By Milana Stekovic
During the month of October the library of the European Parliament hosted a fellow from the newly established Pre-Accession Fellowship Programme 2013, Milana Šteković, from the Serbian Parliamentary Library. It was a period of mutual learning highly beneficial for both sides. Milana explains how the Library of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia functions:
Support service to Members of the Assembly
The main function of the Library is to support the work of the Members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia by providing them with the kinds of information and research products they need to carry out their parliamentary activities. For 12 employees (6 librarians and 5 researchers) that includes:
- expert and comparative analysis at the request of the President of the National Assembly, Members of the National Assembly, Secretary General, political groups, committee secretariats and working groups on national legislation, but also on economic, social and political issues, with special emphasis on examples of good practice applied in other political systems;
- requests from international organisations, national parliaments and institutions within the network of the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD);
- preparing background dossiers for legislative proposals in form of a brief comparative review, which is part of the “Clarity Information” that the Library draws up together with the European Integration Department and committee secretariats;
- development of an electronic catalogue available on the website of the National Library of Serbia (Virtual Library of Serbia);
- acquisition, collecting, processing of books, storing and protection of old and rare editions;
- interlibrary loans from the National Library of Serbia;
- group visits to the Library (students and citizens).
The Library of the National Assembly belongs to a group of special, closed-type parliamentary libraries. External users have access to the Library upon request, or if you prefer just looking around, a mouseclick will do.
The new chapter
Looking at our collection of books, you may wonder whether is possible that the first Serbian Constitution from the 19th century is placed on the same bookshelf in the Library as the Treaty of Lisbon? Yes, it is. It seems that Serbia’s National Assembly has entered a new chapter of history. Our services and resources are becoming increasingly European.
The collection – historical and up to date
The Library of the National Assembly has been housed in the historical National Assembly building since its completion in 1936. Its current collection comprises about 40,000 publications in Serbian and foreign languages in the fields of law, history, politics, economics, statistics, sociology, philosophy. Ever since 1918, when the first collection of the Library was formed from the collection of the Library of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, until nowadays, the collection has been increasing.
The most valuable are shorthand notes from the beginning of parliamentary life in Serbia and neighbouring countries, from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the printed collection of the oldest laws in the Serbia and a collection of 98 rare and old books from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the most significant publications are the first Serbian Constitution, known as Sretenjski ustav, from 1835 and the Constitution of the Principality of Serbia from 1838, known as the Sultan’s edict (Hatišerif).
Pre-Accession Fellowship Programme (EP intranet)
The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of the European Parliament or the Library of the European Parliament. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article lies entirely with the author(s).
Milana Stekovic is a Senior Adviser-Researcher for the Library of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. She has an academic background in EU- and political studies. Milana also holds the positions of Deputy Correspondent with the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD) and member of the Editorial Board of the National Assembly’s Service Newsletter.