APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY to abrogate Articles IV and V of Government Emergency Ordinance 117 regarding the amendment of the Education Law issued on December 23, 2013 and entered into force on December 30, 2013.
Open letter to Prime Minister Victor Ponta against the dissolution of the National Pedagogical Library I.C. Petrescu
Signed by Carmen-Leocadia Pesantez Pozo, Managing Director of the National Pedagogical Library, together with the legal representatives of the institution on January 8, 2014, Bucharest - ROMANIA
The same open letter was sent to Mr. Traian Băsescu, President of Romania,
and to the Parliament of Romania to the attention of Mr. Crin Antonescu, President of the Senate,
and Mr. Valeriu Ştefan Zgonea, President of the Chamber of Deputies
Signed by Carmen-Leocadia Pesantez Pozo, Managing Director of the National Pedagogical Library, together with the legal representatives of the institution and the members of the Board f Administration on January 13, 2014, Bucharest - ROMANIA
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We respectfully submit for your consideration the extremely serious situation regarding the dissolution of the NATIONAL PEDAGOGICAL LIBRARY “I.C. PETRESCU” of Bucharest, after 133 years of existence and a continuous activity in the service of the Romanian pedagogy, education and culture.
Through Articles IV and V of Government Emergency Ordinance 117 regarding the amendment of the Education Law issued on December 23, 2013 and entered into force on December 30, 2013, the Government of Romania abusively decided, without gathering information about the real situation, that the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” (BPN) should merge with the Central University Library Carol I of Bucharest (BCU). The reason for which the Ordinance was issued would be the fact that the building in which BPN operates was returned to its rightful owners and the institution “is in great danger to lose its books and the jobs of the employees”. If the decision-makers had really wanted to find a solution for the library headquarters, for sure an adequate solution would have been reached. The owners of the building repeatedly asked to be received at the Ministry of the National Education for a discussion on the acquisition of the building returned to them through irrevocable Decision 615/R/26.10.2006 of the Bucharest Court of Appeal, Civil Section IX.
The catastrophic solution decided through that Ordinance is the result of the indifference with which the issue of the library headquarters was treated despite the actions taken by the Library Managing Body together with the Union and the appeals made by teachers, professional associations and cultural institutions with which the Library runs various partnerships as well as by the Romanian media. Moreover, nobody consulted the specialists in the pedagogical field, the faculties of education sciences or the Romanian professional associations of librarians and no impact study was performed to see whether such decision is feasible or not.
Please allow us, Mr. Prime Minister, to briefly describe the current situation of the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu”:
According to Law of Libraries 334/2002, as subsequently amended and supplemented, the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” is a public specialized library with legal personality and of national importance, alongside the great libraries of Romania. Subordinated to the Ministry of National Education, the National Pedagogical Library continuously supported the pre-university teaching staff through various specific training programmes and ensured methodological guidance for the libraries of the Teaching Staff Resource Centres throughout Romania. Our library publishes auxiliary handouts for the educational and training process and specialized publications such as bibliographies, biographies of Romanian educators and anthologies in the specialty literature.
Established on December 18, 1880, the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” is the successor of some major libraries of several institutions which provided training programmes for teaching staff. It has patrimony books, the most important and biggest collection of education books in Romania but also publications from different fields of knowledge. Its funds covering more than 500,000 volumes include collections which previously belonged to Şcoala Normală Superioară of Bucharest, Seminarul Pedagogic Universitar, Casa Şcoalelor, collections and donations from the libraries of Alexandru Odobescu, Ioan Zalomit, Azilul Elena Doamna, Ana Davila, Constantin Narly, Titu Maiorescu, Iosif Gabrea, Petre Radu, Onisifor Ghibu, I.C. Petrescu, etc. Later on its documentary fund was enriched with donations from partner institutions, the Embassy of India, the Embassy of the United States of America, and from major cultural and academic personalities. The Pedagogical Museum established in 1910 after the model proposed by Spiru Haret mirrors the history of the Romanian education, being the sole museum of this type in Romania which runs as a separate section within the National Pedagogical Library I.C. Petrescu.
In 1992, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of great educator I.C. Petrescu, the Ministry of Education decided to add his name to the name of our institution. On November 13, 1997, according to Monitorul Oficial al României, the Central Library I.C. Petrescu will become the National Pedagogical Library I.C. Petrescu.
Although the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” is mainly in the service of the pre-university teachers, researchers, pupils and students, it can also offer its services to the general public. The National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” subscribed to 77 Romanian serials and 77 foreign serials, running an international exchange of publications with 63 institutions from 24 countries.
In its history, despite the subordination to various institutions (Seminarul Pedagogic Universitar, Şcoala Normală Superioară, Şcoala Superioară Pedagogică, Institutul Pedagogic din Bucureşti, Institutul de Ştiinţe Pedagogice, Centrul de Perfecţionare a Personalului Didactic), the Library preserved its identity and integrity of collections. In December 2013, the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” celebrated its 133rd anniversary. But surprisingly, just at the end of that year, this institution was dissolved through an overnight Ordinance!
Through Articles IV and V of Government Emergency Ordinance 117/2013:
- Article 7 of the Law of Libraries which states the dissolution of public libraries as it is the case of the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” is breached; according to Article 36 of the same legislative act “[…] in case of cessation of activities performed by the authorities and institutions which established or financed them, only if the patrimony thereof is taken over by another public library with the observance of the legislation in force”. As the Ministry of National Education was not dissolved, it results that the National Pedagogical Library should not be dissolved.
- Decision 42/01.04.2013 issued by the Court of Accounts according to which the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” is in the process of general inventory of its documentary fund is turned down.
- The most important pedagogical library of Romania, unique in terms of importance and collections, is dissolved.
- The national importance gained through the efforts of its foregoers and the institutional identity of the Pedagogical Library will be lost when transformed into a “pedagogical section”.
- No sufficient storage space can be provided for the 500,000 volumes of the National Pedagogical Library because the Central University Library of Bucharest can take over only 50,000 volumes, which means 10% of our book fund. Moreover, it is known that both institutions need extra spaces for the development of their collections.
- The two libraries have different end-users, collection structures and services; the Central University Library is in the service of the university system while the National Pedagogical Library is in the service of the pre-university system.
- No sufficient working space for the 50 employees of the National Pedagogical Library can be provided because the Central University Library does not have additional spaces even if a future “solution” is desired.
- It will be a dramatic turn for the teaching staff and researchers in the field of education sciences
Consequently the employees of the National Pedagogical Library, supported by the professional associations to which they are affiliated and the teaching staff from all over Romania, vehemently express their dissatisfaction with such an inapplicable measure that is harmful for the Romanian education system and the national patrimony.
We consider that hazard has nothing to do with education! When a change is proposed, it should be seriously studied so that it can reach the best solution. Decisions made in a secret and untransparent way, without previous analyses and consultation of the parties involved, cannot be admitted. The phantom-like Ordinance denotes the Government’s irresponsibility and lack of interest in the education in Romania.
Considering that in any country in the world libraries are offered headquarters proportionally to their importance, we kindly ask you to support us in obtaining an adequate space of 2,800 sqm, to accommodate the entire book fund of the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu” in depots designed at international standards, with reading rooms, conference rooms, offices, toilets and all the necessary technical and material facilities.
We are convinced that other state institutions, from the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs to the Bucharest City Hall, are open to support us in finding an adequate operating space, without reaching the extreme solution which will destroy the most important pedagogical library in the country, established with the help of generations of great Romanian educators. We think that in a society in which education is deemed as national priority, the dissolution of the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu”, which is a traditional information and documentation centre, proves to be an unthoughtful, anti-cultural and anti-national action. By respecting our true values we respect ourselves and our own identity.
Considering the above-mentioned facts, we kindly ask you to abrogate Articles IV and V of Government Emergency Ordinance 117/2013 in order to regain the identity and legal personality of the National Pedagogical Library “I.C. Petrescu”.
PhDc Carmen-Leocadia Pesantez Pozo
Accountant Gabriela Rusu
Members of the Board of Administration of the National Pedagogical Library:
Smaranda Luminiţa Cosma
PhD Florina Brat
Laura Alexe - Secretary
For those of you who want to support this important Romanian library, please, do sign this petition here: http://www.petitieonline.com/salvai_biblioteca_pedagogic_naional
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