Public libraries in Turkey: A retrospective look and the present state

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JOURNAL OF LIBRARIANSHIP AND INFORMATION SCIENCE, vol.48, no.3, pp.298-309, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier


The present study offers an overview of the public library system in Turkey and evaluates the libraries from various aspects in the context of the past decade. Public libraries in Turkey are governed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. As of the end of 2013, there are 1118 public libraries in Turkey with more than one million registered users which is only 1.3% of the total population of the country. The total number of staff in the 1118 public libraries is approximately 3400, of which only 15% are graduates of librarianship programs. As regards collection size, it is observed that there has been a consistent increase in the number of books in public library collections. When considered together with the rate of increase in the total number of registered public library users, however, there has been a major decrease in the number of books per registered public library user in the past decade. The budget allocated for public libraries in Turkey has been consistently greater each year. The public libraries in Turkey offer their services in buildings that vary significantly in terms of architectural design. In general, public libraries in Turkey have been on a developing trend in recent years. On the other hand, the comparisons made in this study with other European countries suggest that there are a number of issues related to public libraries in Turkey that need to be improved.