A Glimpse at the Organization of Libraries, Museums and Center of Deeds of Astan Quds Razavi
"The Leading treasure of the written culture of Iran and the World of Islam"
The Organization of Libraries, Museums and Center of Deeds of Astan Quds Razavi [the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.), the Eighth Immaculate Imam of the Shia Muslims in the world] http://www.aqrazavi.org is considered as the most important and leading treasure of the written culture of Iran and the World of Islam.
There is no information about the exact date of the establishment of the library of Astan Quds Razavi. Some consider the endowment date as 974 AD for the oldest manuscript copy of the Holy Quran endowed to the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) by a person called Ali Ibn Simjour, as the year in which the historical library of Astan Quds Razavi was established. As per the old historical documents preserved in Astan Quds Razavi the library was open to the public use in 1457 A.D. In 1729 A.D, a special place was allocated for the library building but serious efforts were made to expand the library in the early period of 20th century. However a continuous increase in utilizing the library by the researchers and scholars resulted in the faster development and growth of this historical library.
Although the location of the library building have changed many times since 1457 but it has always remained within the vicinity of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.).
The construction of the present magnificent building started in 1981 was accomplished in 1993, with a constructed area of 28800 square meters and was opened to the public in April, 1994. Some of the outstanding features of this massive complex are as follows:
1: It is adjoined and belongs to the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.).
2: Preserving very old and rare manuscripts, artifacts and museum objects and some of them date back to more than one thousand years old.
3: Preserving thousands of exquisite and precious manuscripts of the Holy Quran, rare manuscripts and old printed books.
4: Possessing a vast collection of printed books in different fields of study including Islamic studies and humanities.
5: The glorious and magnificent building of the Central Library is unique and exclusive in its kind in the history of Islamic art.
6: Accomplished with sophisticated facilities and modern equipment for improving and upgrading the services offered to the people, and also preserving the deeds, manuscripts and precious sources of the library.
7: Holding rich collection of historical deeds and some of them date back to 15th century and old and rare periodicals published in Iran since 1846.
8: Administering many grand specialized museums located in the vicinity of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.).These museums are now considered as largest and widely viewed museums in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Organization of Libraries, Museums and Center of Deeds of Astan Quds Razavi is managed by the Board of Managers and the Director General is the chief administrator of the organization. The organization is also comprised of three assistance offices, Administrative Department, the Office of Public Relations and several units of experts in the fields of library, documents and museums.
1. The Assistance Office for Coordination of the organization is also the Chairman of the Central Library and as well as supervises the below-mentioned three offices of the organization:
a: Librarian Services Office
b: Public Library Office
c: The Manuscript Office
2. The Assistance Office of Museum Affairs is in charge of the below-mentioned three offices:
a: The Treasuries' Office
b: The Office of Researching and Introducing the Art Works
c: The Office of Preserving and Restoring Cultural Works
3. The Assistance Office of the Affiliated Libraries manages two offices:
a: The Office of the Affiliated Libraries in Mashhad
b: The Office of the Affiliated Libraries in other cities and towns in Iran and abroad.
4. The Management of the Deeds and Press Affairs is comprised of two groups:
a: The Deeds' Group
b: The Press Groups
5. Other departments of the organization:
The Offices of the Public Affairs, Public Relations, the Expert Departments of Education, Publication, Research, Supervision, MIS, and the Periodical Section, the quarterly journal of the library work directly under the supervision of the Chairman of the organization.
The Coordination Assistant and the Chairman of the Central Library is the Coordinator of the following affairs:
A : The Librarian Services Office:
Ordering , providing , organizing and cataloging the library materials and books in Persian, Arabic, English and many other languages, electronic and audio visual materials, maps and data entry into the computer system, coordination, maintenance and supporting the computer systems, internet and the other software and hardware affairs of the whole organization. This office consists of three departments including the Department of Ordering and Providing Sources, the Department of Organizing and Making Ready the Sources and the Department of Delivering Information Technology and Computer Affairs.
B : Public Library Office:
This office administers 21 reading halls including reading halls for the researchers(reference books auditorium), open access reading halls, closed reading halls, book lending hall, internet reading hall, audio visual reading hall, book circulation and reading halls for children and young adults, the reading hall of the valuable manuscripts of the Holy Quran and exquisite manuscripts and printed books, specialized reading halls for The Holy Quran and Hadith Sciences, Geography, Literature, E-Library reading hall for foreign books in 64 languages, specialized reading hall for books related to museums, etc
These halls render services to both male and female members of the Central Library.
The researchers’ hall and the gents’ open stack reading halls are open for public from 7 a.m. in the morning to 10 p.m. in night. The other halls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. By the end of month of March, 2011, the strength of full members of the library surpassed 144000 persons and at present number of printed books in the Central Library is more than 1,200,000 volumes. At present time, this office is enjoying a reading space with an area of more than twenty thousand square meters and more than 6000 researchers and students use everyday the sources and references present in the printed books treasuries and different reading halls.
C : The Manuscripts Office:
Preparing , preserving , indexing and recording the manuscripts in the computer system ,photographing and preparing microfilms and CD's from the manuscripts , lithographic books ,pamphlets, documents and handwritten papers as well as offering services to the researchers and cultural institutions within Iran and abroad are performed by this office . This office consists of two departments like the Manuscript Department ands the Microfilm Archive Department.
The present number of books in this office is as follows: By the end of March, 2011, the manuscript section treasured 61154 rare and old manuscripts (which includes 44242 manuscript books and 16057 manuscripts of the Holy Quran, which is considered as one of the largest collection of the manuscript copies of the Holy Quran in the world); 39765 old lithographic books; manuscript microfilms 47000 books, 36671 CDs of manuscripts and 9300 other hand written materials.
The Assistance Office of the Museums Affairs
This assistance office consists of three offices as below:
A: The Treasuries Office
The Treasuries Office comprises of the Central Museum with 12 different specialized museums which are located in two adjacent buildings situated in the southern part of the Holy shrine. The Central Museum building was inaugurated on February 11, 1996 and its specialized museums are as follows:
- The Holy Quran and Exquisite Manuscripts Museum
- Museum of precious objects donated by the Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran to the holy shrine
- Carpet Museum
- Astronomical Tools and Clocks Museum
- Medals Museum
-The China Crystal and Porcelain Utensils Museum
- Museum of the History of Mashhad City
- The Shell, Pearl and Sea Mollusks Museum
- The Weaponry Museum
- Visual Arts Museum
- Stamps, Banknotes and Coins Museum
- Anthropology Museum
B: The office of Studying and Introducing the Museum Objects
This office is in charge of carrying out applied research regarding the cultural objects, compiling brochures and assigning records and scientific files for the objects in the museums.
C : The Office for the Preservation and Restoring the Cultural Works
The main duty of this office is the preservation of historical objects present in the museums and treasury of the Astan Quds Razavi and repairing them in a scientific way, binding the manuscripts, printed books and periodicals.
Website of the Museums of the Astan Quds Razavi: http://www.aqm.ir/
The Director of the Affiliated Libraries
The director supervises two offices:
1. The Office of the Affiliated Libraries in Mashhad
2. The Office of the Affiliated Libraries in other cities
The details of 45 affiliated libraries are as follows:
- 19 libraries in the holy city of Mashhad
- 4 libraries in major cities of Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan and South Khorasan provinces
- 21 libraries in other cities of Iran
- One library in India
These 45 affiliated libraries preserve 10867 manuscripts and hold about 1,300,000 printed books and by the end of March, 2011 320,000 people are members of these libraries.
This office also administers a mobile library in Mashhad which delivers books through telephone order to general public as well as the university professors and other cultural institutes
The Management of Deeds and Press Affairs
In 1980, an archive of periodicals incorporating the available publications, both endowed and donated, was established in the Central Library. In 1997 the Office of Deeds was holding 463,000 pieces of exquisite and historical documents.
In 2003, its organizational level was promoted to the Management of Deeds and Press Affairs. At present the deeds department preserves 8,000,000 pieces of deeds. The periodical department holds more than ten thousand titles of periodicals with more than one million copies of journals and magazines which is providing services to the researchers.
The Management of Deeds and Press Affairs consists of two groups, the Deeds' Group and the Press Group. The Deeds' Group consists of the Evaluation Section, the Treasure Section, the Specialized Library of History, the Reading Hall of the Deeds' Researchers, the Section of Indexing the Handwritten and Printed Documents and Photographs, the Archive Section of the Oral History, the History of Mashhad, the History of the Eight Year Imposed War and the History of Khorasan.
The Press Group consists of the Section of Orders, Record and Treasuries of the Press, the Register and Order Unit, the Press Treasuries Unit, the Unit of Indexing and Abstracting the Press, the Section of the Press Reading Halls, the Researchers Hall, the Latin Publications' Hall and the Daily Newspapers Hall (Men and Women).
Public Affairs Office
This office with two deputies for financial and administration affairs is performing the following duties: supportive services for the personnel, security, financial affairs of the organization
The Assistance of Administrative Affairs consists of:
The Personnel and Employees Affairs and Welfare
The General Services
Security of the organization
The administration of the Central Library Auditorium known as Quds Auditorium
The Assistance of Financial Affairs consists of:
The Accounting Section
The Supply Department, Properties Department and the Warehouses
The Public Relations Office
The main duty of the Public Relations Office is to introduce this unique and great cultural center of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the country and abroad; establishing relations with the employees, institutes, people or groups who are directly or indirectly related to the organization. Since 2001, the Public Relations Office is independently working under the direct supervision of the Director General of the organization. A summary of its duty is as follows:
1. Responding to the telephone calls or face to face questions; creating relations with the people and researchers who visit the library and with the institutes, mass media, universities, cultural centers within Iran and abroad.
2. Guiding the groups of foreign and Iranian visitors and pilgrims and arranging for them to visit the Central Library, museums and the documentation center.
3. Reviewing the newspapers, journals and magazines about the contents published in them regarding the institutes of the organization, and also getting the news of the activities of the published in the newspapers, journals and magazines, arranging news clipboards for the members of the Central Library.
4. Holding temporary and permanent specialized exhibitions in various fields on different occasions.
5. Performing opinion polls among the members of the libraries and about the various activities of the organization and publishing monthly, quarterly, biannual, annual statistics.
6. Exchange and distribution of publications of the organization, etc.
The Education Department
This unit was established in June 2002. Some activities of this unit are as follows:
- Holding In-Service training for the staff and the members.
- Providing the data banks and coordinating the educational affairs regarding the training of apprentices.
- Holding pre-service explanatory classes for the new recruits.
- Planning for conducting the instructional workshops.
The main duty of publication unit is: planning, supervising, coordinating, performing and pursuing the technical affairs regarding the printing of the following:
- The indexes of the manuscripts
- The quarterly journal "The Library and Information Science"
-Research projects, including the books or the research papers which are published
- Newsletter of the Organization named Daneshvarz
-The List of Brochures
- Instructional pamphlets
- Cultural, instructional and publicity posters
The research department started its formal activity in 2000. Important duties of this department are as follows:
- Conducting the courses concerning research methodology and methods of preparing questionnaires, assigning research priorities for the organization in the fields of librarianship, information science, manuscripts, documents and maintenance of museums.
- Supporting the dissertations of complementary studies based on the research priorities of the organization.
- Preparing the ground for the research activities of the staff.
- Holding specialized meetings.
- Executive management of the newsletter named Daneshvarz and the quarterly journal of the organization titled "The Library and Information Science"
Supervision and Productivity Department
The main duties of the experts of this department is to classify and assign responsibilities to the staff according to the real demands of the organization and the required standards in order to direct the process of rendering ideal services and also identifying the efficiency criterion and the assessment mechanism of staff working in the organization.
Management Information System
This system prepares necessary reports for the managers of the organization for taking decisions at different levels.
Committees and Councils of the Organization
Organization of Libraries, Museums and Center of Deeds of Astan Quds Razavi is managed under the Board of Directors appointed by the Chief Custodian of Astan Quds Razavi. The decisions are made according to the opinions and suggestions collected from the related committees and approved by the Chairman and the Board of Directors of the organization.
The Organization of Libraries, Museums and Center of Deeds of Astan Quds Razavi
The Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.)
Bast (Sanctuary) Shaykh Tousi
Mashhad, Islamic Republic of Iran
P.O. Box: 91735-177
Telephone Number: 0098-511-2219553