By Nazrin Gadimova
ADA University hosted the 1st International Library and Information Science Conference on April 1.
The conference was called "Exploring Best Practices in Library and Information Science".
The participants were welcomed by Rector of the ADA University Hafiz Pashayev, Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev, Provost of the ADA University Patrick Quinn, and Dean of the Library and Information Services Martha A. Speirs.
Opening the event with introductory remarks, Hafiz Pashayev spoke about the importance of librarianship, noting that the establishment of the university also started with the library.
"When we were thinking about building a campus for the University, the first central point was the library," he said.
He said the basis of each institution is the library, emphasizing the need to give greater attention to librarianship.
Speaking at the event, Abulfas Garayev raised the issue of the current state of libraries.
The minister emphasized the successful implementation of state programs related to the development of the librarianship for the period of 2008-2013, adding that the country is preparing a new state program for the development of this area.
Garayev said modern technologies have influenced the work of libraries.
Addressing the event, Martha A. Speirs mentioned the importance of the conference, saying, "This conference is groundbreaking in that we are bringing together a large segment of the local library community to discuss best international practices with their counterparts from international institutions in order to formulate new solutions for consistent challenges that we are experiencing."
"This is a first step on the way to building a strong and growing information society in Azerbaijan and the region," Speirs added.
Patrick Quinn, the next speaker, also noted the increasing importance of libraries.
UK Aberystwuth University's Library Services' Director Julie Hart, Nazarbayev University Library's General Manager Jim Agee, and Tbilisi State University National Scientific Library's Director Irakli Garibashvili also participated in the conference.
Speaking on the second day of the conference, Head of the library sector of Azerbaijan's Culture and Tourism Ministry Latifa Mammadova emphasized the importance of the "State Program for the Development of Library and Information Fields of Azerbaijan for the 2008-2012", approved by the order of President Aliyev in 2008.
She said the program stimulated the development of this sector and increased libraries' activities.
Mammadova also spoke about the activities and structure of Azerbaijan's National Library and Azlibnet Informational Center, emphasizing the role of the "Virtual Library of the Azerbaijani Literature" section on the www.azlibnet.azhttp://www.azlibnet.az/> web site.
"We live in an age of high technology," she said, adding that interaction between the library and the internet is growing on a daily basis.
Professor at the University of Mississippi Gregory Hayworth, in turn, emphasized the role of manuscripts in studying the history and culture of different people.
The two-day conference brought together experts from the U.S., Kazakhstan, Georgia, and other countries and will cover topics such as information service in modern libraries, directing education and research in the right destination, digital sciences, and digitalizing libraries.