Mobile Libraries in Turkey
- In 1958, a dream of rural dwellers in Urgup, a small town in central Turkey came true after Mustafa Guzelgoz, the town librarian attended a ceremony. At the ceremony, some of the seats were allocated to the notables of the town. However, sadly, Mr. Guzelgoz was not recognized, nor was he given a seat. This was the turning point for the mobile library services in Turkey. Because the librarian recognized the need to provide the community with the high-quality services in order to become a prominent and well respected member of it. Thereupon, he decided to launch the first donkey-drawn mobile library service so that he could spread knowledge and literature to the most hidden and inaccessible 36 villages where no librarian had ever set foot. This initiative gave inspiration to the other libraries and was soon replicated around the country as a cost-effective way to encourage the literacy in poor communities. Although there are some older records attesting the existence of motorized mobile libraries in Turkey, it was only by the 1960s that the interest and the experience in mobile library services developed. Having a comprehensive, country-wide network of public libraries, General Directorate of Libraries and Publications runs 35 mobile libraries which are dedicated to providing free and equitable access to on-line information, library and electronic services for rural and isolated communities. Open to everyone, mobile libraries serve nearly 5.000 stops in towns and villages across the county. The Mobile Libraries in Turkey have played a significant role in bridging the information gap between urban and rural residents. Today, and certainly in the future, they will continue to have this important mission. From the donkey-drawn mobile libraries to the modern ones, they are taking their wares to the heart of an appreciative public in Turkey.