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National Libraries Connect, Collaborate, and Cooperate

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YEREVAN, Armenia — September 29 and 30, the National Library of Armenia hosted an international conference titled “Heritage Preservation for a Sustainable Future” dedicated to the 510th anniversary of Armenian printing.  The American University of Armenia (AUA) AGBU Papazian Library staff also participated in the conference.

More than 80 participants from around the world attended the conference in Yerevan. For this two-day conference, the conferees shared the progress and achievements realized in relation to National Library strategies, particularly addressing digital cultural preservation and promotion, open access, open source software, bibliography, library management and services, professional development, copyright and other legal matters, and the rise of reading. The attendees had the opportunity to hear from leading experts on these subjects. 

In her opening speech, Barbara Lison, an invited guest and president of the International Federation of Library Associations highlighted the importance of cooperation, collaboration, and advocacy among libraries in the context of accomplishing their vital role in education, digitization, and social integration.

Satenik Avakian, the AGBU Papazian Library director, noted, “We were honored to take part in this conference and celebrate the 510th anniversary of Armenian printing. The conference was structured around various thematic discussions designed to promote cooperation among librarians to help them overcome challenges and embrace opportunities. Libraries, as a gateway to knowledge and culture, play a fundamental role in society, offering opportunities for learning and research in the process of shaping a creative and innovative community.”

The conferees from the AGBU Papazian Library were actively involved in various sessions. Satenik Avakian, Hasmik Galstyan, and Tatevik Zargaryan moderated the Library Management and Services sessions. Hasmik Galstyan, head of Reference and Circulation Services, gave a talk on “Copyright Issues in Libraries: Limitations and Exceptions,” discussing the critical role of libraries in digitizing collections and cultural artifacts within the current copyright provisions and constraints that librarians need to comply with when carrying out digitization projects. An essential highlight of the session was the announcement of Armenia joining WIPO’s Marrakesh Treaty which facilitates access to specially-adapted books for visually impaired or print-disabled individuals. 

Araz Margossian, academic support librarian, delivered a presentation on “The Role of the Library as a Center of Excellence for Research and Information Services,” reflecting on the evolution of library services in response to the digitalization of the information landscape driven by AI technologies, touching on its impact on research and scholarship in different disciplines and the emergence of alternative scholarly output. She introduced the two current library initiatives at AUA, namely the AUA Center for Oral History, which provides access to Zoryan Institute’s Armenian Genocide Oral History collection and hosts projects that transcribe, index, and translate oral history recordings; and the “Programming for Humanists” training series led by Hovhannes Kizoghyan, technical director of the AUA Digital Library of Armenian Literature (DIGILIB).

“The conference was a valuable opportunity for librarians, information professionals, and scholars from around the world to showcase their efforts and share expertise in collecting, preserving, and disseminating cultural artifacts, especially in a time of political instability and acts of aggression threatening to manipulate or eliminate the rich Armenian heritage,” Margossian remarked.

AUA’s library also played a proactive role in supporting the conference by providing Zoom Pro access for broadcasting the conference sessions online and enabling the remote participation of several international speakers. 

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.