The Estonian Librarians Association is worried about Tallinn University's (TLÜ) decision to no longer offer admissions to its Information Science program from 2022. The National Library of Estonia is also critical, since the library needs new employees with modern knowledge after the building is renovated.
"Next year has been announced as the year of libraries. Unfortunately, Tallinn University is planning to not announce admissions for its Information Science program from the fall of 2022. Yet, Estonia needs the competence of highly educated library and information science specialists to support its citizens' coping in a rapidly changing and digitalizing information environment," the Librarians Association board chairwoman Tuuliki Tõiste wrote in a letter to the TLÜ senate.
All directors of county central libraries also signed the letter. They added that Tallinn University is the only school in Estonia, which offers a full education in the information sciences.
"Cutting it comes with a danger of the development of libraries decreasing in a situation, in which societal trends in Estonia and the world give libraries greater and more important tasks to improve the population's livelihoods and well-being. The library and information science sector gains valuable knowledge from students' theses to set its future developmental directions and to proactively react to societal needs," the letter reads.
The association assesses that cutting the study program would take away options for society and multiple organizations to take next steps in planning their operations when it comes to information and new decisions resulting from analysis. Training specialists will also obstruct the 2021-2030 culture development plan, the association added.
National Library of Estonia also concerned
National Library director Janne Andresoo also wrote a letter to TLÜ rector Tõnu Viik, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research. She pointed out that the culture ministry has declared 2022 to be the year of libraries.
"This makes it all the more unexpected that the university has decided to stop admissions for Information Science Bachelor's programs. /.../ The decision to suspend admissions is extremely unreasoned and affects the memory and information sectors and all of culture in Estonia," the national library director wrote.
Andresoo added that although the national library's main building has gone under renovation until 2026, the building requires new and well-trained specialists when it opens again, as the library plans to implement multiple new technologies and solutions.
"Therefore, cutting the program from 2022 affects libraries and the entire information sector and obstructs societal development and also Estonian culture and the viable and sustainable development of cultural heritage in Estonia," the national library director wrote.
Editor's note: Tallinn University is yet to respond to ERR, their response will be added as soon as possible.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste