Abstract

This paper takes a fresh look at the transformative events that marked the development of the library scene at the twenty-fifth anniversary of regime change in Romania. It examines their significance for the country’s postcommunist trajectories by linking the past, present, and future of library development. Libraries of all types have been affected in either a positive or negative way during the past twenty-five years. Currently, there is no strategy at the national level to coordinate library development or to establish priorities and directions for growth. Due to significant financial aid from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the public library sector has made significant progress, especially in the diversification of computer-based services offered to the communities they serve. Higher education has witnessed the advent of private universities, although oftentimes not endowed with adequate libraries. The public and academic library network has embraced the new information and communications technology. School libraries, although high in numbers, have remained anchored in the past, with a few exceptions. Many special libraries have disappeared, along with their parent institutions. Despite its moving into a modern edifice, the National Library of Romania is yet to identify its role, goals, mission, and vision for the information society. Two major library associations have elevated librarianship to a professional status, but they act independently of each other and their programs never intersect. Library legislation and other laws provide the legal framework for libraries, the publishing industry, and the information and communications field. Despite the progress reported by libraries, usage continues to remain very low. The public’s perception of libraries’ role in society has not yet crystallized. Insufficient funding prevents Romanian libraries from performing at the same parameters as their counterparts in economically developed countries.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 809-843
Launched on MUSE
2015-08-18
Open Access
No
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