Enache, Part 2
2. Romanian Library Education
The present situation is based on the fact that for a long time there was no professional library and documentation education in Romania aimed at training specialists and professionals for the work in libraries and for other information structures. Until the 1960s this type of education existed in a system on three levels: intermediate level, upper level and higher education, which gave comparative results with those of the European level. Thus, between 1924 and 1948 The School for Archives and Palaeography was operating alongside the State Archives with a department of librarianship (with a duration of two years) which offered training for high school graduates and librarians which graduated from the high school, as well as for college students. From its foundation, one of the most famous Romanian librarians, Alexandru SadiIonescu, taught at this school. Besides its strong practical character, the school had the advantage of training librarians at an intermediate level, to complete the training of librarians already employed and to give the students of other fields the opportunity of completing their studies through knowledge in library science.
In 1948 the school was reorganised to form an Institute for Archives Studies, Bibliology and Palaeography which operated for one year, until 1949. Another form of higher education for bibliology which had existed simultaneously (from 1932) was provided by the bibliological conferences which were founded besides the departments of Romanian literary history at the universities of Bucharest and Cluj. Although it enjoyed a great reputation among the predecessors of Romanian bibliology, Ioachim Craciun and Nicolae GeorgescuTistu, this unique form of bibliological study had a problem which was yet unnoticed at the time as the flux of information in the last years: limited university (academic) education for librarians to students of linguistics and philosophy.
In 1949 the Institute for Archives, Bibliology and Paleography as well as the conferences of academic level were eliminated. In 1950, a Department of Archives Studies, within which library science was also taught, was established at the Faculty of History of the University of Bucharest and operated until 1954. In the same year, the Department of Library Science was founded at the very same university in the Faculty of Philology, a department which was later reorganized as a threesemester optional bibliology course for the students in their third and fourth years of university. So the bibliological study programme, limited to a single department, practically ceased to exist. Both its optional character as well as its short period of duration was inefficient in reality.
Between 1960 and 1990 the sphere of responsibility for training librarians in schools and universities was transferred to the Ministry of Culture. The librarians employed in most of schools had not even received minimal training in library science. The Ministry of Education organized both introductory courses as well as courses for continuous education for these librarians through the Bucharest Pedagogical Library. The courses were finished with tests.
University librarian training was generally carried out in the major university libraries that had been employing professional librarians. Public librarians were trained at a special center for continuous education provided under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture, where courses at a national level were offered on a regular basis. Unfortunately, not all librarians were able to take part in these national training programmes and the situation became even more drastic due to constant fluctuation in staff.
After three decades, during which this field was ignored (in this time opportunities for librarians from all East European nations to receive training were multiple), in Romania in 1990 the higher education in librarianship field was reorganized and it was subsequently developed in the next years. A fouryear university study program and a threeyear college program have been instituted in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Bucharest, a decision taken in the final hour in order to guarantee that Romanian libraries would have a professional staff and that the gap between them and progressive library structures would not grow wider.
Designing a formative system is not easy at all. A prospective philosophy for the field, as well as specialists, teachers for the universities and a sociocultural motivation are necessary. Only the relation between all these elements is able to establish a longterm informativeformative structure. The Department of Bibliology and Information Science is a new structure that links both the previous Romanian experiences and those of other countries. The conception of the curriculum was based on the necessity to accommodate the requests of a speciality with an interdisciplinary character with a durable general culture in the modern information society. It was not accidental that the curriculum included subjects such as the history of the universal culture and civilisation, universal literature, Romanian literature, psychology, and reading theory.
Although the choice of bibliological encyclopaedic education during the course of time created countless controversies, this is certainly more realistic than to limit oneself in narrow fields. Today a bibliology or information science specialist would never, at least in Romania, subordinate himself to any researcher, but this person can offer him/her a point of orientation for all fields of interest in the information galaxy. In the future, this will not be possible anymore, if one considers the threat of the big range of means of information. The librarian still remains an encyclopedian of structures and methods, said a Romanian bibliologist. On the other hand the librarian has his own research field in the expansive area of purchasing, organisation, storage and access to information and documents. Those who evaluate the stage of social development begin to understand the relations between information and progress and the role of information structures in the growth of cultural and civilisation level.
The specialized subjects have been given weight through length and intensity in the curriculum. Future specialists will work in a professional environment linked to tradition and modernity. They have to acquire the necessary knowledge for later work from library sciences to information management and from bibliography to automation of libraries. The curriculum requires students to learn two foreign languages of their choice throughout the duration of their studies. In order to confront the theoretical speciality techniques from theory with reality, a threeweek practice at the end of the second semester has been added into the study plan.
Although today there is much talk about library sciences and librarians, nearly all maintain their traditional meaning; in fact, libraries, simultaneously through automation, move away from the book. Despite all these facts, libraries will remain the institutions developing the most in order to be able to harmonize the spectrum of documents at a national level. The question arises: how quickly will structures develop so that the employees of the future can find an appropriate professional environment and not an illusory one? One of the main elements of education is determined by the educational environment and the type of structure in which the new specialists are prepared. In this respect, the Department of Bibliology and Information Sciences, organised as part of the Letters Faculty of the Bucharest University, is not a fortunate solution. The organisation does not possess the necessary independence and authority for adapting the plan of education according to the changes in the field of information.
The dominance of philology in the Romanian library science education, despite the fact that it reminds one of the past, is not connected with the changes in this field. Library and information sciences are interdisciplinary today. The information society needs qualified mediators for information exchange, specialists who can offer information to users and are able to analyse information according to expectations and to design networks and systems. In this respect, the orientation and programme of study for the Department of Bibliology and Information Sciences must be improved according to cultural reality from Romania.
The material conditions of the Romanian library sciences education are, as everywhere, connected with the existence of wellequipped information laboratories, specialised libraries, and adequate facilities for the educational process. Although the Department has these things, it does not fulfil the standards; for this reason the distance separating us from the western developed countries will remain. That means dangerous isolation. In all university media, in the area of librarianship structures from the western developed countries as well, a broad scientific activity has been developed. This provides the mobility of the capacities of teachers and students and promotes progress in the field. Unfortunately, our first attempts in this area have also been inferior. The professors, without experience in librarianship education, are busy mostly with the structure of the curriculum and the students without confidence in the future of the profession, have minimal expectations for the courses and the knowledge offered.
What is also decisive for the educational structure is the social motivation, the ability to be integrated into society and the status of the profession in society. In Romania, unfortunately, the library field is ignored. The library profession has no status; there is no current legislation either for libraries or other information fields. These are only two of the problems with which Romanian librarianship is being confronted; in reality, there are several.