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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995


Dr. H. Ünci Önal, Hacettepe University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Library Science


With scientific and technological developments necessitating a complete reorganization of the educational system, Turkey is seeking new ways whereby to revise its system to meet emerging needs. Schoo l libraries play a vital role in supporting the curriculum in developing countries such as in Turkey where the Turkish Education System is in the process of reorganization. The aim of this paper is t o offer an in - depth profile of school libraries in Turkey and to provide a clear insight into local factors which affect the implementation of efficient school library services. Survey method was u sed in this research and several authorities were interviewed, ranging from the administrators in the Ministry of National Education to the directors of the school libraries. Finally, the paper makes some recommendations that could further enhance the provision and development of school library services and prepare them for the future.


The Future Roles and Functions of the School Libraries: A Project for Turkish School Libraries

Increase in information and knowledge as a result of contemporary developments everywhere is behind the process of rapid change. Nowadays, people do not confine their knowledge to what they have been exposed to in schools but strive to learn more and more. As a result, school libraries emerged everywhere for those who make learning a lifelong habit.


During the Ottoman period school libraries were incorporated in waqf, an institution that was behind all philanthropic movements within a given community. Although the relationship between education and library was well-established, the emergence of libraries within primary and secondary education institutions were somehow delayed until well into the 19 th century(1). The reorga nization of school libraries within the Turkish Educational System has assumed greater impetus.

This paper aims to:

  1. look at the state - of - the - art of Turkish school libraries;

  2. determine expectations of society from school libraries;

  3. make suggestions with regards to the future of school libraries in the context of international cooperation.

We interviewed several authorities ranging from the administrators in the Ministry of National Education to the directors of the school libraries. Based on our investigation, we came up with a propos al to improve the school library services in Turkey. In this paper, we briefly review the school libraries within the context of the Turkish Educational System and summarize the existing plans and pr ojects of the Ministry of National Education. We then make some conclusions and recommendations concerning the future of school libraries.

School Libraries in the Turkish Educational System

The first law with regards to the Turkish Educational System was the Law of the Unitarian of Education enacted in 1924. In 1973(2), based on the same law, the Turkish Educational Sys tem has been completely reorganized and reformulated through the Fundamental Law of the National Education, which was later amended in 1983(3).

Cirricula for primary and secondary education were first devised in 1924. The types and functions of school libraries were mentioned in the primary school curriculum prepared in 1936(4)< /a>. In current curricula and programmes, the use of information resources concerning each subject - matter is mentioned. Yet the roles and functions of school libraries are not emphasized.

Decisions have been taken since 1939 at the National Education Councils on contemporary applications in this field, voiced and formulated as recommendations. During the seventh meeting of the Nationa l Education Council in 1962, modern school libraries were for the first time conceived of and planned(5). In later years elective courses were introduced in secondary school curricul a for library use and orientation. In 1982, decision was taken to train and educate school librarians(6). At the Youth Council in 1988, a suggestion was made to set up libraries and to spread them to all corners of the country for the benefit of young students(7).

From 1963 onwards, all five yeas development plans have contributed to the spread of school libraries.

School library regulations concerning subject-matter, such as studies, reseach and extensive pertinent reading in primary and secondary schools, were first published in 1959(8) and t hen revised and amended in 1976(9).

The Section of School Libraries responsible for all school libraries in Turkey was created in 1981 within the organizational set-up of the Ministry of National Education to provide school libraries w ith reading materials, to make them effective in schools where they are housed and to help them to get organized by new library techniques. Since then, professional training and education of those ru nning these libraries have been the responsibility of the Section of School Libraries, the Department of In-Service Training and the school library specialists within the Ministry of National Educati on.

Expectations From School Libraries in Turkey

The population explosion coupled with the ever increasing numbers of school age children as well as the general public are forcing governments to augment the number of school libraries. Since the dec laration of the Turkish Republic in 1923 the number of formal and non-formal educational institutions at all levels has increased from 5142 to 75 200, and that of students from 362 428 to 14 275 281 by the beginning of 1995(10).

Today, every school in Turkey has a library and we aim to match this quantity with the required quality and functionality expected of school libraries. In the near future we expect, among of this, to :

  1. spread modern libraries run by specialist / librarians with budgets of their own, well equipped in a wide range of information resources with sufficient space made available to users;

  2. pass statutes to provide legal rules for school libraries;

  3. provide social support;

  4. support the research and training in school librarianship.

Based on our previous studies(11,12), we propose to implement "An Information Network Model for School Libraries" and "A School Library Model". These models are prepared to be in line with the organizational set-up of the Turkish Ministry of National Education and the Ministry is willing to support our proposal.

With this in mind, the Ministry of National Education prepared some projects and plans to:

  1. introduce computers into school libraries;

  2. enrich computer - supported education;

  3. meet the information needs of users through various information resources;

  4. spread the use of INTERNET in schools;

  5. get access to information resources not only within the country but in the whole world and to exchange information with these institutions.

Going through a process of development and modernization, Turkey is alert to changes and novelties throughout the world and is striving to follow such novelties in the production and use of technolog y.

Conclusions and Suggestions

Manpower, training and education of people is a priority in our contemporary society as it has been the case throughout the history. A study of our national plans and their implementations concludes as follows: school libraries have a place in the learning process throughout a child's life until he/she reaches adulthood in order to acquire the knowledge and to establish a lifelong practice of in tercommunication. Although of prime importance in the educational system and its establishments, the school librarianship has yet a long way to go in Turkey, and is not without its problems.

For school libraries, aiming to use modern facilities and advanced technology both at present and in the years to come, we propose the following:

  1. Every country should assess in a rational way all her expectations from school libraries, giving priorities to determining problems that are likely to beset progress and they should devise realis tic solutions thereto;

  2. From an international point of view we observe that other countries are affected directly or indirectly by the problems in one particular country. With the international cooperation in mind, an i ntercommunication network should be established to resolve common problems;

  3. National and international agencies must support research and projects to help school libraries to increase the quality of life of the future generations.

    Keeping all of the above in mind, we should remember that investment in school libraries means investment in our future and will certainly have great impact on all the people, the humanity, societies and cultures.


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  2. "Milli EÛitim Temel Kanunu". T.C. Resmi Gazete. 24 Haziran 1973, Say¦: 14574.

  3. "Milli EÛitim Gençlik ve Spor Bakanl¦Û¦'n¦n Teßkilat ve Görevleri Hakk¦nda Kanun Hükmünde Kararname". T.C. Resmi Gazete. 14 Aral¦k 1983, Sa y¦: 18251. 1. Mükerrer.

  4. Milli EÛitim Bakanl¦Û¦. Ülkokul Program¦. Üstanbul: Milli EÛitim Bas¦mevi, 1936.

  5. Yedinci Milli EÛitim Ìûras¦ 5-15 Ìubat 1962. Ankara: Milli EÛitim Bas¦mevi, 1962.

  6. Onbirinci Milli EÛitim Ìûras¦ 8-11 Haziran 1982. Ankara: Milli EÛitim Bas¦mevi, 1982.

  7. Birinci Gençlik Ìûras¦ 24-28 Ekim 1988. Üstanbul: Milli EÛitim Bas¦mevi, 1989.

  8. Maarif Vekâleti. Okul kütüphaneleri YönetmeliÛi. Ankara: Maarif Bas¦mevi, 1959.

  9. Milli EÛitim Bakanl¦Û¦. Okul Kütüphaneleri YönetmeliÛi. Ankara: Milli EÛitim Bas¦mevi, 1977.

  10. Milli EÛitim Bakanl¦Û¦. TBMM 1995 Y¦l¦ Bütçe Raporu. Ankara: Ders Aletleri Yap¦m Merkezi Matbaas¦, 1994.

  11. Önal, H. Ünci. Türkiye'de Okul Kütüphanelerinin Yönetimi (Bas¦lmam¦ß Yüksek Lisans Tezi). Ankara, 1985.

  12. Önal, H. Ünci. Bilgi Gereksinimlerinin Karߦlanmas¦ ve Okul Kütüphaneleri (Bas¦lmam¦ß Doktora Tezi). Ankara, 1992.

    Dr. H. Ünci Önal
    Hacettepe University, Faculty of Letters
    Department of Library Science
    06532 Beytepe, Ankara, TURKEY