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Uzbekistan: a focus on promoting reading

Uzbekistan: a focus on promoting reading

Libraries play a key role in education, culture, and community development, providing an invaluable resource for accessing knowledge, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting intellectual growth. In the modern information society, they remain an important institution that promotes the education and self-development of people of all ages.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasised during the opening ceremony of the People's Library under the President of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara: “Intellectual potential, high morale is what makes a nation strong. The source of this invincible power is books and libraries – the great invention of mankind”.  

At the present stage, education has become one of the most important areas of state policy. The government of the Republic of Uzbekistan pays special attention to the development of this sphere, recognizing its key role in the prosperity of the country. In recent years, the republic has achieved significant success in the educational domain. These achievements are aimed at modernizing the system, improving the quality of education and training, and expanding access to education for all citizens of the country.

At the same time, special attention is paid to the promotion of reading and the fostering of the reading culture of the population. And in the Presidential Decree adopted on September 13, 2017, “On the program of comprehensive measures to develop the system of publishing and distributing book products, improving the culture of reading”, clear goals are outlined for the creation of an effective system of information and library services to the population, which served to move this area to a new stage of development and contributed to raising the level of social and information culture and the role of libraries, made it possible to develop and implement modern innovative and educational technologies that increase the competitiveness of Uzbekistan in the world market.

In addition, the Presidential Decree “On further improvement of information and library services for the population of the Republic of Uzbekistan” was adopted on June 7, 2019. The main goals of the decree are:

  • improving the regulatory framework in order to ensure high-quality social guarantees to the population for information and library services;
  • development of information and library institutions taking into account modern requirements;
  • promoting the sustainable development of information and library services the for population in the regions;
  • strengthening the material and technical base of information and library institutions;
  • development of public-private partnerships in the library sector, a network of private and electronic libraries;
  • expanding cooperation with Internet resources that specialize in distributing electronic books to improve the efficiency of libraries and the efficiency of servicing (including paid) users;
  • ensuring the safety of information and library institutions and the safety of information and library collections as part of the national and world cultural heritage;
  • formation and enhancement of the information culture of society, sustainable interest in national history and culture, enhancement and promotion of a reading culture;
  • staffing information and library institutions with qualified specialists.

The adoption of this decree expands the range of services in the country, including access to electronic resources and holding cultural and educational events, as well as improving staff qualifications and introducing modern methods of user service. In addition, these changes not only contribute to the development of the information society and economic growth by attracting investment in education and culture, but also promote the formation of a literate and informed society, which is an important step in the development of the country.

The Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers dated December 14, 2020 approved the National Program for the Development and Support of a Reading Culture for 2020-2025, which includes the publication of quality books that meet the spiritual, educational, artistic and aesthetic needs of the population; supporting the activities of publishers and artists, publishing children's literature; translation of the best examples of national and world literature; simplification of the organization of book sales; improving the delivery system for newly published books and distribution of information sources; expansion of international cooperation in the field of online ordering of foreign work, their delivery and distribution.

In turn, it should be noted that within the framework of the “Uzbekistan - 2030” Strategy, special attention is paid to the popularization of masterpieces of Uzbek and world literature. The country's leadership strives to instil in citizens a love of reading and ensure access to libraries and information services for everyone.

The Strategy “Uzbekistan - 2030” puts forward such main goals as increasing the number of young book lovers to five million, the annual creation of 100 works of art and 50 books for children and adolescents, the publication of the multi-volume book “Uzbek adabiyoti khazinasidan” (“From the Treasury of Uzbek Literature”), the 100-volume book “Jakhon Bolalar Adabiyoti Durdonalari” (“Pearls of World Children’s Literature”) in Uzbek, as well as the digitalization of a book fund of almost 40 million books.

On November 28, 2023, there was signed the Presidential Decree “On measures to implement the project “A Thousand Books for Youth”, aimed at creating a system for translating books popular in the world into Uzbek, that contribute to increasing the intellectual and scientific potential of the younger generation.

At the same time, within the framework of the “Olympiad of Five Initiatives”, the following 5 projects in the field of reading and intellectual games are annually implemented: “Young Reading Family”, “Poetry Competition”, “Young Reader”, the intellectual game “Zakovat” and the project “Example of Foreign Languages”. These projects increase the interest of young people in reading books and help expand logical thinking and knowledge through intellectual games.

The “Young Reader” and “Young Reading Family” competitions are important events held to promote reading, the spiritual enrichment of youth, and increase their intellectual potential. This competition serves to increase interest in books among young people and expand their knowledge and horizons.

Also, within the framework of the project “A Thousand Books for Youth”, the Agency for Youth Affairs will have to work on acquiring rights to use works from authors, translating them into Uzbek, and preparing for printing and publishing books on the basis of a state order and at the expense of the State budget (with the exception of books, published for state higher educational institutions).

Two stages have been established for translation into Uzbek and the publication of popular books in the world. First: a preliminary list of books is formed annually by the Expert Council. Second: the preliminary list is posted in the information systems of the Agency for Youth Affairs for selection by the population by voting, and thus the final list is formed.

The list of books published annually must include at least 20 percent of popular science works. The rights to the works prepared for publication will belong to the Agency for Youth Affairs, which will provide them free of charge to publishing houses.

It is also planned to create and ensure the continuous operation of a special mobile application that accumulates literature in the Uzbek language and provides the population with free access to a wide range of information. On the recommendation of the Expert Council, the works will be distributed to information and library institutions (including libraries of public and administration authorities), and electronic versions will be donated free of charge to the Alisher Navoi National Library of Uzbekistan and the relevant institutions of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan for wide use by readers.

The necessary spiritual, legal, material, and technical basis has been created in the Republic to develop children's literature and improve the quality of textbooks and teaching aids. The country's publishing houses have increased the publication of works by authors of world and Uzbek children's literature. In accordance with a number of documents adopted to promote book reading, systematic measures are being taken in all regions to popularise literature among children and adolescents. Over the past four years, a number of presidential decrees and government resolutions have been adopted to guide the country's publishing, printing, and bibliographical information institutions.

Thus, bibliographical information services play a critical role in ensuring public well-being by providing citizens with easy access to information, knowledge, and culture. In addition, the development of digital services, collaboration with communities, and the use of new technologies strengthen the role of libraries as centres of learning, information, and communication. This helps to enhance the capabilities of people and stimulates their desire for education. The development of the potential of information and library services contributes to lifelong learning, self-improvement, cultural and spiritual enrichment of the population. This is of crucial importance for modern society.

Ramzidin Nuridinov

Expert of the Development Strategy Center.

📅 24.06.2024