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Central Library of Istanbul University

Central Library of Istanbul University
Science historians date the beginning of the Central Library of Istanbul University to the madrasah (religious school) which was established by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in the mid 15th century.  The library’s collection contains manuscripts from the 15th century in both Turkish and foreign languages.  

Early in the 20th century it continued to collect manuscripts written in the old Ottoman alphabet and after the 1928 Turkish revolution it began to gather those written in the new Turkish alphabet.  These included works from within the scope of the Printed Texts and Picture Collection Law (1934) and all the printed works published within the borders of the Turkish Republic.  

The Central Library is Turkey’s oldest and largest university library and has succeeded in adding century’s worth of languages and articles to its collection.  It was previously known as the Darulfunun Library and following the establishment of the Government of Turkish Grand National Assembly on 23 April 1920 and the declaration of the Turkish Republic in 29 October 1923 the library became known as the Central Library of Istanbul University.  

The library’s first administrator was architect Hasan Fehmi Ethem Karatay who earned his postgraduate education overseas in librarianship.  When the Higher Education Law 2547 was enacted in 1982 it began operating under the name “Library & Documentation Administration” along with other libraries of the faculty, departments, institutes and research centres.  In comparison to other university libraries, the automation process came rather late and rather slow but the services provided to national and international users in its new and old buildings are large in number and of very high quality and the old established catalogue system is still in use today.

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