There is only one public library per 70,000 people in Turkey, according to a recent report published by International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
2016 "Library Map of the World" revealed stark contrasts between the number of libraries throughout the world, noting that in European Union (EU) states, 6,200 people share a public library.
Professor Bülent Yılmaz of Hacettepe University's Directorate of Library and Documentation commented on the publication, stating that at present, Turkey is unable to provide adequate library services to its public, Anadolu Agency reported.
While Turkey's population is the largest in Europe, it offers access to fewest public libraries, with just 1,137 in the country. There are 5,021 public libraries in Germany, 6,042 in Italy, and 16,100 in France, the report said.
Turkey also suffers from low numbers of library personnel according to IFLA. For instance, while Germany employs 11,000 public library personnel, Turkey employs 3,490.
Not surprisingly, the number of public library members corresponds to available libraries, with Turkey once again ranking at the bottom of the list.
In 2016, Germany recorded 315 million borrowed books, while Turkey counted 9 million.
As Yılmaz remarked, the 2016 map depicts the desperate situation of Turkey's public library system. An aggressive, well-organized development plan is necessary for Turkey to boost public engagement with libraries, he added.
To match the EU's per capita library average, Turkey would need to multiply its current library resources by 10, providing 12,693 libraries for its growing population.
Yılmaz suggested adopting short, mid and long term development plans, considering expansion steps within 10, 25 and 50 years.
Specifically, increased numbers of libraries and library personnel necessarily undergirds any feasible expansion plan, he noted.