Jordan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

Within the Constitution, a by-law describes the responsibilities of the directorate for libraries, which falls under the mandate of the Ministry of Youth. Library resources are to include books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, maps, films, as well as microfilms, audio recordings, drawings, or any materials relevant to the directorate. The goal of the directorate of libraries is to create and manage national libraries, create departments responsible for documentation, information and archiving. Create a working management system for the libraries and to find ways to revive culture, as well as coordinate with other libraries in the region and internationally.

In addition to the National Library, the Municipality of Greater Amman also has a network of libraries around the city of Amman, and their management is outlined under the law of directorates. These libraries are to fulfil the following objectives: encouraging citizens to better their general knowledge and spend their spare time in the library, support talents in all fields and publicise their productions to the public. There is an acknowledgement that libraries need to be activated for public use, and that the library is not only intended as a place for the archive of materials, as it is important to make this material accessible to the public. It is also expected to program activities that would encourage engagement with the public that would lead to improving their knowledge. [1]

There is no indication in this description of an understanding of the changes in the dissemination of information and access to knowledge through the internet and how this might change the use of the library as a place for knowledge and skills building. Therefore, many of the libraries governed by the Municipality of Amman tend to present basic programs of workshops and events, and the library of books is usually used for the engagement of very young children in their early years of learning.

The library is described as a place in which people can spend their spare time, and not as an essential part of education. There is no mention of the relationship between the library and the school or the university. The lack of resources in Amman city was at some point substituted by the private initiative of The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, a public library with a minimal annual membership fee that provides more up-to-date references and is highly utilised by different segments of the public.

“…Established in 1986 in accordance with the objectives of Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, which espouse support for scientific research, the institution of a modern library would include various sources of information in different branches of knowledge, and making these sources available to researchers and the reading public. The Library was officially opened on 8/1/1986... Considering the position it has attained, the Library was designated in early 2002 by the International Monetary Fund as a depository for the Fund’s paper publications, and at the end of the same year, as depository for the Fund’s databases.”[2] This can also enable us to conclude that internationally Shoman Library has gained more international recognition and reliance.

Queen Rania Abdullah II launched the project the ”Reading for Everyone” festival in 2008 and collaborated with MoC who publish 48 new titles of 270,000 copies every year in different subjects including arts, culture, sciences and religion.[3]

In 2009, the Municipality of Greater Amman announced the plan to build a new national Library within the premises of the City Hall grounds in downtown Amman. Not much updated information is available about this project.




Chapter published: 04-05-2016