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Identifying "the Library Association" by Recording Oral History

Maryam Asadi Jafari
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


According to Iranian Oral History Website, "the Iranian Library and Information Science Association" is an NGO dates back to pre-Revolution. This association is the representative of the library-information society and institutions and processes associated with it. At the very beginning, "preserving dignity, position, occupational security and professional rights of librarians of Iran", "supporting freedom of thought, expression, writing and reading" and "help to teaching librarianship and advancement of modern librarianship" have been considered by the association.

Now, after nearly fifty years from establishment of the Iranian Library and Information Science Association (ILISA), extracting and recording experience of protagonists of this field seems necessary. Hence, publication committee of ILISA has started the oral history project of this association in cooperation with NLAI's Research Institute of Documents.

Reviewing history of ILISA, Dr. Reza Rajab-ali Baglou said, "The association was founded in 1966, but after 1980 its activities were stopped. It began work again in 2000, and so far, it has worked for six periods after the Islamic Revolution."

He added, "In the past, activities have been carried out in field of collecting history of the association, and events such as its dissolution and its historical reasons have been studied in a MA thesis by Mrs. Fatemeh Zare. In fact, this association has created value somewhat for academic and professional community during its period of activity. These values have been effective importantly in scientific and professional field of book, libraries and information centers, archives, museums and other similar organizations, and its role seems very seriously high."

The organizer of Oral History Project of ILISA stated, "Our main goal is to identify and understand impact of the association on social values based on recordings of oral history. It is important for us to know how much the association has identified itself as an agent of areas related to books, libraries, librarianship, publishing and etc. among related organizations."

Rajab-ali Baglou then elaborated on the oral history project of ILISA and said, "It is planned to interview 12 people of decisive and influential figures, including board members and figures who were influential in forming the association. Unfortunately, Professor Pouri Soltani and Dr. Abbas Horri, who played an important role in establishing the association, are not now among us. We lost their knowledge and experience, but there are others who are still alive. We strive to extract their views on the association and compile its oral history; valuable professors such as Dr. Nooshafarin Ansari, Dr. Noorollah Moradi, Zahra Shadman, Kamran Fani, Baha' al-Din Khorramshahi, Dr. Rahmatullah Fatahi, Ali Sinaee, Kazem Hafezian Razavi, and Dr. Fariborz Khosravi."

The officer of publication committee of ILISA announced beginning of the interviews in the last week of Shahrivar 1397 (September 2018)) and continued, "For example, Dr. Khosravi is now a member of Board of Directors of the sixth period, and he played a major role in re-establishing the association in 2000. Experiences of Noushafarin Ansari in the pre-revolutionary period, along with other influential people on this issue, are very important."

Dr. Rajab-ali Baglou considered extraction of experiences related to the association activities during 30 years as the most important goal of Oral History Project of ILISA, and said, "Identifying factors of success, challenges, difficulties, problems, existing vacuums to meet needs of audience and the concerned of the association as an NGO is very important. I think compiling oral history of the association will be effective in defining, collecting and explaining success factors and challenges of an NGO."

Referring to collaboration of NLAI's Research Institute of Documents in the oral history project of ILISA, he stated: "The cooperation suggestion has been developed and given NLAI's Research Institute of Documents and it is currently in process of approval. They will provide us hardware facilities and location of the interview. In addition, we will benefit from specialized expertise of the oral history department of National Library, including collaboration of Mrs. Niknafs and Mrs. Alizadeh for compiling oral history."

Dr. Rajab-ali Baglou remarked at the end, "We hope to finish the oral history project of ILISA until end of this year and we use cooperation of the research institute for its development."

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