In the last two decades, Croatian libraries have been influenced by four key factors: 1) becoming an independent state with new sociopolitical and economic systems in the 1990s, during which time the state transformed from socialism to a democracy with a market economy; 2) reconstructing after the devastation brought by war; 3) developing information and communication technologies; and 4) experiencing the effects of a global economic crisis, the impact of which is still strongly evident throughout Croatia. The present state of libraries in Croatia indicates that the profession of librarianship and libraries are facing many problems. Yet, there is also a sign of the significant potential resulting from the long tradition of librarianship in Croatian history, and the relatively high level of library development that had occurred centuries prior to the process of transition brought by upheaval in the late twentieth century. During the postsocialist period, libraries in Croatia saw the continued evolution of a historical, legal, and normative library framework invested in librarianship as a service to the public, coupled with an increase in international networking, cooperation, and education. The rapid global advancement of information and communications technologies in the last decade of the twentieth century expedited the construction of the technological infrastructure necessary to building Croatian libraries, enabling their innovation. At the present time, the country’s libraries are characterized by a focus on the information needs of their patrons that is guided by the principle of freedom of access to information.


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pp. 675-696
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