1. General principles
1.1 Current situation
Improving the activity of libraries. Libraries play a significant role in the collection, protection, and conveying from generation to generation of the historical, cultural, artistic, scientific and philosophic heritage, as well as in the development of society's intellectual and moral potential and it is therefore of the utmost importance to make fundamental reforms in this field. These reforms should include the expansion of resources through information technology, the creation of electronic data banks, and the strengthening of material technical resources. Such improvements are the priority of the state cultural programme.
More than 40 million copies of different information carrriers and traditional documents are stored in the library network of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Several important documents related to the development of libraries were drafted in recent years. Books published using the latin alphabet version of the Azeri language (according to the list approved by orders of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan as ¹ 56 dated on 12 January 2004 "On realization of mass publishing in the latin alphabet version of the Azeri language" and ¹ 562 dated on 27 December 2004 "On confirmation of the list of works assigned to be published in the latin alphabet version of the Azeri language in 2005-2006") were distributed free of charge in all libraries of the country. The realization of activities for the development and modernization of the library-information sphere was also considered in several important documents such as; "State Programme on social-economic development of the regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan (2004-2008)", "Action Program on accelerating the socio-economic development of settlements of Baku", "State Programme on development of communication and information technologies in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2005-2008" (Electronic Azerbaijan), "Programme on providing the schools of general education of the Republic of Azerbaijan with information and communication technologies (2005-2007).
Events of the early 1990s badly affected library activities, completely paralyzing the system of book publishing and supply and resulting in a weakened material, technical infrastructure. All of this caused the decay of the library sphere. As a result, the libraries have lost their real and potential readers, a lot of libraries were closed, the majority of them being unable to meet readers' needs, and the number of staff was reduced. Book stocks of public libraries was reduced to 45, 3 million in 1990, 36, 9 million in 2002, 36,8 million in 2003 and in 2004 this indicator was 36,5 million. The main reason is the complete destruction of 9 Centralized Library Systems and 927 libraries as a result of the occupation of 20% of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan by Armenian military forces, depriving the libraries from the means to get new publications, and annihilation of books loosing their importance and becoming morally old.
There is a large library-information network in the Republic of Azerbaijan comprising of more than 12 thousand different libraries. This network includes not only public libraries, but also the libraries of scientific-technical, children, youth, musical schools and other cultural and educational institutions as well as the libraries of different organizations, including 6 libraries of state priority, 84 libraries and their branches in Baku, 72 city and district Centralized Library Systems (CLS). 9 district Centralized Library Systems consisting of 927 libraries and their branches, more than 4 million book stocks were destroyed in the territories of Azerbaijan occupied by armenian agressors.
The majority of valuable works concerning Azerbaijan studies were taken to the libraries of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and other cities' of Russia. It is very important to return the originals or at least copies of these works to the libraries of Azerbaijan.
There is a necessity to create an insurance fund for very significant documents and other publication works. These funds serve to prevent the complete destruction of publication products as a result of social and natural influences in different periods, and to preserve the nation's historical memory.
It is necessary to organize the Haydar Aliyev Library-Information Complex attaching it to the future Haydar Aliyev Center, as is the case in leading countries of the world (Pompidou in France, Kennedy, in Washington, USA).
90 percent of libraries attached to the library-information network in the Republic of Azerbaijan do not meet modern requirements. The majority of libraries are unfit for use. They are situated in subsidiary building.
Some village library branches are located in private houses. Due to the fact that 79.2 per cent of village and settlement library branches are rather small, it is impossible to organize reading halls. For this reason 66.8 per cent of people can't use the libraries. There is a serious necessity to provide the Mingechevir, Shaki, Naftalan, Sumgayit, Yevlakh, Shirvan city and Agjabadi, Astara, Beylagan, Barda, Gazakh, Gobustan, Zagatala, Yardimli, Lerik, Neftchala, Bilasuvar, Samukh, Khachmaz, Jalilabad, Ujar, Kurdamir and other regional libraries with new publications on different fields, to protect their funds, to make essential repairs of buildings, to provide with equipment, to automate the library-bibliographic processes.
On average there are 1-5 computers in the 29 institutions that belong to the library network of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and 14 libraries (0,19%) with internet access, however the internet is not consistent. Only 4 libraries (0,07%) of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism library network have begun to automate the library-bibliographic process. Notwithstanding the subordination, information provision is in low level in other libraries.
One of the main unresolved problems is the protection and restoration of library stocks. As restoration centers of book stocks have not yet been created, special publications are decaying and can not be protected in existing stocks. Copying new publications in latin graphics to electron carriers is one of the most important and urgent issues. Rare books stored in the funds and were not transferred to digital carriers. In this regard these books are used by a few number of scientists and researchers, readers. On the other hand rare books and rich publication examples are under danger, because of the reason that there storage conditions does not meet certain standards. These books are stored in the M.F.Akhundov Azerbaijan State Library, the Central Scientific Library of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, the Scientific Library of Baku State University, in the libraries of the National Archives Office and in other libraries. The activity of libraries in the field of international relations does not meet present-day requirements. The lack of national bibliography, national format, electronic library, collective catalogue, corporative library networks, doesn't allow for adequate representation in world information space.
The libraries, with the exception of the "Presidential Library" of the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, M.F Akhundov Azerbaijan National Library, the Central Scientific Library of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, the Scientific Library of Baku State University, the Library of the Central Body of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Library of Azerbaijan University of Languages, the Scientific library of "Khazar" University, the Library of Western University, the F.Kocharly Children's Library of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the libraries of Shamakhi region and Ganja city, do not have electronic catalogues.
The lack of a systematized, task-oriented and appropriate acquisition of library stock leads to a loss of readers benefiting from a constantly renewed flow of information and a decrease in people's interest in reading. The bookkeepers' situation (warmth, signal system, ventilation and etc.) in the Republic does not meet modern standards.
Insufficient material and technical resources, poor infrastructure and disruption, lack of necessary services and acquisition of library stock, poor level of professional training of workers, insufficient stocks of literature and periodicals, and the weakness of international relations are the main factors which hinder development of this field. All of this creates serious problems in people's information supply. "State Programme for development of library-information sphere in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008-2013" (hereinafter State Programme) is aimed to systematize resolution of existing problems in the library-information sphere.
1.2 Objectives and goals of State Programme
The main objective of the State Programme is to provide the realization of state policy in the field of library works, collection and protection of historical-cultural, literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic resources throughout the country and increase the possibilities of using them according to provisions "on Library works" made in Azerbaijan State Legislature and also in other proper legal acts.
Beside this, the objectives include; the creation of a modern library- information infrastructure through the application and use of new technologies in library-information sphere, reaching world standards in providing library-information service to users, the development of people's intellectual potential and knowledge and also the creation of the conditions for providing continuous education.
The implementation of the next goals is important for the realization of the above mentioned issues:
- modernization of the libraries acting in the country on the basis of national information policy, legal legislative acts and international standards;
- carrying out fundamental reforms, the guarantee of the integration of information resources, styding of international practice and organization of interdepartamental coordination;
- participation in the process of creation of an Azerbaijan model of the "Information society" and "Knowledge society";
- improvement of "author-publishing house-library-reader" mechanism and infrastructure, expresing the interests of the interesting parties, regulating book publication, distribution and fund acquisition;
- development of virtual libraries, establishment of electronic information funds, the utilization of the "Virtual library of Azerbaijan literature" by readers;
- provisions for the creation of electronic catalogues and libraries, modernization;
- establishment of a computerized library infrastructure, provision of libraries with modern information technologies;
- enrichment of library funds provision of there protection and security;
- the preparation of "Azerbaijan book monuments" state register, moving of national information resources to electron carriers;
- the improvement of the level of library-information service;
- the improvement of staff provision of the libraries, the organization of industrial study and improvement of professional skills system;
- the provision of a modern management system for the improvement of library-information work;
- the improvement of financial issues, the use of new economic relations providing for the effective use of resources;
- to bring the library-information management in line with modern economical relations and social-economical situation;
- to draw financial resources to library-information field, the development of new kinds of services and in particular their organization in the regions, the implementation of econimic activity in the libraries, the renewal and increase of quality of out-of-budgetincomes and outcomes, the determination of work incentives for librarians;
- increasing cooperation with International Library Association Federation, European National Library Union, USA Library Association, International Association of electronic library users and other organizations;
- stimulation of scientifical-research and scientifical-methodical activity in the field of library work, broadening of literature publication;
- repair of library buildings, construction of modern and new library buildings;
- working out of a new dislocation map of the library-information network of the Republic and taking of prompt actions in accordance with the libraries not responding to the modern needs;
- enlisting of states and donor organizations for project development directed at the modernization of the library-infomation network in Azerbaijan;
- Increasing scientific research on priority directions of the state policy in library-information field;
- improvement of the social status of libraries, strengthening of state care in library-information field, drawing attention of various social bodies and international organizations to this field.
1.3 Main directions of implementation of the State programme
In order to fulfill the duties considered in the State programme, measures are intended to be taken in the following directions:
- creation and development of modern acquisition mechanisms of library funds and provision with the means of modern technology carriers;
- creation and development of computer library-information network though the country;
- computer and information-programme maintenance of the libraries;
- protection of national tangible heritage and information reserves of the country and handing them out to future generations;
- enlargement of the scope of the library service, renewal of its form and content;
- improvement of the ruling structure of the library network,
- carrying out scientific research in the sphere of library work, preparation and publication of books;
- construction of new library buildings and strengthening of material-technical funds of these libraries proper to requirements of the present;
- development and enlargement of international relations of libraries and organization of international events;
- modernization of Azerbaijan National Library named after M.F.Axundov, its provision with modern information technologies.
1.4. Financial resources of the State Programme
Financial resources of the Programme are the following:
- dividends from the State budget and other sources not prohibited by the legislation.
1.5. Expected Results
Implementation of the measures indicated in the State Programme will facilitate reaching the following results:
- creation of complete acquisition mechanism of the funds of libraries acting in Azerbaijan with the traditional and modern information transmitters and continuation of this work systematically;
- organization of state insurance and untouchable funds of Azerbaijani book, consisting of the copies of especially valuable, rare and important books and documents;
- protection of national-intangible heritage of the republic, moving them to the electronic information transmitters, preparation of a state register of valuable and rare publications;
- making better preparations for emergency situations;
- promotion of Azerbaijan library resources in the world information systems and realization of international information exchange;
- improvement of library service for all levels of population, widening the scope of this service;
- improvement of library-information network within the frame of existing staff units;
- rationalization of allocations aimed at the the improvement of financing of the library system according to new economic relations;
- strengthening of material, technical funds of libraries acting in the republic and provision of the libraries with modern information technologies.