RESEARCH LIBRARY of Tomsk State University


13 April 2017
TSU Research Library - the only university library in Russia taking part in the «Russian-American Library Dialogue»

March 30-31st, 2017 in the city of Dayton, Ohio, USA, Charles Kettering Foundation welcomed the participants of the «Russian-American dialogue» with the subject «The role of libraries in civil society». Managing staff and leading experts from American and Russian libraries joined the dialogue.

The Russian side was represented by the Russian State Library, the All-Russian State Library for Foreign Literature n.a. M.I. Rudomino, regional scientific libraries of Bryansk and Novosibirsk, Public Library n.a. V. Mayakovsky (St. Petersburg), Bogolyubov Village Library (Vladimirskaya oblast), where a pilot project of the Ministry of Culture of Russia «Model standard of public library activities» was implemented in May 2016, as well as TSU Research Library, which became the sole representative of Russian university libraries at this meeting.

As for the American side, the representatives of the Public Library of Cincinnati (Ohio), Public Library of Houston (Texas), Clinton Presidential Library (Little Rock, Arkansas), California Library Systems, and a number of university libraries were among the participated in the dialogue. It is noteworthy that many of American librarians who came to talk with their Russian colleagues were the members of the American Library Association.

The meeting and the «Dialogue» was opened by David Mathews, Director of the Charles Kettering Foundation. According to him, this meeting was an important event for the collaboration of two countries in the sphere of culture and education. At a high level, negotiations are currently underway to make the «Russian-American dialogue» one of the sites of the Dartmouth Conference.

The participants discussed many issues related to strengthening the role of libraries as important social institutions in the 21st century. In particular, it was discussed how libraries can make life of their communities more active; what competencies librarians should have to turn their libraries into the centers of public and student life of the 21st century.

According to Svetlana Gorokhova, Head of International Cultural Center of Library of Foreign Literature, «throughout history people trust libraries more than any other institutions, and today libraries can rightfully rely on people’s trust while developing their success. Libraries of the future are not just book depositories, they are centers of social life that work not for their communities but together with them».

Mary Davis Fournier, Deputy Director of American Library Association, emphasized that people view library as a neutral ground for meetings and open discussions of sensitive

issues locally. ALA sees its main goal in developing the librarians’ competencies in the field of involving communities in constructive dialogue.

The dialogue between Russian and American experts went in a friendly climate. The participants pointed out that despite the differences in cultures American and Russian libraries have similar goals and such kind of international experience exchange is beneficial for the development of our profession in the 21st century.

The sides agreed to continue working together and possible coordinate holding the next session in Russia.

«The most interesting for us was the experience of American university libraries in researching information needs of the university community and searching for new forms of communication between a librarian, a student and a teacher. We succeeded not only in exchanging views on the topical issues of library transformations, but also in agreeing on specific joint steps towards networking» said Mikhail Shepel, Director of the TSU Research Library.

According to him, it is now primarily about organizing webinars with American colleagues from the American Library Association and Libraries Transforming Communities, as well as joint research and publications with representatives of American university libraries.