Magazine article American Libraries

Mission to Uzbekistan

Magazine article American Libraries

Mission to Uzbekistan

Article excerpt

Following independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Uzbek librarians have been working to turn what were essentially repositories of government information for official use only into true public libraries. Although citizens of his country aspire to democracy, President Islam Karimov, who runs essentially unchallenged every seven years, still tightly controls all media and public information.

Uzbek librarians well understand their importance in establishing collections and providing resources that are not first vetted by the government. In fact, the Uzbekistan Library Association lists as its purpose "assistance in democratic transformations in Uzbekistan, by means of library development, providing of free access to their information resources, and wide recognition of the importance of library and information services excellence in the state and public sectors."

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With the assistance of a grant from the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Tashkent, the authors visited the country earlier this year to meet and work with Uzbek librarians, students, and teachers.

In March, June Garcia met with public librarians in Tashkent, Ferghana, and Samarkand to help them identify and plan library services to meet community needs. …

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