role of public libraries in the social, economic, and cultural development of Iran with an emphasis on the experiences of European countries." Given that part of the theme of the conference is the role of public libraries in cultural development in Europe, please explain a bit about this topic. In your opinion, what is the share of such libraries in the development of EU countries and what was the role of these centers in this regard?
This conference is in line with the commitments of an international project, so its title should be in line with that project. In 2019, we won the grant of an international project in the European Commission in the Jean Monnet section, and this project is still ongoing in cooperation with the European Union. The title of this international project is "Applying the EU Experiences in Iran's Public Libraries" and one of our commitments in this project was to hold an international conference to share the results of this project on a large scale, as well as the experience of other countries as much as possible. Iran to be transferred. In addition, the experience of Iranian librarians should be shared with their foreign colleagues.
But in answer to this question, I must say that public libraries have played a great role in the cultural development of Europe. Europeans have so far used the potential of public libraries to improve the quality of life of the people. They consider the public library as a social institution to be very effective in improving people's lives culturally, and they have many plans in this regard.
* Tasnim: How much capacity of libraries to participate in this development? What are the shortcomings and deficiencies in this field ?
Iranian libraries have a very high capacity. Only in the public libraries of the country, which is a government institution and the entire public libraries of the country are managed under it, we have more than two thousand and 200 public libraries in Iran, each of which can potentially strengthen the culture of society not only Be very influential in cultural issues but also in economic, social and other issues. In other words, the same potential that exists in European libraries also exists in Iranian libraries.
Public libraries can greatly contribute to the quality of life of the people, although we face many problems in Iran. We are conducting research in this project that will assess the situation of applying European experiences in Iran. Our question is, to what extent can the activities carried out in European public libraries be localized in Iran? We are conducting a survey of librarians across the country and will publish these results soon.
The limitations raised so far by Iranian librarians are the lack of sufficient funding or access to sufficient financial resources to carry out the activities of libraries, as well as the cumbersome administrative rules that slow things down a lot; Otherwise, Iranian librarians were very creative and did very good work in different cities, and if they have more independence, they can help the development of the country.
* Tasnim: Iran To what extent is associated with these experiences?
Libraries in Iran have done a lot of work. The programs that Europeans offer are based on their own values; That is, it is based on the democratic values of the European Union; This means that they consider the principles of equality and the principle of free access to information. Their goal is to improve people's quality of life. They have programs for their libraries in this regard. In Iran, the goals are not exactly in line with Europe, in Iran, there are grand plans in the country's major documents, and the role of libraries in development has been considered. But in practice, this issue has been less addressed in Iran. That is, our documents and policies are good; But in terms of performance and performance that we see, libraries have not been able to play as much as they should and perhaps in the development of the country, although they have the ability to do so.
* Tasnim: Results of the project in public libraries in the development of the social, economic, cultural and European countries How have you been?
What we have seen is that there is a great deal of diversity in European public libraries, and European countries that are members of the European Union have followed EU programs. Macro-policymaking is usually done in the European Union. For example, the lifelong learning program was welcomed by most libraries, and in addition, various countries in the social, economic and educational fields implement many programs in the public library.
Administratively and organizationally, we also saw a lot of diversity in Europe. Some countries were centralized. But in general, what I can say is that the difference between Iran and Europe has been decentralization. European countries tend to decentralize and delegate responsibility for public libraries to local institutions, arguing that the greater the independence of the public library, the greater its impact.
* Tasnim: the attractiveness of public libraries in Iran, how can we develop?
Public libraries in Iran need independence the most, in terms of management and programs that they can do specifically according to the needs of each region. If public libraries are given enough independence - depending on the situation in which they are located - for example, to take action and leave their hands open, for example, geographically, indigenously and demographically.
On the other hand, it is necessary to provide sufficient funding from the country's libraries. This way, great work can be done and libraries can play a role. As if we are seeing very successful examples. There are many public library activities in Iran and the problem is that these activities are not seen at all and are not reflected internationally. No one really thinks that Iran has so many active public libraries and librarians and so many activities in public libraries. None of these activities are seen and when they are not seen, they are not known. Iran has very good potential and can use these potentials much more optimally.
* Tasnim: Who are the speakers at the conference which countries are attending the conference?
We have accepted 16 papers for the conference. We have invited very key, important and influential people in the field of public library in Iran. We invited the Secretary General of the Foundation, Mr. Mokhtarpour, and we have also tried to invite people from other provinces who are involved and have worked in the field of public libraries. We have six foreign guests; Of course, we had eight foreign guests and even more, but some of our guests got into trouble and could not deliver their articles to us in time. However, six of the guests sent us their papers and will speak on the day of the conference.
We have guests from Norway, USA, France and India who present their papers on the day of the conference and share the experience of their countries in this conference.
My recommendation is that the activities carried out in Iran's public libraries be more reflective and have a stronger and better reflection at the international level. The point that I realized in this conference was that due to our short time and the fact that we had the Eid holiday and also during the holy month of Ramadan, the situation was such that we did not have enough time to receive the article, but still so much The research potential in Iran is high, and I was really surprised to receive so many articles, and this shows how much work is being done in the field of public library, how young we are, and how high our country's research capacity is. Unfortunately, this capacity is not used.
Another point is that these capacities are not seen at all and are not reflected at the international level. My advice is to have more librarians, more libraries, and more international connections.
In the EU, the libraries we contacted were very interested in sharing their experiences with us, and this could improve the quality of our work in Iranian public libraries.
What we could not do in the framework of this project was the issue of traveling to German public libraries, where we were supposed to take 10 Iranian students, professors and people who worked in the library institution to Germany with the financial support of the European Union, and from three Visit the library in three different cities in Germany and finally provide the Iranians with experiences. We were also supposed to have six foreign guests from Europe to travel to Iran and visit Iranian public libraries. We had three public libraries in three different cities for Europeans to visit. These were on our proposal and the European Union approved them and paid for them, but unfortunately we could not make these trips due to the coronary conditions. First we postponed the trips and then we negotiated with our colleagues in Germany. It was about February and we checked the possibility of traveling and saw that it is not possible at all. They said that our libraries are closed and such trips are not possible, and unfortunately we had to cancel these trips. If it were not for Corona and if the conditions were normal we could have made these trips and they could have traveled to Iran, then the impact of our project would have been far greater than the corona situation. This was also part of the program, but unfortunately we could not run this part of the program properly because of Corona. But we did the rest of the project. This was also part of the program, but unfortunately we could not run this part of the program properly because of Corona. But we did the rest of the project. This was also part of the program, but unfortunately we could not run this part of the program properly because of Corona. But we did the rest of the project.
The conference will be held on May 19, 2014, equal to May 19, 2021, online from 8:30 AM to 5 PM in the virtual forum of Allameh Tabatabai University in the Skyroom.