Workshop Overview

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Strengthening Library Associations in the South Caucasus: A Regional Workshop
(May 5-8 2001 Tbilisi, Georgia)

The American Library Association (ALA) organized this three-day regional workshop "Strengthening Library Associations in the South Caucasus: A Regional Workshop", which was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 5-8, 2001 in cooperation with the Armenian Library Association, the Azerbaijan Library Development Association, and the Association of Information Specialists (Georgia).

Built on the relationships initiated at the South Caucasian Regional Library Conferences held in 1998 and 1999, the workshop brought together 30 librarians and library policy makers (ten from each of the three countries) to work with a small contingent of U.S. colleagues well-versed in library and information issues. The U.S. librarians led discussions on the place of libraries in democracies, and along with local presenters, explored the critical role of libraries as information providers and how regional and national library associations can effectively advocate the importance of these institutions of knowledge.

The workshop encouraged and facilitated the continuing cooperative efforts among the library associations in the South Caucasus region at this critical early stage of development. The workshop increased the ability of the libraries and associations in the region to work together to promote the role of libraries in society in ensuring an informed citizenry. The workshop assisted participation by local and national librarians in regional efforts, and built a sustainable model for other regional and national efforts.

"Libraries: The Cornerstone of Democracy" was the theme of ALA President Nancy Kranich. A very important aspect of this year-long initiative was to help libraries in 'emerging democracies' fulfill their critical roles in developing free and informed citizens.

The following were the goals for the workshop:

  1. Encourage and facilitate continued cooperation among the library associations in the South Caucasus
  2. Assist the regional and national associations promote the role of libraries in society to ensure an informed citizenry
  3. Develop a method of sustainability of the regional, national, and international cooperative efforts
  4. Design a workshop model that can be used with library associations and libraries in other emerging democracies

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