Against the relatively favorable background of development in the sphere of cultural heritage, the situation for libraries and archives is completely inadequate. The present system includes 824 libraries and their number is decreasing day by day (in comparison, in the Soviet period, the number of operating libraries was about 8 000).
Table #2: Public and universal libraries in Georgia, 2001-2008
|Public and universal |
libraries (in units)
|2 170||2 160||2 123||2 090||2 056||1726||672||824|
|Quantity of readers|
|2 311.3||1 625.9||1 421.3||1 528.9||1 556.1||732.1||—||778.3|
|Average quantity of readers (per library)||1 065.1||752.7||669.5||731.5||761.7||424.2||—||945|
|Quantity of copies |
|Quantity of workers |
|4 278||4 044||3 819||3 730||3 727||3 408||N/A||N/A|
Note: Not including the data on Adjara Autonomous Republic.
Since 2009, the information about libraries has no longer been available from administrative sources.
Most of the libraries in Georgia are accountable to the local authorities. School libraries (2 100 units) are accountable to the Ministry of Education and Science. The financing of the library sphere is the weakest and the librarian’s salary is one of the lowest nationwide. This has resulted in the outflow of personnel and complicates the inflow of new high-skilled workers.
The National Library conducted library, bibliographic and scientific-research activities; centralized the collection and analyzed statistical data; aids state protection in the field of libraries; identified policy for training-retraining appropriate human resources; and extended the electronic library and diversified the proposed services.
The preservation of archival cultural heritage is vested in the National Book Chamber, which holds more than 1 600 000 titles. The Chamber’s role is to prepare the national bibliography and to store, in the archives, all editions dedicated to the culture, history and achievements of Georgia.
The National Archive Fund, which was established for the extended use and improvement of the centralized register of documents created by the state authorities, is also engaged in the protection of cultural heritage (the State Department of Archives under the Ministry of Justice).
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), `Chapter III: Sector-specific Task Libraries and Archives, aims to:
- Improve the legal and administrative regulation of libraries, design standards and certification guidelines of the post of librarian; enforce coordination between stakeholders and designate involved responsibilities;
- Facilitate the growth of library collections and service improvements, support the introduction and application of innovative approaches and new technologies (e.g. mobile libraries);
- Support libraries in the digitization of their collections and archive materials, in the development of e-libraries, which shall allow an increase in public access to more literature and shall facilitate the transformation of libraries into on-line learning centres;
- Develop libraries into multifunctional institutions in collaboration with different stakeholders (e.g., the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia, the Service Development Agency, the Administration of the President of Georgia, municipalities, the Association of Libraries, etc.), in order to ensure that libraries, along with traditional functions, respond to current challenges by providing opportunities for learning, education, socializing and improve accessibility to public services;
- Support libraries in designing programmes for the development of reading habits and promotion of literacy, in order to develop a more educated public;
- Establish an integrated reserve of various types of national literature and intellectual material (manuscripts, music records and music scores, etc.) and ensure public access to these materials;
- Support archives in digitizing their collections and materials, and in developing other measures in order to safeguard, protect cultural property and to increase public access;
- Encourage growing collaboration between archives, public, educational, research and other organizations, implement joint projects and events for raising awareness about cultural property and materials reserved in archives and for encouraging their application in practice.
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