Dialogue of East European Partners (DEEP)


Book Donation Program 1990 - 1995
Evaluation and Experience

Helena Pavic, President Sabre-Zagreb

SABRE-Zagreb Foundation was founded in 1990 as a non-profit, sister organization of the SABRE U.S. The aim of the Foundation is to acquire, store and disseminate foreign scientific literature to users in Croatia and recently to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Program started in Croatia in May 1990, when the first shipment of books (9,000) arrived to Zagreb. The books had been stored in lecture rooms of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, where they were distributed to our end users, mostly students and university professors in Zagreb and Osijek. The majority of titles covered economics. There was a sound interest for these books especially in the community of academic scholars.

Further five shipments were stored at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences during 1991- 1993, right in the middle of the war conflicts in Croatia. The books received in this period covered mostly medicine, teaching English as a foreign language, computer sciences, English literature and sciences. Medical books were sent directly to end users, i.e., to all hospitals and medical centers in Croatia. A portion of the medical books were sent in ambulances to remote areas affected by war where they were needed. Children's books were sent to refugee camps and schools in order to ease suffering.

About 10% of each shipment of books was sent to Slovenian schools and small libraries. In 1994 the Book Donation Program was partially extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina especially when we received a large shipment of journals donated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. We keep sending donated books and journals to Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mostar, Sarajevo and Tuzla) whenever the transportation channels are free. Due to uncertain dates of shipment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, books allocated for them are stored some time until we receive permission to transport them to their final destination. As a matter of fact, we were obliged to find new premises for storage of books (i.e., at the University of Zagreb where they can be kept for a longer period of time).

In summer 1995 we received a large quantity of World Book Encyclopedia in printed form and in fall 1995, in both printed form and on CD-ROM. The response of our end users was enormous as well as their words of gratitude.

Up to November 1995, SABRE-Zagreb received a total of 172,000 books.

All necessary preparations for distribution are done before the books arrive. As soon as we receive the list of available titles, we publish it in the Bulletin of the Ministry of Science and Technology which is dispatched to 1,000 addresses throughout Croatia. At the same time, the information on the coming books is available through the computer network (Gopher). As a result, the users fax their list of wishes so that we can plan our dissemination beforehand. The process of dissemination lasts for about two weeks.

Within the latitude permitted by SABRE regulations, we charge the equivalent of $ 1 handling charges for each book sent to non-affected war areas while a significant quantity of books is donated free, especially in the war-affected areas and to all those in need.

The SABRE - Zagreb staff is engaged voluntarily in all activities and its members are: Dr. Helena Pavic (President), Prof. Zlata Kipcic (Vice-President), Davor Sovagovic, M.Sc. (Co-ordinator), Dr. Tomo Martincic, Dr. Nada Mitin, Dr. Djuro Njavro, Prof. Tanja Susec, Katica Ivic, M.Sc., Dr. Dunja Mance and Mladen Vukmir, lawyer.

About 20 students are engaged in the dissemination of books for a fee.

The Reduced-Cost Journals Project

The Project started in Croatia with medical journals in 1994 for a duration of three years, i.e., 1994, 1995 and 1996.

A list of 234 titles of medical journals for 37 medical institutions in Croatia has been made. The list included either completely new users and new journal titles or those users whose institutions have been reorganized under new administration and under new name. The number of 234 titles roughly represents 10% of the total Croatian orders processed through the commercial firms.

Thus, in 1995, the country has saved in this way $ 65,000 a year out of the subscription price.

The reason why we started with medical journals lies in the fact that medical professionals were most interested in the Reduced-Cost Journals Project. Their responses arrived in time and on the other hand, it was easier to deal with their administration concerning prompt payments. The professionals from other fields of science were more sceptical and there was no response to that offer.

This year (1995), we published again the propositions of the Reduced-Cost Journals Service for 1996, 1997 and 1998 in the Bulletin of the Ministry of Science and Technology and all medical libraries in Croatia have been informed separately of the offer.

Based on their responses, a list of 211 new titles has been made. The list is still in process and the final results are unknown yet.

The number of titles is larger than last year due to the fact that former hospitals in Vukovar and Knin were devastated. The Faculty of Medicine from Zagreb has made a selection of medical journals for these two hospitals. The journals are intended to be stored in Zagreb until the circumstances allow them to be placed at their right addresses.

On our side, the Project has been realized with three people working on a voluntary basis and with the enormous help from SABRE U.S. and its staff.

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