Monday, April 4, 2016

Well-developed libraries in Hungary

Excuse me for the deceiving title, I was just being sarcastic – well-developed libraries are only a dream. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame libraries but this cultural section is in a catastrophic condition because of our government. I think it should be changed significantly, what is more, urgently. I could list the causes why it is in a bad shape until tomorrow morning but these are the most important ones:
  • Libraries are very underpaid: their average take-home pay is $300 (€270) per month.
  • Their computing infrastructure is out-of-date. Most libraries have at least ten-year-old computers with Windows XP operating systems. I have never seen Apple computers in any of  the Hungarian libraries.
  • Libraries have difficulties with the deficit: very often they cannot even buy new books, not to mention computers.


However, not everything is so bad because besides the contras, there are some pros, as well:
  • Librarians make an effort to surmount the aforementioned difficulties.
  • Libraries can gain funding for new computers from applications.
  • A lot of librarians are very kind people who can help you find relevant documents or answer your questions.
  • Libraries are the pioneers in the digital culture of mediation. They have the ambition to develop and modernize themselves. They use social networking websites and web 2.0 based services to contact their users.
  • The atmosphere of libraries is friendly and homely.
  • More are more documents can be found in digitalized formats on the Internet, too.
Recently, I've and analyzed the answers given to a survey I conducted for my thesis about the condition of Hungarian libraries. The result about our national library, for example, is exasperating. The institution would like to buy new computers, but it has ten-year or older computers with Windows XP because the preserver doesn't give it more funding.

The big question is how can libraries become well-developed in Hungary? With money, money, and money. Other requirements are met, but it isn't enough. If preservers don't give more money, where can libraries get their financial aid from? The answer is donation, which is very short. The next question is how can libraries increase donation? With good marketing. Have libraries got a good marketing? If they don't, why not? What counts as good marketing, anyway? I think these questions are difficult to answer, and so are the ones that could come up, leading to other topics. But unfortunately, I have to close this post now, otherwise it would go on forever.

However, I believe that sooner or later libraries will reach their dreams.

See you later.

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