National Library keeps Turkey’s memory alive

National Library keeps Turkey’s memory alive

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
National Library keeps Turkey’s memory alive

The National Library serves as something like the national memory of Turkey, on an area of 39,000 square meters. The photo right shows the cabin where volunteers read books for the visually impaired people.

The National Library (Milli Kütüphane), which was founded by Adnan Ötüken with only two books in its collection in 1946, is celebrating its 66th anniversary this year, with more than three million books now on its shelves.

The anniversary of the library was celebrated on April 6 with a special program organized at the National Library Headquarters Conference Hall, with the participation of Culture and Tourism Ministry Deputy Undersecretary, Şenay Başer and National Library officials.

After a video installation show, displaying the history of the library since its foundation, a selection of news articles about the library were presented.

Making a speech at the ceremony, the National Library President Tuncel Acar said that the adventure of the library was continuing, with a current international collection of more than three million publications. He said that they worked to enrich the “treasure” from the founder Ötüken and to present it to the service of the scientific world. He also provided information about the projects that the library conducted last year.

The National Library serves as something like the national memory of Turkey, on an area of 39,000 square meters. The building, composed of three blocks, comprises of management offices, reading halls for public and private usage, group study rooms, staff offices and work rooms for the fine arts.

There is also an exhibition room and two multi-purpose conference halls. Moreover, there are sections such as the Information Processing Center, Talking Bookshelf, the Atatürk Archives, the Book Pathology and Restoration Laboratory, the Microfilm Archive, a fully equipped Printing House and a laboratory of Microfilm and Photography.

One of the most recent projects to have been realized in the library was the establishment of a restoration laboratory, to restore and renew unique and old works that have been damaged.

A member of European Digital Library

Turkish publications from the web archive of the National Library are also being shared through the European Digital Library, thanks to the European Newspapers project.

The project, undertaken by the Berlin State Library and with the participation of 12 European countries, will digitalize centuries-old newspapers from Turkey, including many from the Ottoman period, which were written using the Arabic-based alphabet.

The system includes lots of articles, magazines and newspapers and all newspapers and magazines in the library’s collection have been digitalized for the project, which won the third prize in the “Public Service” awards of the Turkish Informatics Association in 2011.

The National Library has also already offered the pre-Republic period publications to researchers through the Periodical Publications Information Center. The system is appreciated by researchers, who are able to scan papers and also get visuals. The National Library protects manuscripts, which are among the most important pieces of cultural heritage, with very special methods. It keeps nearly 28,000 unique handwritten manuscripts in its depot.

The most important handwritten manuscripts are on display in the Manuscript Museum, while others are kept in the library’s depot.

Also, the library includes a digital record studio that consisting of five separate cabins that has been established to make the record and duplication processes for the visually impaired users. The books read by voluntary readers in the reading cabins are first recorded to the computer environment and then transferred to the CD.

The library is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., and has a working staff of 215 people.