» Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MONGOLIA

STRATEGY 2010-2016

CHAPTER 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.1. Brief Introduction to the Strategy

This strategy sets out policies and actions to implement to develop the National Library of Mongolia for 2009-2015, under two strategic phases.

National Library of Mongolia is scheduled to move into a new building in 2012. In the present state, the Library does not have any services based on modern technology that can meet the needs of 21st century users. The Library services are limited to the traditional services only, and its tasks to store and preserve rare and valuable books are being in a difficult state.

This Strategy encompasses two strategic phases. The first phase (- the transition period -) covers the period until the Library moves into the new building. During this phase, the old-styled service model will be abandoned; a new service model will be introduced; human resources will be developed; equipment and technology will be upgraded and the new service models designed for the new building will be prepared ready to apply. The 2nd strategic phase (- the trial period -) covers the first 1-2 years after the Library moves into the new building. During this phase, those changes prepared in the 1st phase will be tried and implemented in the new building.

In today`s information age, libraries in most countries have the responsibility to store and preserve for the future generation the nation`s cultural and written heritages, as well as responsibilities to connect the users to information and knowledge about the respective country and about the rest of the world. To perform these important responsibilities, national libraries in many countries are developing short- and long-term strategies for development and attracting investment through reflecting the strategies in the public policies and informing the users and partners about the strategies. Such investment is enabling the libraries to introduce new services based on information technology and new uses of library services.

National Library of Mongolia has an enormous role in the society for the achievement of the Government`s objective "to make ICT a stimulus for development and to lay the foundations of knowledge-based society”. However, the National Library of Mongolia today is facing major challenges in collecting information and knowledge resources and in delivering them to the users in reliable, accessible, convenient and economical ways. To respond to these challenges, the National Library of Mongolia has developed this Strategy in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, the Mongolian Libraries‟ Consortium the Open Society Forum and with assistance from consultants from the international organization eIFL.net.

1.2. Rationale

Mongolia has undergone important changes socially and economically since the country shifted from socialism to democracy 20 years ago. The country`s future development goals were set out in the key development policy documents, including the "Millennium Development Goals of Mongolia” (1990-2015) and "Comprehensive National Development Strategy of Mongolia” (2008). These documents envision "significant achievements in developing the national heritage and values in harmony with globalization, developing an information society and a knowledge based economy to provide economic growth and meeting the intellectual needs of the citizens by delivering arts and cultural services accessibly and in a high quality”. It is reflected in the Government Agenda 2008-20124 that a high-speed information infrastructure covering the whole country, reaching to the most remote districts and border points, will be developed by expanding the present network of information and communications that covers 60% of the country`s territory to date. Such information technology infrastructure covering the country`s 1.5 million square km territory will benefit a population of 2.7 million, which is highly literate (with 98% literacy rate) and young (- 30% of Mongolia’s population are under 18 years of age). Given its responsibility to function as the Professional Methodological Centre for all public and university libraries in Mongolia, the National Library of Mongolia has a crucial role to play in achievement of the above objectives of the Government and for implementation of public policies to develop a knowledge based economy.

The National Library of Mongolia was made the National Central Library by Government Resolution Nr. 23 of 1994 – with responsibilities to provide the public libraries of Mongolia with professional methodology guidance and information. Status of the Library was further upgraded to its present status in 2004 by Government Resolution Nr. 196 and it became the National Library of Mongolia with responsibilities to store and preserve the national written heritage, provide public libraries with professional methodology and create and serve with shared resources of books and periodicals published in Mongolia and significant foreign books and publications. However, the financial and budget difficulties of the post-communist transition period led to a slowdown in the development of educational, cultural and science sectors in the country. Especially, library services were left underdeveloped, incapable of offering modern services beyond the traditional reading room services.

Mongolia’s economy has grown significantly in the past 2-3 years with the GDP growth reaching 9.9% in 20076. However, the recent global financial and economic downturns have affected all sectors of economy in Mongolia. The Government of Mongolia is thriving to take advantage of the vast natural recourses of the country to overcome the present economic slowdown and to remain committed to the policies to build a knowledge-based economy and society. Nevertheless, the present economic downturn has resulted in annulling of the 2009-2010 budgets for the public libraries and the National Library`s acquisition of new books and printed press.

According to the UNESCO guidelines (Schick, 1972:8-9), the essential responsibilities of the national library include acquisition of significant publications published in the country (in compliance with the deposit law and other relevant regulations); collecting books in foreign languages relating to the country; producing the national bibliography and compiling the national union catalog. In addition, in most countries the national library has the duty to "collect, store, preserve and promote the nation’s cultural heritage”, even though duties of national libraries vary across countries.

The National Library of Mongolia (- which has the above important duties -) moved to its present building in 1951 with its 500,000 books. Since then, the collection of the Library has grown to reach 3 million books. During this period, the building has not had any major renovation or physical extension, except the three routine repairs that were made in 1977, 1990 and 2000. The 2005 inspection by the National Professional Inspection Department concluded that "the degradation of the building has caused cracks in the main structures; the building does not meet electric and safety requirements for application of modern technology; the micro environment in the building does not meet the health standards and the working space does not meet the work facilities standards. "Moreover, the present supply and technical capacity of the equipment in the Library is inadequate and the Library does not have an information technology infrastructure as such. There is an urgent need for a systematic human capacity building policy, and more financial resources, for continuous upgrading of the skills of the personnel.

Therefore, President of Mongolia issued a decree in 2008 to build a new building complex for the National Library of Mongolia, to upgrade its services and to allocate the required resources from the State Budget and the grant which Mongolia received from the Kuwait Foundation. This decree is also reflected in Government Agenda 2008-2012: "A new building complex will be built for the National Library of Mongolia.” (Section 1.2.27). At the foundations laying ceremony for the new building complex of the National Library, which took place in 2008; the Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences said: "This new building for the National Library will be the most effective investment in sectors of education, culture and sciences since the time when the country shifted to the market economy. The new library will be a modern educational palace equipped with the latest technology and facilities – a favorite place for everyone to visit.”

At present, the National Library of Mongolia is not only unable to provide modern services based on digital infrastructure (- to meet the needs of the technology era); it is in fact struggling financially and capacity-wise to provide even the minimum services required from a national library– the services that have become standard services in national libraries in other countries. Therefore, a radical reform in the library service and service environment of the National Library is needed and it will bring a major progress in the intellectual, learning and research advancements of the population of Mongolia.

To initiate such reform, the National Library of Mongolia has developed a Strategy for its development for 2009-2015, comprising two phases: Phase I: 2009-2011 and Phase II: 2012-2015. In this Strategy, we set out comprehensive goals and objectives that require new skills, a new structure, new decisions, a new legal environment for sustained operations and new investment so that the National Library is able to provide new, accessible and reliable services that can meet the demands of 21st century users; besides playing its leading role as the national library of the country. We envision that the outcomes of Strategy will contribute to the realization of the public policy to create a knowledge-based economy and society, benefit every citizen f Mongolia and contribute to the development of Mongolia to a significant extent.

1.3. Present State of Affairs of National Library of Mongolia

National Library of Mongolia was founded in 1921 at the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia. Book exchanges between the Library and foreign libraries were initiated as early as 1924 and the Library became a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in 1991. To date, the Library has book exchange programs with over 100 libraries in 70 countries. The purpose of the National Library of Mongolia, according to its Rules of Organization and Operation, is "to collect and preserve manuscripts, sutras, academic degree dissertations, as well as books and periodicals that are published in Mongolia and significant foreign books and periodicals; to create a national bibliography; to serve efficiently the library users with the above material and to provide other public libraries with professional methodology, guidance and information.”

Of the three million books and publications in the Library’s collection, one million are rare and valuable books, sutras and manuscripts, including the world’s only copy of the Buddhist „Nine Treasures Ganjuur’, the 18th century „Sandui Jud’ inscribed with gold on silver sheets, the „Jadamba’ inscribed on palm-tree leaves, which was used by the ancient Indian philosopher Nagarjunai, and many other items. The National Library of Mongolia is not only the largest library in the country, it is also the Professional Methodological Centre that develops regulations and legal documents to be applied in libraries in the country, develops and publishes professional publications, guidelines and bibliography and provides consultancy to over 1,500 public libraries of the country.

The National Library of Mongolia in Figures

 

Stacks

8

Reading Rooms

5

Divisions

5 (Divisions: Information, Methodology and Research Division; Storage and Stacks Division; Book Acquisition, Processing and Exchange Division; Reading Service Division; Administration and Maintenance Division.

Collection

3 million

Number of Users

60,000 (per year)

Administrative Staff

1

Professional Staff

55

Assistant Staff

20

Number of Computers

40

Computers for Public Use

21


 

The Library is connected to Internet in 2001. Over the past 10 years, 300,000 books and publications have been electronically cataloged, as part of the efforts to convert the present paper catalog (of three million books) to an electronic catalog. Prior to 1990, a national (paper) union catalog was being compiled in accordance with the Library‟s goals and responsibilities, but the activity was halted due to the changes in public policy and budget, as the country shifted to a new political system. At present, each public library in Mongolia compiles its own catalog and bibliography, costing more public money and resources overall than compiling a single union catalog based at the national library of the country. Therefore, the Strategy 2009-2015 encompasses an objective to compile an electronic union catalog based at the National Library of Mongolia for reference of all public libraries.

The number of users of the Library in a year is only equal to 5% of the population of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Moreover, a survey shows that (according to 60% of respondents) the present services of the Library do not even meet fully the needs of the present users, who are mostly university and college students and researchers12. The prospect of increasing the number of users in the near future is weak, unless the Library develops new and efficient services based on a digital infrastructure; creates an electronic search system, applies modern technology in its services and provides access to online information databases.

At present, the Library has two large digital databases: Mongolian Manuscripts and Tibetan Sutras. These include three titles of Mongolian manuscripts (385 volumes), which were digitized with the funding from the Indian Government, and two titles of Tibetan sutras (226 volumes and 2,840 sutras, written by over 150 Tibetan lamas), which were digitized with assistance from ACIP (USA).

However these digital databases are not available to the public, due to the lack of equipment and software for displaying or offering them to the public. Digitization of rare and valuable books is also in the initial stage only. Nevertheless, the Library is aiming to provide the users with access to important foreign electronic recourses and database thanks to its collaboration with the Mongolian Libraries‟ Consortium, which was established with assistance from eIFL.net.

However, a new building will be essential for modernization and extension of the Library‟s services and capacity - so that the Library is able not only to store and preserve the cultural heritage and the nation‟s ever-growing intellectual heritage, but it is also able to promote those heritages and make them accessible for the users. A new building is essential also for introducing new library services that are based on information technology. The present building would be inadequate for achieving the above goals, even if it undergoes a reconstruction.

In 2005, the Government issued a decree to grant the Library the status of National Library of Mongolia, to make an organizational change, to expand its collection and to extend the services. However, the decree has not been put to practice until today, because the required resources and budget were not been allocated. On the other hand, important changes were made to the Rules of Organization and Operation of the Library to reflect its new function as National Library of Mongolia from 2005 and onwards. These changes included tasks "to introduce advanced technology to the operation of the Library, to introduce automation to operation of the Library and to carry out research in library studies and bibliography” (Section 2.4., 2.6. and 2.8). However, these tasks will not be feasible to carry out without systematic and consistent funding and policy level regulations.

Therefore, the actions planned in this Strategy 2009-2015 will need to be carried out effectively and systematically so that the Library can successfully perform the responsibilities set out by its rules of organization and operation, effectively implement the government policies and decisions and comply with guidelines of the IFLA and UNESCO. In addition, the successful achievement of these strategic objectives will depend on the policy support and investment from the Government of Mongolia and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences. It will also require partnership with and investment from international organizations and philanthropy organizations, as well as exchange of best practices with national libraries of other countries.

1.4. Strategy Priorities

In the frame of this Strategy, the National Library sets out the following four main priorities in 2009-2015.

1.4.1. Content and Access Strategy

In collecting and enriching its content in 2009-2015, the National Library of Mongolia will give priority to:

- users‟ needs and demands;

- improving the quality of the print based content and collecting electronic content and

providing access to it;

- ensuring long-term and reliable storage, preservation and dissemination.

Given the above priorities, major jobs will be done to renew and enrich the content. Specifically, the Library will collect and provide access to:

- rare and valuable books and ancient manuscripts

- contemporary print based and digital material, including the digital resources in Mongolian

- foreign books and journals relating to Mongolian studies

- works and publications by Nobel laureates

- works and publications of the latest scientific advancements and breakthroughs

- electronic database relating to sciences and research.

In collecting rare and valuable books and ancient manuscripts, the Library will conduct investigative search to acquire in hard copies or in electronic copies those items in private collections.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences and the Mongolian Libraries‟ Consortium, the Library will conduct advocacy work for securing a legal act based on the decree of President of Mongolia issued regarding the book donation to the Library. This way, the Library will ensure possibility to acquire deposit copies of newly published print based and electronic books.

The National Library of Mongolia has a significant collection of foreign and Mongolian research works relating to Mongolian Studies. The responsibility to enrich and update this collection will remain as one of the main responsibilities of the National Library of Mongolia.

To respond to the globalizing, technology-based and information age of today, the Library will select important electronic research recourses of foreign countries and provide the users with access to such resources. Preparation work for such access will be undertaken during the 1st strategic phase, so that the users can already enjoy the access in the 2nd strategic phase. In particular, the Library will seek possibilities to subscribe, on a discount basis, to those shared online resources, such as EBSCO, JSTOR, SPRINGER or ELSEVER, which are widely used internationally.

The renewed and enriched contents will be accessible for users in the following ways:

- in specialized reading rooms (- the present reading rooms will be specialized accordingly)

- online (membership based access from inside and outside the Library)

- through services-without-walls (book loan and mobile services)

- through inter-library book exchange

- through different events (such as exhibitions, public lectures, book presentation events,

television programs, book auctions)

- via other modern communications devices (promotion via mobile phones, iphones, iriver, ereader

screen)

In order to provide access to the enriched contents, the Library will sign memorandums of understanding and partnership agreements with national mobile phone service providers, ISPs, ICTA, governmental and non-governmental organizations, the media, private businesses and other partners for mutually beneficial cooperation.

1.4.2. Users and Partnership Strategy

The National Library of Mongolia will not be able to implement alone these novel and ambitious changes and reforms set out in the Strategy. Therefore, the Library will seek mutually beneficial partnership not only with information-users, but also with private businesses, professional organizations, libraries and authors who are willing to contribute to protecting, preserving and enriching the nation’s cultural and written heritages.

Needs and demands of the users will be carefully studied, which will enable the Library to improve the quality of the present collections, services and deliver new services. As a result, the Library will acquire new users, such as:

- scientific researchers in various disciplines

- disabled individuals

- vulnerable social groups (including individuals in remote locations, artisan miners, migrant

workers)

- individuals in specific institutions (such as prisons or hospitals).

In addition, value-added and fee-based services will be specially developed for and offered to businesses, small and medium enterprises, mining companies and tourists.

About partnerships, the Library’s Rules of Organization and Operation states that the Library shall "conclude agreements with organizations, study and learn from practices and experiences of foreign libraries, and cooperate with and take part in different projects and programs” (Sections 3.1.2, 3.2.8 and 3.2.10).

Sponsors, partners and interest groups have a crucial role in the successful implementation of this Strategy. They include:

Sponsors

Partners

- Government of Mongolia - ICTA

- Ministry of Education, Culture and

Sciences; Ministry of Finance

- Kuwait Foundation Grant

- Businesses

- Foreign embassies, foreign/

international programs and projects

- International professional organizations

(IFLA, UNESCO, eIFL.net)

- ICTA, IPSs

- Mongolian Libraries‟ Consortium

- Foreign and Mongolian libraries

- Publishers, printing houses

- National Archive

- Research and science organizations

- Institute of Culture (University of Culture)

- Communications and Information

School (University of Science and Technology)

- Intellectual Property Authority ofMongolia

- Cultural and arts organizations

- Mongolian Authors‟ Association

- Media organizations

- NGOs


Sponsors. The Library’s main domestic funding will come from investments by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences; the Ministry of Finance and the Government of Mongolia. The construction of the new building will be financed by the Kuwait Foundation Grant. In order to implement major projects, the Library will seek international funding and assistance from businesses and individuals who are willing to support the Library’s activities.

Partners. Partnership is a way to improve the services of the Library, therefore the Library will establish partnerships with various national and international organizations. At the national level, the key partners will include the ICTA, national IPSs, the Mongolian Libraries‟ Association, the Intellectual Property Authority of Mongolia, science and research institutions, publishers, archives and cultural organizations. During the strategic period, the Library will sign memorandums of understanding and partnership agreements will organizations, in order to implement the following ambitious objectives:

- setting up a digital library (content and access)

- acquiring standard equipment for adequate storage and preservation of digital material;

setting up an information technological network for such tasks

- providing users with access to best international online information resources

- compiling an electronic union catalog at the national level

- ensuring compliance with international standards for storage and preservation of the nation‟s

rare and valuable books

- collaboration in systematic strengthening of the human capacity of the Library.

The Library will collaborate with universities, research institutions, newspapers, national publishers in order to set up specialized databases of electronic contents in Mongolian. The Library will collaborate with publishers to carry out advocacy to improve the implementation of the President’s Decree relating to book donation to the National Library and advocacy to make the decree into a legal act to comply.

Furthermore, the Library will collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences and the Mongolian Libraries‟ Association in order to initiate a nation-wide discussion regarding the future development for libraries in Mongolia and the reforms to undertake. The Library will also work together with the National Archive, museums and cultural and arts organizations in order to collect online contents of historical documents, rare exhibits and arts and cultural heritages in order to provide access to them and organize content exhibitions and other cultural events. In order to promote its collection or carry out cultural and enlightenment activities, the Library will establish mutually beneficial and extensive collaboration with media organizations.

As a result of the strategic partnership, the Library will be able to enhance and renew its functions and services; and the social role of the Library and the partner organizations will increase, raising their social responsibility and value in the society.

1.4.3. Digital Library Strategy

Technological innovations of the information age are bringing changes in the traditional service environment of libraries, allowing users increased access to the contents, on one hand, and allowing possibilities for libraries to provide efficient and readily available services using technological advances, on the other hand. As the number of books published in the electronic format increases; the technologies and devices for reading, using and storing them are becoming more technology oriented and the readers are being offered more options technologically. To respond to such changes, the National Library of Mongolia sets out an objective to set up a Digital Library during the strategic period. The Digital Library project will comprise two components: software and content. The content will be in the electronic format. Electronic copies of printed materials, when possible, will be also delivered through the Digital Library. The Digital Library will be able to provide readers with a wide range of high quality electronic databases. Implementation of this digital library strategy will require:

- securing legal regulations (digital content management)

- technology and equipment upgrading (information technology infrastructure)

- creation of information safety environment

- human capacity building

By its Rules of Organization and Operation, The National Library of Mongolia also has a responsibility to collect, store, preserve and deliver to users the significant works published in the electronic format, besides the print based material. Furthermore, digitization of the Library’s present rare and valuable books is underway - in order to ensure long-term availability of such books for the users. In addition, the Library is making efforts to collect digital content in all possible ways, e.g. by subscribing to important international and national online resources and electronic newspapers and journals.

21st century intellectual works are being produced mostly in formats compatible with online dissemination, while the 20th century contents in the libraries are already being digitized in many countries of the world so that users have access to the contents in any time and from any corner of the country. For instance, in 1995 the Russian State Library began the process of digitizing its collection for the public access, and today the library provides online services and access to its collection under motto „Electronic library is coming to you itself‟. The National Library of China has digitized the entire collection, except those protected by copyright laws, in collaboration with the British Library and the American Library of Congress. The Library’s collection is now available online, as announced on the eve of the Library’s 100th Anniversary, which was celebrated in September 2009.

President of Mongolia has it in his program that "[he will] support initiatives, programs or activities aimed at enhancing and strengthening [the country’s] science and research capacity. [And he will] ensure that each Mongolian, as a citizen, is able to equally participate in the social relations and receive the services they need.”15 The library, in particular a National Library, is the place "where a nation nourishes its memory and exerts its imagination – where it connects with its past and invents its future.”

The National Library of Mongolia is a place that ensures the reliable storage, protection and preservation of the country‟s social, cultural, political, religious values and the intellectual heritage of Mongolians and provides the future generations with possibilities to study and use these heritages and values. In the increasingly digitizing age, the Digital Library will undertake the following four main tasks:

- providing Mongolians with access to trusted online information databases pertaining to

sciences and research; online journals and online newspapers

- collecting an extensive range of digital contents, including those in the native language

(Mongolian)

- ensuring the long-term storage and preservation of the Mongolian intellectual heritage

published in the electronic format, by ensuring the appropriate devices.

- providing enhanced access to the Digital Library‟s collection through digitization of

contents (allowed by copyright laws).

 

By expanding the present digitization equipment and human capacity, a Digitization Center will be set up at the Library in the 2nd strategic phase, which will meet the international standards for operational software and storage and preservation. The Library will try out services providing other libraries with a license-based access to its present digital databases.

In order to implement the digital library strategy successfully, the National Library of Mongolia will face many new challenges, such as additional investment, organizational change and human capacity building. However, once the strategy is implemented, it will significantly enhance and develop the operation of the Library. Ultimately, such an ambitious reform meets the demands in the society to enhance and diversify products and services of libraries (See Chapter 2, Objective 4).

 



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