As of 22 April 2009 this website is 'frozen' in time — see the current IFLA websites

This old website and all of its content will stay on as archive – http://archive.ifla.org

IFLANET home - International Federation of Library
Associations and InstitutionsAnnual
Jerusalem Conference logo

66th IFLA Council and General

Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August


Code Number: 059-151-E
Division Number: VI
Professional Group: Women's Issues
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 151
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No  

The women of Kazakstan: the source of cultural development

Rosa A. Berdigalieva & Zarema D. Shaimardanova
National Library of the Republic of Kazakstan
Almaty, Kazakstan


From time immemorial the Kazak women, beginning from the legendary Tomiris and up to to the heroines of modern times, participated in the administration of the country and equally with the men defended the other land. The virtuous Kazak will never chide a girl. We never put parandja (the veil) upon woman. And in the years of the Great Patriotic war (1941-1945)only two Oriental girls became Heroes of the Soviet Union and these are representative of the Kazak people Manshuk Mametova and Alia Moldagulova.

In the modern independent Kazakstan women constitute more than the half of our population - 51,8%. The level of education with the Kazakstani women is also higher. Per 1000 people it was 129 degreed women and 117 men, or 1% higher. By the results of the December 1999 election to the higher and local organs of state administration of the country 8 women (8% of the whole composition) passed to the higher legislative organ of the country Majilis, and 639 (10%) became deputies of the Maslihats, the regional legislative organs. 4 women head the central organs of power, 5 occupy the posts of vice-ministers, the same number are deputies of akims in the regions, in the diplomatic corps there are 3 women-diplomats.

The women of Kazakstan are extremely valuable political, economic and what's of interest to us cultural resource. Their role in culture and art can be defined as the transference from generation to generation of the memory of the tribe, nation, mankind on the whole. In the system of education 75% are women, in the cultural spherethere are employed more than 62% of women. They are active creators of intellectual values, carrying out the role of conductors and keepers of national tradition and memory.

The genetic memory of country administration, freedom of thought and freedom of expression played its positive part in modern society, which led to the appearance of the leader-woman. The modern woman is characterized by the avid striving towards learning, and conceiving the mechanisms of business, participation in decision-making in the organs of state administration, in the sphere of business and cultural activity, at home and in civil society. Women demonstrate spirit and initiative, perseverance and ability to use their social links and contacts in order to really and effectively achieve substantial positive changes in the country.

In the young democratic state such as Kazakstan, culture develops in the following trends:

  • preservation and development of Kazak national culture and cultures of other peoples of the country,
  • preservation and augmentation of historic-cultural heritage,
  • deepening and intensification of international cooperation,
  • integration into international cultural space,
  • formation of home market of cultural production and services.
Women's associations and organizations are represented in all spheres of the cultural life of the country from the folk handicraft to cinematography and make contribution into preservation and development of Kazak culture. With the purpose of fullest realization of their creative and organizational capabilities, women come forward with the initiative to create private authorized educational-cultural establishments. In the handicraft sphere these are the craftswomen from distant places, united into "Sheber" aul, where they create on an equal basis with men. There in the country and far beyond are well-known the names of Aiman Musakhodjaeva and Janiya Aubakirova, who became organizers and leaders of highly-professional musical collectives.

In Kazakstani librarianship there are practically 100% women. It must be noted, that the leading educational establishment of the country that prepares cadres for work in libraries is the Women's pedagogical institute.

At present in Kazakstan there are many problems in the work of the libraries: the under-development of legislative-legal basis of libraries' activity, their closure due to economic problems, difficulties in fond-formation, technological backwardness etc. But despite all this, the women-librarians of the country are an unusual world, where there reign high civil duty, the realization of significance of their work as the source of cultural development, unanimity, an especial devotion to work, desire to bring the book and thus knowledge and information to every resident of the country. There in the Kostanai region there opened a library, organized on a voluntary basis. Another astounding example, when the workers of the libraries continue work even after the closing of the establishment, because they feel they are needed. Thus, in the Kzyl-Orda region the workers of the libraries in response to the residents' request, continued work till the aim revoked the unjust decision.

In modern conditions every library in Kazakstan, beginning from the National, including the specialized republican, city and ending with the rural ones, became the informational and cultural centre. The librarianship practice of the republic, which is more than 100 years old, create conditions for such work. There in the work of the libraries of the y formed the leading trends:

  • giving various informational services with the use of traditional forms of work,
  • giving informational services through new informational technologies: the formation and usage of electronic data-bases, the development of network technologies and unification of national library resources,
  • inclusion into the international librarianship space and the world informational exchange,
  • provision of preservation for library fonds as part of national cultural heritage and informational resource of the country.
  • development and deepening of the system of professional communication for exchange of ideas and experience (conferences, other rums, seminars, round tables etc.)
The National Library of the RK works upon the project of the Republican automated library-informational system (RALIS), the purpose of which is the uniting of national library resources and the provision of world-wide access to them. At present the NL has 30 data bases of over 1 mln. descriptions in volume. Firstly, this is the catalogue of new acquisitions and the so-called "Retro" catalogue, which includes the "Kazakstanica" fond. The data bases called "Kazakstan: the past and the present", "Khodja Ahmed Yassaui", "Abai", "The history of Kazakstani capitals", "The returned names" contain within themselves the historically authentic information. The data bases "The literary Kazakstan", "The culture, the art, the literature of Kazakstan", "The Kazak book before 1917", "The new literature on Kazakstan", "Nursultan Nazarbayev - the first President of the Republic Kazakstan", "The social sciences" are constantly updated. Of course, to preserve such volume of information is not easy at all, these data bases require constant work on software-technical backing. "Rukhaniyat" - this data base is being created by the rare books' department, and in the basis of which there was put the joint catalogue of manuscripts, rare and valuable books and it is done in the Kazak and Russian languages. The data bases on the history and culture of the regions of the country "Education", "The legislation of the Republic Kazakstan" and a number of others, and also the acquired full-text data bases conduce the quicker provision of information to the user. Most of the leading libraries of the country such as the National library, the Scientific library of the KazGNU after Al-Farabi, the Eastern-Kazakstani, Pavlodar, Karaganda regional universal scientific libraries have their own Web-sites. The first multimedia products of the National library "The Musical heritage of Kazakstan" and "The Kazakstani chronicle from the first Kazak newspapers in the Arabic script" give an opportunity of preserving the information and ensuring access to it.

There in the libraries are created the libraries of family reading, also on ecology, history, regional study. In the Northern-Kazakstani Regional Universal Scientific Library the population is attracted by the "Library of regional study", "Library of historic-spiritual renovation". In a number of regions (the Eastern-Kazakstani, Western-Kazakstani and Northern-Kazakstani) there are "the Library of youth's leasure time" and "the Library of modern novel", that spread information among different groups of population, especially among the youth. The club of interest within the libraries of the Akmola region called "Panorama", "Girl-friend", "Candle" are organized by the enthusiastic women, leader-women. The task of the "Olketanu" club in the Pavlodar region by the "Library and regional study" programme is to conduce the up-bringing of Kazak patriotism, study of history and culture of the region. By the same programmes there goes succesfully work in the Pavlodar and Northern-Kazakstani Regional Universal Scientific Libraries. "The Support and development of the state language" project is implemented in the Eastern-Kazakstani RUSL jointly with the organization of surveys, exhibitions etc.

"The day of the languages of the peoples of Kazakstan", organized in the Karaganda RUSL and the affiliation of the National library of the RK in Astana became the means of effective exchange of information at the round table with the representatives of the Korean, Polish, Tatar, Ukraine cultural centres, the organization of exhibitions and surveys. The implementation of "the World of Kazak literature" programme in the Karaganda RUSL gives information to readers about the whole stratum of Kazak literature upto the new trends and names in it.

The purpose of the informational centres, created within the centralized library system of the Pavlodar region and other regions of the country is the collecting, storage and provision for the population of information of socio-economic, legal, cultural and educational character. The Eastern-Kazakstani RUSL carries out informational servicing of 17 organizations and establishments of the region. Realizing that information and knowledge lie in the basis of the political, economic and socio-cultural development of any state, the Association of business women of Kazakstan (October,1995) along their tasks deems it primary the provision to all women of access to get information on the international as well as regional levels by means of using the libraries and the data-banks. There into the structure of the Association comes the informational-consulting centre with the data-bases on legislation, economy, social, cultural, educational and other issues.

The acknowledgement of book as the primary source of knowledge and information became the main task for the organization of the big activity, devoted to "the world day of book and copyright" (April,23), declared by the UNESCO and initiated by the NL RK. Besides the demonstration of the evolution of printed production of Kazakstan at the "Book of Kazakstan meets the third millennium" exhibition and the round table on the significance of copyright as the basis of protection of intellectual property there were organized several charity actions. The biggest publishing houses of the country brought and donated their books to the NL. During the other action "You read yourself - give it to another" the workers of many libraries of the city from their own private collections gave over the books to the children's homes, the homes for the aged etc. For the purposes of book popularization and importance of knowledge there served the action, that was organized in Atyrau city by the National commission on women's and family affairs jointly with the NL RK with the transference by the latter one of its 600 books to the children home of the city.

The national culture contains within itself a system of ideas and conceptions that was forming in the course of all the history of the formation of a certain people and was recorded by this or that method. For each man the recorded memory is the testimony of his inner participation, the gratitude to the preceding generations and the object for preservation. There in Kazakstan it was namely the women on the basis of the NLRK who became initiators of the creation and development of the system of preservation of the libraries' documents, elaborating the Conception of the National programme for preservation and the draft project of actually the National programme. There have already been made some concrete steps for the preservation of written heritage with the use of modern technologies. We already spoke about the multimedia products, there is coming in its turn the third CD-ROM to be issued, representing the cultural chronicle of the country as seen by the first Kazak newspapers in the Arabic script and dedicated to the year of Culture support, declared by the Decree of the President of the RK this year, the last year of the outgoing millenium.

The history of many prosperous states testifies to the fact, that at the most crucial moments in the life of society the mobilizing strength was derived from high civil attitude, the realization of common interests of the citizens of the country. The leaders, sincerely wishing to turn the events of history for better, always found the words, actions that united people of different strata and ages. The women-leaders of the libraries of the country direct their actions upon the harmonious development of society.


  1. Batpenova G.D. and others. A woman at the State service and business /Batpenova G.D.,Iskakova S.K., Kanapjanova R.M.- Almaty:IPK,1997.-148 p.
  2. Cultural contexts of Kazakstan: Materials of the international conference dedicated to Auezov's 100-th aniversary/Comp. by A.Kodar, Z.Kodar.- Almaty:Nisa,1998.- 280 p.
  3. Kazakstani libraries in 1998: facts and figures.-Almaty: National library of the RK.-1990.-86 p.
  4. The State policy Conception of women's condition improvement in the Republic of Kazakstan: Approves by the RK President's order of March 5,1997/ Kazakstanskaya pravda.-1997.- March 6.
  5. Women and children of Kazakstan: Statistical guide.-Almaty, 1998.-48 p.


Latest Revision: May 14, 2000 Copyright © 1995-2000
International Federation of Library Associations a nd Institutions