Head of Iran Public Libraries Foundation Mehdi Ramezani and Head of Gazi Husrev-beg’s Library in Sarajevo Osman Lavich discussed strategies for deepening their collaboration, according to IRNA.
Ramezani expressed optimism about reaching a common strategy to advance cooperation, stating that he hoped to serve as an intermediary link between Gazi Husrev-beg’s Library and the libraries of Iran.
He also believed that the signing of a memorandum of understanding would mark the beginning of extensive cultural collaboration between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Furthermore, Ramezani expressed Iran’s readiness to improve and promote the identity of the Persian department of Gazi Husrev-beg’s Library.
Explaining the scope of Iran’s library network, Ramezani noted that it is the largest in the Islamic world, with 3,800 public libraries, followed by Türkiye, which has 1,200.
He also highlighted the impressive number of manuscripts kept in Iran’s public libraries, which exceeds 10,000, adding that the central library of Tabriz is the main center for preserving these manuscripts.
Ramezani said, Iran’s public libraries offer much more than just books and study halls, noting that they provide over 60 educational, cultural, social, and artistic services.
The University of Sarajevo has a special chair for learning Persian language and literature in the Faculty of Philosophy.
Ramezani further added that university students and professors collaborate extensively in the area of Persian manuscripts, and their latest joint project was the creation of the Persian-Turkish encyclopedia.
Ramezani also mentioned that an international conference on Ahmed Soudi, the only commentator of ‘Bustan’, ‘Golestan’ by Persian poet Sa’adi, and Divan Hafez, was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Lavich acknowledged the significance of digitization in the digital age, especially in meeting the needs of university students. He stated that all of their sources, journals, publications, and manuscripts have been digitized, and made available for free to those who are interested.
He also proudly noted that they were the first country in the Balkans to have digitized all old manuscripts and publications, adding that currently, 300,000 people use their services.
Lavich stressed the significance of collaboration in the field of manuscript restoration between his library and Iranian officials. He mentioned that his library has amassed 15 years of experience in manuscript restoration, but recognized the need for Iran’s cooperation due to Iran’s greater expertise and experience in this area.